Faculty

Faculty

Maryam Afkarian, MD, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Internal Medicine, Nephrology
Research Interests: mechanistic understanding of inflammation in chronic diseases; specifically understanding the innate and adaptive immune response in diabetic kidney disease (DKD), and characterizing the role of the immune response on DKD pathogenesis. First group to identify an association between urine complement components and progression of diabetic kidney disease (DKD).
451 Health Sciences Drive (GBSF), Room 5404

Nicole Baumgarth, DVM, PhD

  • Professor
  • Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Research Interests: The Baumgarth Lab investigates the signals that drive a protective B cell response to influenza infection and how these responses might be derailed during infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme Disease agent. We are interested also in understanding the development, role, and function of B-1 cells in infectious immunity and how natural IgM regulates the adaptive immune response.
Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Charles Bevins, MD, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Research Interests: My group is interested in defining mechanisms that mediate homeostasis between host and microbes at mucosal surfaces. With a main focus on the gastrointestinal tract, our research seeks to provide a better understanding of numerous human diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, infectious enteritis, necrotizing enterocolitis and others.
Room 5515, Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility (GBSF)

Lillian Cruz-Orengo, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology
Research interests: My research focuses on sexual dimorphism of the blood- brain barrier +1 BBB microvasculature as a relevant contributor to MS neuropathogenesis with the purpose of developing sex-specific therapeutic targets. Using the chemokine ligand CXCL12, a key regulator of immune trafficking into the central nervous system +1 CNS as a biomarker, we hope to understand how BBB polarity is differentially regulated in females during CNS autoimmunity.

Satya Dandekar, PhD

  • Professor and Chair
  • Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Research interests: Mucosal immunity against pathogens. Molecular Pathogenesis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus +1 HIV and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus +1 SIV Infections with Special Emphasis on Gastrointestinal Mucosal Lymphoid Tissue +1 GALT as a Major Target Organ of the Viral Infection, and as a Viral Reservoir. Repair and renewal of gut mucosal immune system during therapy.

Maneesh Dave, MD, MPH

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Internal Medicine
Research Interests: Regenerative medicine, microbiome studies, clinical trials, and developing next-generation tools that can predict/assess response to IBD therapies.

Allison Ehrlich, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Environmental & Molecular Toxicology
Research interests: mechanisms by which the environment influences susceptibility to immune-mediated disease; identify the mechanisms by which AhR activation leads to divergent CD4+ T cell fates, and test the hypothesis that the interaction between diverse AhR ligands, the host immune system, and the microbiome influences susceptibility to type 1 diabetes.

Melanie Gareau, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology
Research interests: Characterizing the microbiota-gut-brain axis in models of inflammatory bowel disease and following infection with an enteric bacterial pathogen. Determining the mechanisms involved in the development of the microbiota-gut-brain axis in early life.
2017 Vet Med 3B

Angela Haczku, MD, PhD

  • Professor & Associate Dean of Research
  • Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine
Research Interests: Airway inflammation caused by environmental exposures (allergen, cigarette smoke, ozone inhalation, or psychosocial stress) in asthma and COPD. Innate and adaptive immune crosstalk and mechanisms of corticosteroid resistance. Lung physiology and a wide spectrum of immunological cell and molecular biology techniques.

Dennis Hartigan O'Connor, MD, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Research interests: development of the human immune system and interaction of that system with agents of chronic infection such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Most recent studies include development of Th17 cells, regulatory T cells (T-regs), and antigen-presenting cells in the mucosal immune system. Interested in the relationship between variable development of such immune cells and variable control over chronic infectious diseases, and the interactions between the normal gut microflora, pathogenic organisms, and immune cells within the intestine.

