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The division’s approach is highly interdisciplinary in its research and clinical care in these and other areas and in its training program. A good example is the Sinus Disease Clinic, run jointly by Allergy’s Larry Borish, MD, and Otolaryngology’s Spencer Payne, MD. They maintain an active research program in the mechanisms and treatment of sinus polyp formation. Fellows from Allergy and residents from Otolaryngology are thus provided with a unique cross-training experience in a clinic focused explicitly on sinus disease and jointly staffed by Allergy and Otolaryngology. This kind of cross-training is characteristic of the Allergy fellowship: fellows must pass board exams in either Internal Medicine or Pediatrics in the first year and see both adult and pediatric allergy patients throughout the two-year training period.

Rhinovirus research — investigating the causes of, and treatments for, the common cold — is similarly interdisciplinary, involving faculty from Allergy (Medicine), Pediatrics, and the Carter Immunology Center. Allergy faculty can perform rhinovirus challenges in human subjects and follow the immune response over nearly a month — the only academic center in the U.S. currently performing such long-term investigations. Enrollment and care of rhinovirus research subjects is a source of considerable pride for the Allergy and Pediatrics faculty. This area will continue to be a pillar of Allergy’s research program.

The division is increasingly known for its novel discoveries and expertise related to red meat allergy. Our allergy clinics are seeing a growing number of patients with this food allergy seeking treatment at UVA. A collaborative research effort between division faculty members and Loren Erickson, PhD, of the Carter Immunology Center, is exploring the hypothesis that bites from ectoparasitic ticks cause this allergy.

Our allergy clinics have also seen a sharp rise in patient referrals for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) — both adult and pediatric cases. The disease, which is characterized by elevated eosinophils in the esophagus and accompanied by symptoms such as acid reflux and difficulty swallowing, is typically co-managed by clinicians from the Divisions of Gastroenterology and Allergy; to facilitate this collaboration, Allergy has launched a combined pediatric EoE clinic, staffed by Allergy, Gastroenterology, and Pediatrics faculty members.

By visiting their pages, learn more about investigators, their teams, and the research projects.

Larry Borish, MD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Professor of Medicine

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Asthma, Allergy, and Clinical Immunology
PO Box 801355
Telephone: 434-243-2610
Email: lb4m@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Innate immune mechanisms of rhinovirus (RV)-induced asthma exacerbations. Immune and cellular mechanisms of asthma. Immune mechanisms in chronic hyperplastic eosinophilic sinusitis (CHES).

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Current research focuses on the innate immunity-mediated mechanisms by which rhinovirus (RV) exacerbates asthma. The greatest morbidity associated with asthma is the occurrence of severe, potentially life-threatening exacerbations. RV accounts for ~60-70% of childhood and adolescent asthma exacerbations.  [More…]

Monica Lawrence, MD

Monica LawrencePRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Associate Professor of Medicine

CONTACT:

Email: ml4nz@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

  • Severe childhood asthma, in particular, the role of rhinovirus infection
  • The role of IgE in primary immunodeficiency

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

While at the University of Virginia, Dr. Lawrence has collaborated extensively with investigators both within and outside the Division to characterize the immune response to experimental rhinovirus infection in patients with asthma and allergic rhinitis. In 2020, she assumed responsibility as the head of the Rhinovirus Core Laboratory and, as such, sponsors two INDs related to the experimental rhinovirus challenge. [More…]

Emily McGowan, MDPRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine

CONTACT:

Email:

ekc5v@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Understanding the epidemiology and treatment options for food allergy, especially eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGIDs), including eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Over the past two decades, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) has rapidly transformed from a case-reportable disease to a major cause of upper gastrointestinal morbidity. EoE is characterized by eosinophils in the esophagus, symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, and/or difficulty swallowing, and the exclusion of other causes of esophageal eosinophilia. [More…]

Judith A. Woodfolk, MD, PhD

JUDITH WOOLFOLKPRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Professor of Medicine

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Asthma, Allergy, and Clinical Immunology
PO Box 801355
MR-4, 5061
Telephone: 434-924-1293 / 434-982-3958
Fax: 434-924-1251
Email: jaw4m@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Translational Science

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

We use translational models to understand how immune cells respond to viruses in health and disease. We aim to identify biomarkers predicting severe outcomes in at-risk patients and identify new strategies to prevent virus-induced lung damage.

Infection with rhinovirus, the major cause of the common cold, typically runs a benign course. However, in patients with asthma, rhinovirus exposure triggers acute wheezing episodes that often require hospitalization. We have characterized T cells and B cells that define a protective response to rhinovirus and established a previously unrecognized role for type 1 immunity in promoting allergic asthma. The analytical pipelines developed for rhinovirus have since laid the groundwork for work on SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. [More…]