Message from Dr Thomas AE Platts-Mills – Division Chief, Allergy & Immunology, December 2020

Thomas AE Platts-Mills, MD

Thomas AE Platts-Mills, MD

2020 will be a year-long remembered by those in the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Division, and not just for a bloody pandemic. Speaking of pandemics, I have written a personal perspective on the history of pandemics.

Most notably, it will be remembered for the year we changed the Chief of our Division, for the first time since 1983. We are honored and excited to welcome Dr. Michael Nelson as our new Chief. Many of you saw the write up by Dr. Rosner in November’s Medicine Matters, which offered an excellent introduction. I am grateful for the opportunities and experience these last 38 years, especially having had the opportunity to pursue research on allergic disease with only limited interference from six chairmen and five deans. More importantly, with continuous personal funding from the NIH, including two Merit awards: the first, for research on the relevance of dust mites and asthma, and the second for research on the Alpha gal syndrome.

This year also saw us win several new grants to support a wide variety of research on allergic disease, including two R21s, a DOD grant, iTHRIV and Manning Fund. Drs. Benham Keshavarz and Jeffrey Wilson have initiated and are carrying out COVID related research with regard to the development of a novel, fully quantitative assays for the IgG to COVID spike and neuroprotien.

Peter Heymann, MD, and Ronald Turner, MD have retired this year. While both were primarily in Pediatrics, they have played an important and central role in our Division. Peter has maintained the pediatric end of our training program for nearly 30 years and both were integral pieces to our research endeavors, especially in the role of rhinovirus in asthma. We are fortunate to have Peter continue his ongoing research, and his relationship, with our Division even after his retirement.

And I would be remiss if I were not to mention the outstanding Fellows of our Division. The fellowship program continues to thrive under the leadership of Dr. Monica Lawrence. This year included a record number of applicants and interviewees intending to rank our program first, publications by every fellow, and a very successful ACGME survey and site visit.

Thomas AE Platts-Mills, MD

Faculty Recognition

• The biggest news of course is the addition of Mike Nelson, MD who we welcomed in November.

Jeffrey Wilson, MD, PhD received the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 2020 Faculty Development Award.

Jeffrey Wilson, MD, PhD was also awarded the UVA Manning COVID 19 Research Fung Grant for COVID-related antibody development

• In July 2020, Judith Woodfolk, MB ChB, PhD was appointed by the U. S. Food & Drug Administration to serve as a Member on the Allergenic Products Advisory Committee

Dr. Woodfolk was also appointed Chair of the COVID-19 Biospecimen Subcommittee at UVA in August 2020. She assumed the position from Dr. Coleen McNamara who, along with other faculty in the Department (Drs. William Petri, Catherine Bonham, Alex Kadl, Lindsay Somerville, and Jeffrey Sturek), led efforts to implement a centralized biorepository that would serve the broad needs of UVA investigators interested in doing COVID research. This endeavor is integral to the COVID-19 Research Prioritization initiative to synergize and support the research efforts of our community in this area, and to ensure the appropriate allocation of limited resources.


Barone SM*, Paul AG*, Muehling LM*, Lannigan JA, Kwok WW, Turner RB, Woodfolk JA**, Irish JM**. Unsupervised machine learning reveals key immune cell subsets in COVID-19, rhinovirus infection, and cancer therapy. bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2020 Aug 1:2020.07.31.190454. *equal contributors and **corresponding authors.

Muehling LM, Heymann PW, Wright PW, Eccles JD, Agrawal R, Carper HT, Murphy DD, Workman LJ, Word CR, Ratcliffe SJ, Capaldo BJ, Platts-Mills TAE, Turner RB, Kwok WW, Woodfolk JA. Human Th1 and Th2 cells targeting rhinovirus and allergen coordinately promote allergic asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020;146:555-570.

Heymann PW, Platts-Mills TAE, Woodfolk JA, Borish L, Murphy DD, Carper HT, Conaway MR, Steinke JW, Muehling L, Gerald Teague W, Kennedy JL, Irani AM, McGraw MD, Early SV, Wheatley LM, Adams AP, Turner RB. Understanding the asthmatic response to an experimental rhinovirus infection: Exploring the effects of blocking IgE. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020;146:545-554.

Eccles JD, Turner RB, Kirk NA, Muehling LM, Borish L, Steinke JW, Payne SC, Wright PW, Thacker D, Lahtinen SJ, Lehtinen MJ, Heymann PW, Woodfolk JA. T-bet+ Memory B Cells Link to Local Cross-Reactive IgG upon Human Rhinovirus Infection. Cell Rep. 2020 Jan 14;30(2):351-366.e7.

