: We are evaluating the role of gastroesophageal reflux as a cause of pulmonary allograft dysfunction and immune cell activation. Research is conducted in collaboration with Dr. R. Duane Davis and Dr. Shu S. Lin (Thoracic Surgery Division) in the Department of Surgery and focuses on pulmonary transplantation. 2. Gut immunity
: Research has focused on the promicrobial aspects of the immune system. In collaboration with Dr. Randy Bollinger, we have focused on the model of "immune inclusion" in the gut. Work has led to a determination of the apparent function of the human appendix. 3. Protein folding
: Research has focused on the potential role of amphiphilic α-helical potential in the folding of all proteins, including predominantly β-sheet proteins. We are currently conducting experiments aimed at evaluating the working hypothesis that α-helical "dormant domains" are involved in the folding of β-sheet proteins. 4. The biome depletion theory
: What is widely known as the “hygiene hypothesis” is more appropriately described as the biome depletion theory: A loss of species diversity from the ecosystem of the human body in Western culture has led to immune dysfunction and subsequent disease. We are working on several aspects of this theory. Our longest-running studies probe the immunological differences between laboratory-raised and wild-raised animals as a means of assessing differences between humans with and without Western culture, respectively. Other studies probe the role of biome enrichment, in particular the addition of helminths, in the treatment of disease. Studies are ongoing in both humans and in animals, with particular attention to the role of biome depletion in cancer and in cognitive dysfunction. Ongoing studies also probe the evolution of the microbiome, but manipulation of the microbiome apparently has far less impact on disease, in both animal models and humans, than manipulation of the eukaryotic portion of the biome.