Loren Erickson, PhD and Coleen McNamara, MD Awarded $4M NIH R01 Grant to Study IgE Sensitivity to Alpha-gal and Cardiovascular Disease

September 1, 2022 by jta6n@virginia.edu

Loren Erickson, PhD (lt) and Coleen McNamara, MD (rt)

Loren Erickson, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology and Coleen McNamara, MD, a professor in the Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, both also members of the Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research, were awarded a 5 year, $4M grant from the NIH to study IgE sensitivity to alpha-gal and cardiovascular disease.

Humans with IgE antibodies to the alpha-gal sugar allergen have increased coronary artery disease compared to those without IgE to alpha-gal. This project seeks to understand whether IgE to alpha-gal directly promotes atherosclerosis and define immune mechanisms mediating the production of IgE antibodies to alpha-gal. The outcomes of this study may lead to new therapeutic approaches to discover those at risk and limit alpha-gal-induced atherosclerosis.

Other key members of the team include:

  • Angela Taylor, MD, Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division and Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research
  • Jeffrey Wilson, MD, Department of Medicine,  Allergy and Clinical Immunology Division and Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research
  • Thomas Platts-Mills, MD, Department of Medicine,  Allergy and Clinical Immunology Division and Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research
  • Ani Manichaikul, PhD, Department of  Public Health Sciences and Center for Public Health Genomics
  • Cassidy Blackburn, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the McNamara Lab and Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research

This project also brings in outside international expertise with Mitch Kronenberg, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at the La Jolla Institute, leading a small subcontract.

Read more about the research of Drs. Erickson and McNamara:  immunology.virginia.edu and  iprime.virginia.edu

For award details, see NIH REPORTER: https://reporter.nih.gov/search/HJb-Dpk1uU6AAStVtAxfBw/project-details/10536408

Connect on Twitter @UVAimmunology

Filed Under: Faculty, Honors & Awards, Research