Open Access Biomedical Publisher Using Post Publication Peer Review
Assistant Professor, part-time University of Maryland School of Medicine
800 West Baltimore Street United States of America 21201
I received my M.D. degree in Medicine and Biophysics in 1985 from the Russian State Medical University, Russian Ministry of Health and subsequently joined a biopharmaceutical company “Antigen” in Moscow suburb as a Microbiologist designing and manufacturing the ELISA-based test-systems for a detection of specific Abs for different infectious diseases. In 1990 I became a PhD student specializing in Epidemiology and Immunology/Allergology in Prof. Tatiana Semenenko’s laboratory at the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, the Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow where I successfully defended my PhD thesis in 1994. My six-year postdoctoral training was completed in 2002 in the laboratory of Prof. Chella David in the Department of Immunology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. My research there was related to the specificity of HLA polymorphism in airborne allergen sensitivity and peptide-specific allergic asthma immunotherapy. After my postdoctoral training I joined the faculty of Yale University School of Medicine as an Associate Research Scientist working in Prof. Jack Elias’ laboratory in the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. While at Yale University, I was involved in many collaborative research projects aimed to define the mechanisms and establish the role of different molecular players in allergic asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary fibrosis. In 2006 I joined Prof. Achsah Keegan’s laboratory at the University of Maryland School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor where my research was focused on the role of STAT6 in the experimental allergic asthma. Simultaneously I developed a new project aimed to narrate the roles of neuroimmune semaphorins Sema4A and Sema4D and their receptors in the allergic airway inflammatory response. Currently, I am a part-time Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Center for Vascular and Inflammatory Diseases and a member of the Program in Oncology at the Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. I am an active member of the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) and American Academy for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) since 1999 and the SigmaXi scientific society since 2008. In addition to my local research, teaching and community service, I participate in the NIH study sections, serve as a reviewer for several journals in the fields of allergy, immunology, inflammation and cancer, am an Associated Editor for the Journal of Immunology and a member of the editorial board for theWorldScientificJOURNAL.
Academic positions1990-1993, Ph.D. Student, Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology (GSRIEM)1993-1995, Researcher, GSRIEM1995-1996, Senior Researcher, GSRIEM1996 -2002, Research Fellow, Mayo ClinicAcademic Appointments2002-2005, Associate Research Scientist, Yale University2006-2008, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM)2009-2009, Adjunct Assistant Professor (UMSOM)2009-present, Part-time Assistant Professor (UMSOM)
My research interests are centered on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of allergic airway inflammation and disease immunotherapy. Current asthma therapy targets disease symptoms and includes inhaled corticosteroids and beta-agonists. However, they are rather non-specific and can induce multiple side effects, particularly in children. To improve the current treatment and make it more specific, new pathways are being investigated and new therapies are being developed. In my laboratory we investigate two such new pathways related to neuroimmune semaphorins. Neuroimmune semaphorins belong to an extended family of secreted and membrane-bound glycoproteins which originally were found to be expressed in the nervous system and to act as chemorepulsive agents for axon guidance. Recent studies have found several semaphorins to be expressed and function in the immune system. Sema4A and Sema4D are the first semaphorins with described immunological functions. In the immune system, Sema4A is preferentially expressed on immature DC and Sema4D is on resting T cells. Their functional receptors, Tim-2 and CD72 are preferentially expressed on T cells and DC, respectively. Both immune semaphorins are upregulated with a corresponding cell activation and play critical and complex roles in DC – T cell interaction. Neuroimmune semaphorins also have so called non-immune cell receptors of Plexin family members, namely Plexin D1 for Sema4A and shared Plexin B1. We completed our study aimed to define the cellular source and levels of expression of immune semaphorins and their receptors in the lung tissue. We also defined a specific regulation of lung immune semaphorin expression by allergen (OVA) and by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) exposure (Smith et al. 2011. BMC Immunol., 12:30). We have found the common and unique features in lung neuroimmune semaphorin expression as compared to the lymphoid tissues (Nkyimbeng-Takwi et al. 2011. Immunol Res, 50:10-21). Recently, we analyzed the specific individual Sema4 molecule contribution to the allergic airway inflammation using the corresponding molecule deficient mice in the experimental model of asthma (Nkyimbeng-Takwi et al. J. Immunol. 186:103.7). Our long-term objective is to use the results from these studies to specifically modulate immune semaphorin expression and interaction with their receptors in order to ameliorate asthmatic lung disease.
Keywords for present and past research: Molecular mechanisms of allergic airway inflammation and disease immunotherapy, novel molecular targets in asthma, dendritic cell activation and function, DC-T cell interaction, neuroimmune semaphorins and their receptors, VEGF, IL-4, IL-13, STAT6, NF-kB, Tregs, apoptosis;Immunogenetics of asthma, HLA Class II, allergen epitopes, peptide-specific immunotherapy, mouse model of airborne allergen- (house dust mite, ragweed, cockroach, and ryegrass)-induced experimental asthma;Radionuclid polluted regions, human immune status, epidemiology of infectious diseases;Bordetella pertussis, Staphylococcus aureus, basic components of infectious Ag-specific ELISA kits, quality control.Experience: Animal work, transgenic/knockout mice, bone marrow chimeric mice, in vivo cell transfer or depletion, bronco-alveolar lavage fluids and cells, lung physiology/volume/morphometry measurements, cell/tissue apoptosis (TUNEL, annexin V/PI, signaling pathways), IP, EMSA, multicolor flow cytometry for cell characterization and sorting, magnetic cell sorting, BMDC, cell proliferation (colorimetric, thymidine incorporation, CFSE and SNARF), ICC, CBA, Th1/Th2 polarization cultures, ELISAs, ELISPOT, PCR, RT-qPCR, histochemistry and immunohistochemistry, light and fluorescence microscopy, cell cultures/transformation, protein expression/isolation/analysis, T cell epitope mapping using synthetic peptides, other basic commonly used immunologic techniques.
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