Joseph Mizgerd, Sc.D.
Office: 72 E.Concord St R-Bd
The major focus of work in Dr. Mizgerd’s laboratory is on acute lower respiratory tract infections. Inflammatory responses in the lungs require the coordinated expression of diverse mediators including adhesion molecules, chemokines, colony stimulating factors, and cytokines that are absent or present only at low levels in uninfected lungs, but are expressed at high levels during infection. Similar mediators are induced during most lung infections, although individual mediators can have different roles during different infections. Dr. Mizgerd studies the coordinated expression of these mediators focusing on gene regulation. NF-kB transcription factors are critical to the gene expression program directing inflammation in the lungs, with RelA inducing inflammatory genes mediating host defense and p50 counteracting this gene induction to prevent lung injury. These transcription factors have cell-specific roles during infection. In addition expression of these mediators is regulated post-transcriptionally by miRNAs that target cytokine mRNAs to limit their expression, and modifications of these miRNAs to relieve miRNA-mediated repression to facilitate cytokine expression. An improved knowledge of the molecular mechanisms directing inflammation in the lungs will provide new directions for preventing acute lower respiratory tract infections.