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Meet the Lab

Asma Nusrat, MD

Aldred S. Warthin Professor, Mucosal Inflammation and Epithelial Pathobiology; Director of Experimental Pathology
anusrat [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio  Education  Administrative Appointments  Funding  NCBI

Dr. Nusrat’s research has focused on investigating mechanisms that orchestrate epithelial barrier regulation, mucosal homeostasis and repair in inflammatory disorders. Epithelial barrier function is achieved by a series of intercellular junctions that include an apical tight junction, subjacent adherens junction and desmosomes. We are exploring molecular mechanisms by which inflammatory mediators alter intercellular junction protein complexes and epithelial barrier function. In addition, ongoing studies are elucidating the influence of inflammatory and pro-resolution mediator signaling on epithelial homeostasis, wound repair and restoration of barrier function. Signaling down-stream of G-protein coupled receptors including formyl peptide receptors in response to protein and lipid pro-resolution ligands that coordinate intestinal mucosal wound repair are being investigated.

Education

MD, University of Punjab (1982)
Residency, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA (1987-1989)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA (1989-1992)

Administrative Appointments

Instructor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (1992-1996)
Staff Pathologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA (1992-1997)
Staff Consultant, Gastrointestinal Pathology, Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA (1993-1996)
Assistant Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (1996-1997)
Assistant Professor of Pathology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA (1997-2003)
Associate Professor of Pathology (Tenure), Emory University, Atlanta, GA (2003-2007)
Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology (Tenure), Emory University, Atlanta, GA (2007-2015)
AS Warthin Professor (Tenure) and Director of Experimental Pathology, University of Michigan (2015-present)

Funding Sources

P.I., NIH, “Intestinal epithelial tight junction structure function”, RO1-DK59888
P.I., NIH, “Intestinal mucosal wound resealing in IBD”, RO1-DK055679
Co.I., NIH “Forml peptide receptors as mediators of intestinal mucosal homeostasis”, RO1-DK089763
Co-P.I., DoD, “CLMP-mediated regulation of intestinal homeostasis in IBD”, PRMP


Charles A. Parkos, MD, PhD

Carl V. Weller Professor and Chair, Mucosal Inflammation and Epithelial Pathobiology
cparkos [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio  Education  Administrative Appointments  Funding  NCBI

Dr. Parkos’ research interests focus on basic mechanisms of epithelial-immune cell interactions and the impact on mucosal homeostasis. Using in-vitro and in-vivo approaches, the lab is studying the molecular basis of leukocyte migration across mucosal epithelia as well as the impact of inflammation on epithelial barrier function as observed in pathologic conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Dr. Parkos and his team have elucidated the roles of many epithelial and neutrophil proteins in regulating leukocyte trafficking across the intestinal mucosa that include adhesion/signaling molecules such as CD11b/CD18, CD47, SIRPalpha, junctional adhesion molecules (JAMs), and cell surface glycans. Recent studies by the group have provided important insights into fundamental mechanisms of how these receptors regulate mucosal homeostasis during health and disease. Current projects in the laboratory are using complementary in-vitro and in-vivo approaches to examine the role of JAM family members in the regulation of epithelial barrier and leukocyte migration, characterizing the signaling events that occur between leukocytes and epithelial cells that serve to control leukocyte transmigration and epithelial permeability, and elucidating the structural basis of protein interactions that regulate these responses.