Rivkah Isseroff, MD

  • Professor
  • Department of Dermatology
Research Interests: We study wound repair, using in vitro, animal, and human ex vivo models. Current work: catecholamines, adrenergic receptor signaling and neuroimmune modulation of the wound and its microbiome, generation of an MSC-bioengineered tissue to improve healing. Bench-to-beside translation in our wound clinic.
Institute for Regenerative Cures

Smita Iyer, PhD

  • Associate Professor and Chair of the Immunology Graduate Group
  • Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases
  • California National Primate Research Center
Research Interests: Our lab has three main areas of focus: 1. Developing an effective HIV vaccine. 2. Understanding mechanisms of HIV susceptibility. 3. Unravelling pathogenesis of neuroinflammation.
Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Hong Ji, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology
Research Interests: Dr. Ji’s research group is focused on elucidating the epigenetic regulation of chronic diseases such as childhood asthma and examining how epigenetic mechanisms mediate the impact of environmental exposures during critical developmental windows (e.g., infancy) on increased disease susceptibility.
California National Primate Research Center

Peng Ji, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Nutrition
Research interests: evaluation of early-life nutrition on development and host resilience to infectious diseases. We use animal models and a systems biology approach to determine the development outcomes of nutrient deficiency and excess and their impact on host vulnerability to infections during the critical window of development. Recent work focuses on micronutrient deficiency and excess and dietary bioactive compounds. We have developed pathogen-challenged piglet models to mimic certain enteric bacterial pathogen infections in humans with the highest prevalence in infants and young children. This model allows us to study the mechanism via which dietary micronutrients and bioactive compounds enhance host resistance to infection. The work involves enteric and systemic immunity, microbiome, and metabolism.

Marcelo Kuroda, MD, PhD

  • Professor
  • Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Research Interest: 1) Determining the role of monocyte/macrophages in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, chronic inflammation and aging; 2) Examining the immunology of aging, and; 3) Assessing the roles of macrophages in the pathogenesis of TB using the macaque model of TB/SIV.
Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Kit Lam, MD, PhD

  • Professor & Department Chair
  • Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine; Hematology & Oncology
Research Interests: Application of combinatorial library methods for basic research and drug discovery, nanotherapeutics, immunotherapeutics, peptide targeted-therapy for cancer, peptide immunochemistry, proteomics, chemical biology, bioconjugate chemistry, substrates and inhibitors for tyrosine kinase, tyrosine sulfotransferases and proteases, development of anti-microbial agents.

Patrick Leung, PhD

  • Adjunct Professor
  • Department of Rheumatology, Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Research Interests: Molecular basis and Immunotherapy of primary biliary cholangitis. Molecular immunology of food allergens and immunotherapy of seafood allergy.

Jamal Lewis, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Biomedical Engineering
Research Interests: The Immuno-modulatory Biomaterials Laboratory focuses on the development of novel biomaterial systems that can manipulate the immune system. Our primary goal is to design the next generation of immunotherapeutics.
3315 Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility

Chengfei Liu, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Urologic Surgery
Research interest: bridging basic and clinical research that ultimately yields novel translational efforts in urologic oncology, yielding new paradigms for protein post translational modification and drug resistance in cancer cells, advance the understanding of cancer biology and providing opportunities for innovative cancer therapeutics. Current research program focuses on understanding the mechanisms of therapy resistance and progression in lethal prostate cancer with specialized focus on drug development for the treatment of prostate cancer. Interests include nuclear receptors, chaperone protein modification, ubiquitin proteasome regulation, steroid hormone biosynthesis and metabolism, clinical translational research and tumor immunology.
4645 2nd Ave, Research III Bldg, Suite 2300C

Emanual Maverakis, MD

  • Professor
  • Dermatology
Research Interests: Autoimmunity, basic T cell biology, and cancer immunology. Projects look at the role of glycans in these areas of interest. Other projects focus on utilizing T cell repertoire analysis as a tool to study immune responses.

Steven McElroy, MD

  • Professor and Division Chief of Neonatology
  • Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests: understanding injury and repair mechanisms in the immature intestinal tract. Our research has deep roots in epithelial biology, microbial host interactions, and host immunology (both innate and adaptive).

