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Immunogenetics Group

Inflammatory Cell Recruitment

Donald N. Cook, Ph.D.
Donald N. Cook, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Tel (919) 541-4305
Fax (919) 541-2260
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop A3-05
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
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Research Summary

The activation state and trafficking patterns of pulmonary dendritic cells.

The Immunogenetics Group uses genetic approaches to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to either immunogenic or tolerogenic responses to inhaled allergens.

The activation state and trafficking patterns of pulmonary dendritic cells largely determine the nature of immune responses to aeroallergens. The group uses gene-targeted mice that individually lack different chemokine receptors and signaling molecules to study the function of these genes in dendritic cell trafficking and maturation. In addition, the group studies the effects of different environmental agents, such as endotoxin and ozone, on the ability of pulmonary dendritic cells to confer immunogenic or tolerogenic responses to inhaled allergens.

Major areas of research:

Current projects:

  • Investigating the requirement of individual chemokines and chemokine receptors for each of the migration steps in asthma mouse models
  • Determining the cellular and molecular mechanisms that occur after exposure to low doses of endotoxin and that lead to the negative regulation of allergic inflammation in the lung
  • Identifying genes that underlie quantitative trait loci (QTL) using DNA sequence comparison, gene expression studies and small interfering RNA (siRNA)
  • Employing similar approaches to identify QTL involved in allergic immune responses

Donald N. Cook, Ph.D., head of the Immunogenetics Group, earned his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has published 43 peer-reviewed articles in leading biomedical journals as well as several book chapters. Cook served as a principal scientist at Schering-Plough Research Institute and as an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Duke University before joining NIEHS in 2005.

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Last Reviewed: January 29, 2008