Education

BA, University of California - San Diego (1979)
PhD, University of California - San Diego/Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation (1987)
MD, University of California - San Diego (1987)
Pathology Residency, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 1988-1991

Administrative Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (1992-1997)
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA (1997-2003)
Professor, Department of Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA (2003-2014)
Director, Emory University MD/PhD training Program (2007-2014)
Vice Chair, Department of Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA (2008-2014)
Carl V. Weller Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI (2014-present)

Funding Sources

P.I., NIH, “Neutrophil interactions with intestinal epithelium,” RO1-DK72564.
P.I., NIH, "Structure function studies on intestinal epithelial JAM" R01-DK61379.
P.I., NIH, "Intestinal Inflammation: Signaling proteins and the rate of PMN transmigration" R01-DK079392.
Co-P.I., DoD, “CLMP-mediated regulation of intestinal homeostasis in IBD”, PRMP


Jennifer Brazil, PhD

Research Investigator
brazilj [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio  NCBI

Dr. Brazil has a PhD in Medicine and Molecular Science, having completed a doctoral dissertation at the Conway Institute of Biomolecular Medicine in University College Dublin, Ireland studying the dynamic neutrophilic response to inflammatory stimuli. In 2008, she joined the lab of Dr. Nancy Louis as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the pathobiology group at the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. During this initial postdoctoral period, Dr. Brazil characterized the GM35 antibody and its attenuation of neutrophil transepithelial migration through binding to the carbohydrate structure sialyl Lewis A on epithelial CD44v6 (see publications link below). Because of the relevance of her work to inflammation associated mucosal tissue damage, in 2012, Dr. Brazil was awarded a research fellowship award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and in 2014 she was successful in her application for a career development award from the same funding agency. In 2014, Dr. Brazil joined the Parkos lab in the Department of Pathology, Emory University as a Research Associate and subsequently accepted a junior faculty position as a Research Investigator in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan. Most recently, Dr. Brazil’s work has focused on characterizing the role of PMN expressed Lewis glycans during neutrophil transepithelial migration and during neutrophil function in inflamed intestinal mucosa.


Veronica Azcutia-Criado, PhD

Research Investigator
vazcucri [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio  NCBI

Dr. Azcutia-Criado is a Research Investigator in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan. She received a BS in Biology in 2002 from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. She earned her PhD degree in Pharmacology from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain, where she studied the pathophysiology of the vascular endothelium under diabetic and inflammatory conditions. Her postdoctoral research as vascular immunologist with Dr. Bill Luscinskas at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School focused on leukocytes and endothelium interactions and leukocyte recruitment during inflammatory processes. She joined the Parkos lab in 2015 and is currently exploring regulatory mechanisms of neutrophil infiltration during mucosal intestinal inflammation.


Monique N. O’Leary, PhD

Research Investigator
moniqueo [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio  NCBI

Dr. Monique O’Leary’s research has integrated studies from mouse models and mammalian cell culture to yeast in order to investigate signaling pathways regulating of gene expression in various disease contexts. Dr. O’Leary received a PhD in Biomedical Science from Baylor College of Medicine in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the laboratory of Dr. Robert J. Schwartz, studying how transcription factors are regulated to specify tissue lineages in the gastrointestinal tract during mouse embryonic development. As a postdoctoral fellow working in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Kennedy, initially at the University of Washington and subsequently at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, her research consisted of several projects evaluating compounds in mouse models of age-related disease and progeroid syndromes, and focused on the study of pathways that influence aging and age-related disease progression. Most recently as junior faculty in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan, Dr. O’Leary’s research focuses on (1) regulation of mucosal homeostasis and barrier function, including JAM-A complex signaling, and (2) signaling mechanisms mediating wound closure.


Roland Hilgarth, PhD

Research Investigator
rhilgar [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio

Dr. Roland Hilgarth has expertise in molecular biology, virology, cell biology and biochemistry. His research focuses on mechanisms of epithelial barrier regulation and wound repair. Roland’s interests include development and use of viral and molecular techniques to study human and murine intestinal mucosal biology.  He holds a PhD in Entomology (emphasis in molecular virololgy) from the University of Kentucky.


Shuling Fan, MD

Assistant Research Scientist
shulingf [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio

Dr. Shuling Fan is an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Michigan. Dr. Shuling Fan earned her MD degree from Medical College of Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Prior to her appointment at the University of Michigan, she practiced medicine (nephrology) in China for 10 years. Her research interests focus on molecular mechanisms of regulating epithelial tight junction assembling and signaling. She is currently working on the phosphorylation of JAM-A, a key barrier molecule for intestinal epithelial cells in regulating intestinal barrier function, and its functional roles in IBD.