Lisa Miller, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology
Research Interests: Our research is focused on understanding the relationship between early life environmental exposures and development of pulmonary disease, such as asthma. We study how mucosal and systemic immunity is established during infancy, and determine the impact of air pollutants, allergens, and infectious disease on childhood lung health.
California National Primate Research Center

Robert O'Donnell, MD, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Hematology & Oncology
Research Interests: Radioimmuotherapy using radionuclide-labelled, cancer-specific monoclonal antibodies for treatment of patients with metastatic breast or prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Use of nude mouse models to explore synergy between this radioimmunotherapy and other drugs. Molecular, genetic changes caused by therapy and their effects on apoptosis. Molecular engineering of new antibody fragments capable of targeting malignant cells.
UCD Comprehensive Cancer Center

Bennett Penn, MD, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases
Research Interests: Dr. Penn’s research focuses on understanding the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We use cutting-edge techniques including quantitative mass-spectrometry and CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to probe the interaction between M. tuberculosis and its host.

Kent Pinkerton, PhD

  • Professor & Director
  • Center for Health and the Environment
Research Interests: Immunotoxicology of the respiratory system. The effects of environmental air pollutants (gases, vapors, and particles) on lung inflammation and disease. The role of cytokines and growth factors in lung maturation and development. The impact of aerosolized nanomaterials on health and disease.

David Pleasure, MD

  • Professor & Director of Research
  • Neurology & Pediatrics
Research Interests: Multiple sclerosis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, central nervous system innate immunity, development of the nervous system, neural stem cells.
Shriners Hospital for Children

Katherine Ralston, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
Research Interests: Interactions between the eukaryotic pathogen Entamoeba histolytica and the human host. The pathogen was named “histolytica” for its ability to destroy host tissues, which is driven by direct killing of human cells. We study how E. histolytica kills cells and invades tissue.

Robert Rebhun, DVM, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Surgical & Radiological Sciences
Research interests: I am a veterinary medical oncologist interested in comparative and translational oncology. Recent work has focused on canine cancer immunotherapy including defining the tumor microenvironment, generating reagents for diagnostic and clinical cancer immunotherapy studies, and testing novel immunotherapies in pet dogs with naturally occurring advanced metastatic cancer.
217 Center for Companion Animal Health

William Ridgway, MD

  • Professor and Division Director
  • Rheumatology, Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Research Interests: Genetics of autoimmunity and autoimmune phenotypes. The primary emphasis is on investigating mouse models of spontaneous polygenic autoimmune syndromes including Type one diabetes, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosis and Relapsing Polychondritis.

Grace Rosenquist, PhD

  • Assistant Adjunct Professor
  • Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior
Research Interests: Post-translational modification of proteins, particularly tyrosine sulfation. Proteins of interest include glycoprotein viral coats, ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors, and G-coupled protein receptors. Collaboration with laboratories which can validate predictions.
179 Briggs Hall

Jeroen Saeij, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology
Research Interests: Our focus is the identification of genes of the obligate intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii that modulate the host cell and/or determine virulence, host genes and pathways that determine resistance/susceptibility, and to characterize their specific interactions.

Barbara Shacklett, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Research Interests: My laboratory studies cell-mediated immune responses to HIV-1 and other viruses in mucosal tissues, and immune cell trafficking to the gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts and the central nervous system. Current projects focus on mucosa-associated invariant T-cells (MAIT cells), Tissue-Resident T-cells, and the functionality of cytotoxic T-cells.
3327 Tupper Hall

Scott Simon, PhD

  • Professor and Vice Chair
  • Department of Biomedical Engineering
Research Interests: Inflammation in response to acute infection (Staphaureus and MRSA) and chronic disease (Atherosclerosis). Innate immunity of host response. In particular, how neutrophils and monocytes travel from blood out into tissue where they fight infections but can also contribute to disease.
3313 Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility

