ACGME Fellowship Program - Research Preceptors

Dr. Marcus Clark

Our laboratory has a long-standing interest in B cell antigen receptor (BCR) signaling and BCR dependent processes regulate specific cell fate decisions. In the bone marrow, we have been working to understand how signals initiated through the BCR, in conjunction with those delivered through the IL-7 receptor, coordinate cell cycle progression with immunoglobulin light chain recombination. In the periphery, we have focused on the molecular mechanisms of receptor endocytosis and endocytic trafficking and how these mechanisms influence BCR trafficking and cell fate. As is the case with our studies of lymphopoiesis, we have derived novel in vivo models, and have performed directed in vitro studies, to obtain definitive insights into these processes. In our newest project area, we are applying our knowledge of B cell biology to understanding how in situ adaptive immune responses drive tubulointerstitial inflammation in human lupus nephritis.

Dr. Maria-Luisa Alegre

Dr. Maria-Luisa Alegre focuses on mechanisms of inactivation of T lymphocytes. Several mechanisms are in place to prevent T cells from reacting to self-antigens and triggering autoimmunity. These include deletion of the majority of auto-reactive T cells during T cell development in the thymus, and death or inactivation of the remaining autoreactive T cells when they start circulating in the body. Dr. Alegre’s laboratory studies these peripheral mechanisms of tolerance, as it may be possible to inactivate T cells to prevent or treat autoimmunity or transplant rejection. Dr. Alegre’s laboratory studies include the biochemical signals and function triggered by engagement of surface molecules, such as CTLA-4 and PD-1 that normally stop an immune response after elimination of the antigen; the biochemical signals within T cells that are necessary to reject a transplanted organ or to develop an autoimmune disease. To this end, the laboratory possesses several mouse models of autoimmune diseases, as well as of skin, cardiac and pancreatic islet transplantation.

Dr. Fotini Gounari

Dr. Fontini Gounari is interested in signal transduction pathways that are involved in the development of hematopoietic stem cells into the T-cell lineage and deregulations that lead to leukemia. A major focus of research is the pre-T-Cell Receptor, that triggers the expansion and differentiation of immature thymocytes. Her work has demonstrated a cross talk of preTCR signaling with the Wnt/beta-catenin and Notch cascades. Both Wnt/beta-catenin and Notch have been directly linked with human cancer. Dr. Gounari is currently studying the physiological versus pathological interactions of these pathways in developing versus transformed thymocytes.

Dr. Michael Becker

Dr. Michael Becker has a specialty interest in gout, and conducts a weekly gout clinic.He has ongoing clinical trials of novel therapies for gout. Dr. Becker is a highly experienced mentor who is world-renowned for his research on purine metabolism and expertise in clinical gout research.

Dr. James Curran

Dr. James Curran is a senior and expert clinician. He is widely sought out in the Chicago area for his clinical care.

Dr. Kichul Ko

Dr. Ko is interested in the molecular mechanisms behind systemic lupus, especially in lupus nephritis, and how they play a role in clinical manifestations and heterogeneity of the disease. He's also interested in clinical trials involving novel therapies for lupus.

Dr. Patrick Wilson

Dr. Wilson's research is focused on B cell biology which revolves around the specificity of expressed antibody molecules. His lab has developed powerful approaches for rapidly characterizing B cell specificity and generating recombinant monoclonal antibodies. His investigations explore specific B cell responses in humans and mice for two purposes: 1) to learn how B cells are controlled to avoid autoimmune diseases such as lupus, and 2) to learn how B cells control infectious diseases such as influenza or dengue virus infections. In addition to gaining basic understanding of immune responses, his lab often generates monoclonal antibodies from humans that may be developed for diagnostic, passive immunization, or therapeutic uses.