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Anny-Claude Luissint, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
luissint [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio  NCBI

Dr. Luissint has a strong interest in cell adhesion molecules and how they regulate barrier function in the endothelium and epithelium under physiological and pathological conditions. She has expertise in the area of transmembrane cell adhesion molecules and leukocyte migration. Dr. Luissint completed her PhD in cell biology in Paris, France, in the group of Dr. Sandrine Bourdoulous, studying the function of an unusual member of the Junctional Adhesion Molecule (JAM) family, JAM-L, in the process of leukocyte transendothelial migration. As a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Pierre-Olivier Couraud’s lab in Paris, she contributed to a collaborative European project focused on the blood-brain barrier and worked on deciphering molecular mechanisms by which the tight junction protein Claudin-5 regulates permeability of brain microvascular endothelium. Currently, in Dr. Parkos’ lab, Dr. Luissint is focusing on deciphering the roles of CAR-like membrane Protein (CLMP), which is structurally related to the epithelial cell adhesion molecules, Coxsackie and Adenovirus Receptor (CAR) and JAM-A, in the regulation of intestinal mucosal homeostasis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).


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Dennis Kusters, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
dkusters [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio  NCBI

Dr. Dennis Kusters received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Maastricht (the Netherlands) in 2015, where his research focused on functions of annexin A1 and A5 in cardiovascular disease. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan, where his professional interests center on intestinal epithelial cell-cell junctions and more particular desmosomes. Current projects include identification of the role of the desmosal cadherins desmoglein-2 and desmocollin-2 in controlling intestinal epithelial barrier function during homeostasis and disease. He obtained the prestigious European Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship grant to support his research in the Nusrat-Parkos research group. Dennis is author on 12 scientific publications and 1 book chapter.


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Dorothée Siuda, MD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
dsiuda [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio

Dr. Dorothée Siuda received her MD from the University of Münster, Germany and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Pathology. Prior to joining the Nusrat lab, she worked at the St. Franziskus-Hospital Münster where she was doing her surgical residency. Her research focuses on intestinal epithelial wound repair during inflammation and her current projects include FPR2 signaling in mucosal wound healing.


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Michelle Reed, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
reedmi [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio

Dr. Michelle Reed completed her PhD in Immunology at the University of Michigan in December 2014, and joined the Parkos-Nusrat lab group in May 2015. Her interest in mucosal immunopathogenesis led to her thesis work in the lab of Dr. Nicholas W. Lukacs, focused on the interactions between lung epithelial cells and the innate immune system during RSV infection. Her current studies focus on the function of the cell-surface glycoprotein CD47 in intestinal epithelial cells and its potential role in mediating cell proliferation, migration, and wound healing. In addition, she is investigating the mechanism of CD47 cross-link-induced apoptosis in neutrophils and macrophages, and its implications in the resolution of inflammation. She is a member of the American Association of Women in Science, the American Association of Immunologists, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. Originally a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Michelle loves to hike, mountain bike, and make pottery during her spare time.


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Miguel Quiros, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
mquirosq [at] umich.edu

Short Bio

Dr. Miguel Quiros did his undergrad studies in microbiology at the University of Costa Rica. He obtained his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Physiology at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico City, Mexico. During his PhD he specialized in epithelial cell junctions and their physiological regulation. His research focuses on the resolution phase of intestinal inflammation. His current projects include: (a) establishing a defined matrix to grow mini-guts with the potential to be engrafted into ulcerated tissue from IBD patients and promote epithelial recovery; (b) characterizing the kinetics of cytokine release during the resolution phase of inflammation and describe the cascade of events that lead to recovery of homeostasis; (c) studying the effect of specialized pro-resolution mediators on intestinal epithelial wound healing. He is a member of the American Society of Investigative Pathology where he has been recognized with multiple travel awards to attend scientific meetings to present his work. Dr. Quiros also has a Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) research fellowship award and was awarded with the CCFA 2016 Shanti Sitaraman, MD, PhD, Young IBD Investigator Award for his research on the role of Resolvin E1 on intestinal epithelial wound healing.