Ryan Snodgrass, PhD

  • Assistant Adjunct Professor
  • Department of Nutrition
Research Interests: Innate immunity and focus primarily on monocyte and macrophage biology. Regarding monocytes, I am interested in how ageing and nutritional status (fasting vs postprandial) modulates circulating monocyte subsets and their respective phenotypes. With respect to macrophages, I am interested in the role of intestinal macrophages in maintaining gut homeostasis; more specifically, how microbiota-derived metabolites, which can be influenced by our diet, contribute to macrophage function in the gut.
Western Human Nutrition Research Center

Athena Soulika, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • UCDHS: Dermatology
Research Interests: Inflammatory neurological disorders, innate immunity responses within the CNS and how these affect the disease course. Local immune responses in the skin and their effects on injury.
Shriners Hospital for Children
2425 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento CA 95817

Ellen Sparger, DVM, PhD

  • Associate Adjunct Professor
  • Department of Medicine & Epidemiology
Research Interests: Conducting studies to identify molecular determinants of pathogenesis of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection in cats and to characterize FIV mutant viruses as attenuated virus vaccines.

Charles Stephensen, PhD

  • Adjunct Professor
  • USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center
Research Interests: My research focuses on the role of nutrition in immune function and resistance to infectious diseases and, conversely, in the impact of infection on nutritional status. Current work focuses on the role of vitamins A and D in T cell-mediated immune responses, and the relationship of gut microbiota to systemic immune activation and vaccine responses, focusing on infants. Other projects also include the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on inflammation.

Suzanne Teuber, MD

  • Professor Emerita
  • Department of Rheumatology, Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Research Interests: Molecular characterization of food allergens associated with life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. Effect of seed polyphenolics on immune response and the possible role in development of food allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. Cross-reactivity of a food allergy.

Christine Toedebusch, DVM, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Surgical & Radiological Sciences
Research interest: Neuroimmunology and the role of microglia in canine and feline CNS health and disease, with a specific focus on the role of microglia in primary brain tumorigenesis.

Jose Torres, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Research Interests: Our laboratory is dedicated to the study of tumors that avoid recognition and elimination by the human immune system. We combine modulation of the immune system in the tumor environment with active immunization to treat metastatic cancer. This work involves design, development and testing of peptide immunogens from tumor specific and tumor associated antigens.

Joseph Tuscano, MD

  • Professor
  • Department of Hematology & Oncology
Research Interests: Development of immune-based therapeutics for B cell malignancies. B lymphocyte signal transduction abnormalities; their role in human disease.
UCD Comprehensive Cancer Center

Judy Van de Water, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Rheumatology, Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Research Interests: Immunopathology, neuroimmunology, and the cellular and molecular basis of autoimmunity. Current research addresses the biological aspects of autism spectrum disorders including immune function, cellular mechanisms of immune dysregulation, and autoimmunity.
The MIND Institute & 6510 GBSF

Natalia Vapniarsky, DVM, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
Research interest: tissue engineering of immuno-universal tissues and implants. I am investigating how the recipient perceives engineered tissues and how this immunity can be modulated via the implant. I am also studying immunomodulation by mesenchymal stem cells.
Vet Med 3A

Sebastian Winter, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine
Research Interest: The Winter lab seeks to better understand the chemical biology of host-microbe interactions. We are particularly interested in the metabolic interactions between the host and its microbiome in settings of intestinal inflammation, and the metabolism of enteric pathogens during infection.

Huaijun Zhou, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Animal Science
Research in immunogenetics, molecular genetics, functional genomics, and bioinformatics in poultry. Focused on elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of host-pathogen interaction including disease resistance, immune response, and pathogenesis of infection. The overall goals are to understand genetic regulation of host response and basic mechanisms of pathogen virulence in animals, to identify host and pathogen genes that are involved in the host-pathogen interplay. The pathogens of interest are food-borne bacteria such as Campylobacter and Salmonella and avian influenza virus.
2247 Meyer Hall