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Host Defense Group

Innate Immune Response

Michael B. Fessler, M.D.
Michael B. Fessler, M.D.
Principal Investigator

Tel (919) 541-3701
Fax (919) 541-4133

Curriculum Vitae (fessler-cv.pdf)  Download Adobe Reader (37kb)
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop B2-01
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
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Research Summary

The Host Defense Group investigates the role of cholesterol trafficking and lipid rafts in innate immunity, and uses proteomic and translational approaches to discover and validate novel insights into the innate immune response.

The group uses genetically modified mouse models, lipid raft analysis and signal transduction approaches to define how cholesterol trafficking mechanisms regulate the innate immune response. The research focuses on defining mechanisms of lung inflammation and host defense along with signaling responses of the leukocyte to lipopolysaccharide and related stimuli. A related but independent effort of the laboratory is protein-protein interaction discovery in innate immunity signaling using targeted applications of proteomics. The group will test and validate the results using human specimens obtained in the new Clinical Research Unit.

Cholesterol trafficking mechanisms
Cholesterol trafficking mechanisms.

Major areas of research:

  • Roles of raft remodeling in induction and regulation of the innate immune response
  • Role of cholesterol trafficking regulators in innate immunity
  • Mechanisms of lung inflammation and host defense
  • Protein-protein interaction and post-translational modification discovery in innate immunity

Current projects:

  • Using RNA interference and selected genetically modified mice to identify regulatory roles for cholesterol trafficking in the innate immune response in leukocytes.
  • Employing targeted proteomic strategies to identify novel events and molecular targets in the lipopolysaccharide signaling pathway.
  • Testing genetically modified mice to define mechanisms underlying acute pulmonary inflammation, pulmonary host defense, and pulmonary fibrosis.

Michael B. Fessler, M.D., head of the Host Defense Group, received an A.B. in philosophy from Princeton University in 1992, a medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1996 and training in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1996-1999 and in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado from 1999-2002. Fessler developed an expertise in basic and translational approaches to the study of innate immunity, which he expanded during four years of a faculty position at the University of Colorado, before joining the NIEHS in 2006.

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Last Reviewed: January 29, 2008