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Sven Flemming, MD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
svflemmi [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio  NCBI

Dr. Sven Flemming is a physician scientist and has a strong interest in leukocyte migration and intestinal barrier properties under inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases. Prior to his appointment in the Parkos lab at the University of Michigan, he worked as a physician scientist in the Department of General Surgery at the University Hospital of Wuerzburg, Germany, and was affiliated with the group of Dr. Nicolas Schlegel. In his previous studies he focused on endothelial barrier disruption caused by pro-inflammatory and/or septic stimuli in-vitro and in-vivo and, secondly, on regulation of epithelial barrier homeostasis in inflammatory bowel diseases and septic conditions. Dr. Flemming currently studies the multistep process of transepithelial migration of leukocytes under inflammatory conditions using intravital microscopy.


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Vicky Garcia-Hernandez, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
vgarciah [at] umich.edu

Short Bio  NCBI

Dr. Vicky Garcia-Hernandez received her PhD degree in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV, Mexico) where she studied the regulation of claudins in the epithelia and she was an instructor in the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico City. Dr. Garcia-Hernandez is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Nusrat lab. Her professional interests focus on the epithelia function and regulation, cellular signaling and physiopathology during inflammatory conditions. Her current projects include: (1) the role of stem cell factor, (2) the regulation of tight junction proteins, and (3) the importance of stem cells in recovery after inflammation.

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Mark Yulis

Graduate Student
mlyulis [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio

Mark Yulis received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Muhlenberg College and is currently a Graduate Student at the University of Michigan. His professional interests focus on cadherin signaling mechanisms, apoptosis, and regulation of epithelial homeostasis and his current projects include the relationship between desmosomal cadherin cleavage and epithelial homeostatic signaling.

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Estelle Chiari, PhD

Research Area Specialist Intermediate
estellec [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio

Dr. Estelle Chiari received her Ph.D. in medical virology from Paris 6. She pursued her virology training first on Hepatitis B then Rous Sarcoma virus and HIV. She briefly studied muscle regeneration in the Zebrafish model at the University of Michigan before moving on to the study of intestinal epithelium biology. She acquired a broad knowledge in various cellular and animal model as well as cellular and molecular biology technics. Outside the lab, Estelle enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, reading and documenting her journey through photography.


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Justin Keeney

Research Technician General Associate
jkeeney [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio

Justin Keeney received his Bachelors of Science in Biomolecular Science from the University of Michigan in 2016 and is currently a Research Technician General Associate in the Parkos-Nusrat group. His professional interests have been focused on the study of ingested silver nanoparticles as they travel through the human gastrointestinal tract as well as the study of intestinal epithelial response in regards to wound healing. He currently assists with various projects studying epithelial biology and pathogenesis of mucosal inflammation in the gut. Outside of the lab Justin likes to play sports, cook, and go on adventures, such as mountain biking and white water rafting among other things.


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Pam Lincoln

Laboratory Research Specialist Intermediate
plincoln [at] med.umich.edu

Short Bio

Pamela Lincoln graduated from Michigan State University in 1981 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Medical Technology. Prior to her appointment at the University of Michigan she worked at Michigan State University for 2 years in the Pathology Department studying platelet dysfunction. She went on to work for the Upjohn Corporation for one year and studied lipid biology in the pathology department. She received her LATG certification in 1993 from the University of Michigan. Pamela has worked in the laboratory of Steven Kunkel for the last 32 years and is now jointly appointed with the Parkos-Nusrat labs.