Immunology & Vaccinology


Dr. Sheela Ramamoorthy seeks to better understand vaccine-mediated immunity and apply findings to improving vaccines. Her group also work in the related area of diagnostic test development. Her research is conducted in the context of the porcine respiratory disease complex, a multi-factorial disease of swine with four central players namely; Porcine Circovirus strain 2, Swine Influenza Virus, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Disease Syndrome Virus and Torque Teno Viruses.

Allergic Lung Disease

Dr. Jane Schuh researches the interaction between the inflammatory cells and the resident cells and architecture of the allergic lung when a person is repeatedly exposed to mold spores. They have developed an animal model that closely mimics the human disease using the inhalation of Aspergillus fumigatus spores. A. fumigatus is found nearly everywhere and is responsible for a huge number of the mold-induced diseases of humans.

Neuroimmunology and the Gut-Brain Axis

Dr. Glenn Dorsam studies Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP), a neuropeptide and gut hormone that is evolutionary conserved and has many functions related to signaling. VIP is elevated in obese humans and Dr. Dorsam's group is working to to understand how VIP signaling impacts obesity. They hypothesize that altered VIP signaling contributes to hallmarks of obesity, including changes in metabolism, immunity and the gut microbiota. This research is expected to show that VIP signaling plays important roles in obesity development by regulating fat deposition, abnormal inflammation and altered gut microbiome composition, promoting human obesity and leading to associated human disorders. The Dorsam Research Group will also educate students in a hypothesis-driven, ethically-sound, interdisciplinary training environment aimed at preparing them for highly competitive scientific careers.