Bacon SL, Platts-Mills TAE Is It Time for Aerobic Exercise to in Included in Asthma Treatment Guidelines?. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2020 Oct 8(9): 2997-2998. Doi. 10.1016/j.jaip.2020.08.03

Diagnosis and Management of Patients with the α-Gal Syndrome. Platts-Mills TAE, Li RC, Keshavarz B, Smith AR, Wilson JM. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2020 Jan;8(1):15-23.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2019.09.017. Epub 2019 Sep 28

α-Gal and other recent findings that have informed our understanding of anaphylaxis.Wilson JM, Platts-Mills TAE. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2020 Feb;124(2):135-142. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2019.11.024. Epub 2019 Nov 28

Allergenomics of the tick Ixodes ricinus reveals important α-Gal-carrying IgE-binding proteins in red meat allergy. Apostolovic D, Mihailovic J, Commins SP, Wijnveld M, Kazimirova M, Starkhammar M, Stockinger H, Platts-Mills TAE, Cirkovic Velickovic T, Hamsten C, van Hage M.Allergy. 2020 Jan;75(1):217-220. doi: 10.1111/all.13978. Epub 2019 Aug 5

Distinct clinical characteristics of boys and girls with eosinophilic esophagitis.
Erwin EA, Navalpakam A, Singla R, Bolender J, Workman LJ, Platts-Mills TAE. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2020 Apr;8(4):1452-1455. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2019.10.037. Epub 2019 Nov 11

IgE to galactose-α-1,3-galactose wanes over time in patients who avoid tick bites.
Kim MS, Straesser MD, Keshavarz B, Workman L, McGowan EC, Platts-Mills TAE, Wilson JM. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2020 Jan;8(1):364-367.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2019.08.045. Epub 2019 Sep 11

On the cause and consequences of IgE to galactose-α-1,3-galactose: A report from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Workshop on Understanding IgE-Mediated Mammalian Meat Allergy. Platts-Mills TAE, Commins SP, Biedermann T, van Hage M, Levin M, Beck LA, Diuk-Wasser M, Jappe U, Apostolovic D, Minnicozzi M, Plaut M, Wilson JM. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Apr;145(4):1061-1071. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2020.01.047. Epub 2020 Feb 10

A dynamic relationship between two regional causes of IgE-mediated anaphylaxis: α-Gal syndrome and imported fire ant.

Wilson JM, Keshavarz B, Retterer M, Workman LJ, Schuyler AJ, McGowan EC, Lane C, Kandeel A, Purser J, Rönmark E, LaRussa J, Commins SP, Merritt T, Platts-Mills TAE. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Jun 6:S0091-6749(20)30800-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2020.05.034.

New Grants

1R21AI151496-01 (Borish, Larry) Lung rhinovirus (RV) infection identifies pre-school children with type 2 inflammation at risk for the development of asthma

CSL Behring L.L.C. (Borish, Larry) Undetectable IgE as a sentinel biomarker for humoral immunodeficiency

GlaxoSmithKline LLC (Borish, Larry) Interleukin-5 Receptor Expression in COPD

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Borish, Larry) A randomized, placebo-controlled study to assess cellular and molecular markers related to experimental rhinovirus infection in mild asthmatics, and effect of dupilumab in this investigational model

1R21AI151497-01 (McGowan, Emily) IgE-Independent Mast Cell Activation by Food-Derived Peptides in Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)

American Academy Of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (Wilson, Jeffrey) Investigations into the glycolipid form of the mammalian oligosaccharide galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-Gal) as an agent of IgE-mediated delayed anaphylaxis and atherosclerosis

DoD Subaward: HU00011920113 (Wilson, Jeffrey) Prevalence and Seroconversion of IgE to the mammalian oligosaccharide galactose-;-1,3-galactose and relationship to comorbid disease in military personnel

Drs. Larry Borish (PI), Judith Woodfolk (PI), and Monica Lawrence (Co-PI) were awarded an investigator-initiated grant by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi (07/1/20-06/30/22) entitled “Viral infection in asthma (VIA) Study: A randomized, placebo-controlled study to assess cellular and molecular markers related to experimental rhinovirus infection in mild asthmatics, and the effect of dupilumab in this investigational model.” The objective is to assess the molecular and cellular basis by which blockade of type 2 responses by dupilumab prevents the development of a rhinovirus-induced asthma exacerbation.

UL1TR003015 (McGowan, Emily) The Integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV): Using Data to Improve Health

American College of Gastroenterology (McGowan, Emily, and Sauer, Bryan) Identifying Food Triggers in Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) through Serum and Tissue IgG4 Levels

UVA Manning Fund for COVID-19 Research (Wilson, Jeffrey) IgG to SARS-CoV-2 with ImmunoCAP

Other News

Naomi Bryant, MS, a graduate student in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology (BIMS Program), joined the Woodfolk lab in February 2020. Naomi was awarded an Immunology Fellowship by the Carter Immunology Center in July. Glenda Canderan PhD, an expert in human immunology and complex datasets, joined the Woodfolk lab as a Research Scientist in April 2020.

UVA Allergy Group 2020

Allergy Group from front to back: Thomas A.E. Platts-Mills, Timothy Kyin, Judith Woodfolk, Lyndsey Muehling, Alice Knoedler, Glenda Canderan, Emily McGowan, Ryan Eid, Larry Borish, Anna Smith, Jaimin Patel, Jeffrey Wilson, Will Eschenbacher, and Benham Keshavarz

UVA Allergy Group 2020

Fellows, from left: Ryan Eid, Rung-chi Li, Alice Knoedler, Jaimin Patel, Will Eschenbacher

UVA Allergy Group 2020

Allergy Group from front to back: Thomas A.E. Platts-Mills, Timothy Kyin, Judith Woodfolk, Lyndsey Muehling, Alice Knoedler, Glenda Canderan, Emily McGowan, Ryan Eid, Larry Borish, Anna Smith, Jaimin Patel, Jeffrey Wilson, Will Eschenbacher, and Benham Keshavarz

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