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Immunology Group

Mechanisms of Inflammation

Farhad Imani, Ph.D.
Farhad Imani, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Tel (919) 541-5058
Fax (919) 541-4133
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop B2-01
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
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Research Summary

The Immunology Group examines the activation of immunological events during respiratory viral infections that lead to induction of innate and adaptive immune responses.

A major area of research in the laboratory involves identification of the molecular pathways that are necessary for viral induction of inflammatory cytokines in lung epithelial cells. The group’s previous work has identified several signaling pathways—including protein kinase R (PKR) and MAPK pathways—involved in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) induction of inflammatory cytokines in human bronchial epithelial cells. Several years ago, the group reported that direct viral infection of human B lymphocytes induced immunoglobulin E (IgE) expression. Since IgE is a critical component of allergic and asthmatic reactions, the data revealed the activation of critical mechanisms during viral infections that can potentially increase the risk for allergy and asthma development. The group further showed that induction of IgE involved the expression of viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)—a structure present during replication of most viruses—and subsequent activation of PKR. Currently, the Immunology Group’s goal is to identify the mechanisms activated during viral infections that lead to induction and exacerbation of immunologically-related lung disorders such as allergic asthma.

Major areas of research:

  • Signaling pathways that regulate virus and dsRNA induction of innate immune responses
  • The effect of innate immunity on adaptive immune responses to RSV infection
  • Molecular mechanisms of viral induction of lung permeability

Current project:

  • Identifying the mechanisms activated during viral infections that lead to immunologically-related lung disorders

Farhad Imani, Ph.D., head of the Immunology Group, received his doctorate in virology from Arizona State University, and he completed his post-doctoral work in immunology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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Last Reviewed: January 29, 2008