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Neil Alexis, PhD.


Work Cell: (919) 966-9915

Pager: (919) 216-1134

Cell: (919) 215-7450


Educational background: Dr. Neil Alexis received his MHSc. in Industrial Hygiene Engineering and PhD in Environmental Medicine from The University of Toronto. Subsequently, Dr. Alexis did Post-Doctoral Research training at UNC Chapel Hill/US EPA Human Studies Facility. He is currently a Professor, in the Department of Pediatrics, UNC Chapel Hill, and Director of the Applied Immunobiology Laboratory and PI of the Human Sample Biorepository at the UNC CEMALB.

Dr. Alexis’s research interests focus on 1. examining the health effects of air pollution in individuals with pre-existing airways disease, and 2. Examining underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms of airways diseases such as asthma, COPD and CF. In particular, he is interested in the inflammatory and innate immune response in the airways and how these responses contribute to adverse responses following air pollutant exposure as well as play a role in disease severity. He has focused on the use of induced sputum as a primary sampling tool for measuring cellular, biochemical and genetic outcomes in the airways of human subjects.

Publications (chronological order):

Alexis N, Soukup J, Ghio A, Becker S.Sputum phagocytes from healthy individuals are functional and activated: a flow cytometric comparison with cells in bronchoalveolar lavage and peripheral blood. Clin Immunol. 2000 Oct;97(1):21-32.

Alexis NE, Soukup J, Nierkens S, Becker S. Association between airway hyperreactivity and bronchial macrophage dysfunction in individuals with mild asthma. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2001 Feb;280(2):L369-75.

Alexis NE, Hu SC, Zeman K, Alter T, Bennett WD. Induced sputum derives from the central airways: confirmation using a radiolabeled aerosol bolus delivery technique. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Nov 15;164(10 Pt 1):1964-70.

Hernandez M, Zhou H, Zhou B, Robinette C, Crissman K, Hatch G, Alexis NE, Peden D. Combination treatment with high-dose vitamin C and alpha-tocopherol does not enhance respiratory-tract lining fluid vitamin C levels in asthmatics. Inhal Toxicol. 2009 Feb;21(3):173-81

Loughlin CE, Esther CR Jr, Lazarowski ER, Alexis NE, Peden DB. Neutrophilic inflammation is associated with altered airway hydration in stable asthmatics. Respir Med. 2010 Jan;104(1):29-33

Schneider A, Alexis NE, Diaz-Sanchez D, Neas LM, Harder S, Herbst MC, Cascio WE, Buse JB, Peters A, Devlin RB.Ambient PM2.5 exposure up-regulates the expression of costimulatory receptors on circulating monocytes in diabetic individuals. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jun;119(6):778-83

Doreswamy V, Alexis NE, Zhou H, Peden DB. Nasal PMN response to repeated challenge with endotoxin in healthy volunteers. Inhal Toxicol. 2011 Feb;23(3):142-7

Lazaar AL, Sweeney LE, MacDonald AJ, Alexis NE, Chen C, Tal-Singer R.SB-656933, a novel CXCR2 selective antagonist, inhibits ex vivo neutrophil activation and ozone-induced airway inflammation in humans. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Aug;72(2):282-93

Dillon MA, Harris B, Hernandez ML, Zou B, Reed W, Bromberg PA, Devlin RB, Diaz-Sanchez D, Kleeberger S, Zhou H, Lay JC, Alexis NE, Peden DB. Enhancement of systemic and sputum granulocyte response to inhaled endotoxin in people with the GSTM1 null genotype. Occup Environ Med. 2011 Oct;68(10):783-5

Esther CR Jr, Alexis NE, Picher M. Regulation of airway nucleotides in chronic lung diseases. Subcell Biochem. 2011;55:75-93

Esther CR Jr, Peden DB, Alexis NE, Hernandez ML.Airway purinergic responses in healthy, atopic nonasthmatic, and atopic asthmatic subjects exposed to ozone. Inhal Toxicol. 2011 May;23(6):324-30.

Lay JC, Peden DB, Alexis NE. Flow cytometry of sputum: assessing inflammation and immune response elements in the bronchial airways. Inhal Toxicol. 2011 Jun;23(7):392-406

Bennett WD, Herbst M, Alexis NE, Zeman KL, Wu J, Hernandez ML, Peden DB.Effect of inhaled dust mite allergen on regional particle deposition and mucociliary clearance in allergic asthmatics. Clin Exp Allergy. 2011 Dec;41(12):1719-28

Brickey WJ, Alexis NE, Hernandez ML, Reed W, Ting JP, Peden DB.Sputum inflammatory cells from patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma have decreased inflammasome gene expression. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Oct;128(4)

Alexis NE, Lay JC, Zhou H, Kim CS, Hernandez ML, Kehrl H, Hazucha MJ, Devlin RB, Diaz-Sanchez D, Peden DB. The glutathione-S-transferase mu 1 (GSTM1) null genotype and increased neutrophil response to low-level ozone (0.06 ppm) J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Aug 22.

Sikkeland LI, Eduard W, Skogstad M, Alexis NE, Kongerud J. Recovery from workplace-induced airway inflammation 1 year after cessation of exposure. Occup Environ Med. 2012 Oct;69(10):721-6.

Poole JA, Gleason AM, Bauer C, West WW, Alexis N, van Rooijen N, Reynolds SJ, Romberger DJ, Kielian TL. CD11c+/CD11b+ Cells are Critical for Organic Dust-Elicited Murine Lung Inflammation. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2012 Aug 16.

Hernandez ML, Herbst M, Lay JC, Alexis NE, Brickey WJ, Ting JP, Zhou H, Peden DB. Atopic asthmatic patients have reduced airway inflammatory cell recruitment after inhaled endotoxin challenge compared with healthy volunteers. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Jul 4.

Hernandez M, Brickey WJ, Alexis NE, Fry RC, Rager JE, Zhou B, Ting JP, Zhou H, Peden DB.Airway cells from atopic asthmatic patients exposed to ozone display an enhanced innate immune gene profile. JACI 2012 Jan;129(1):259-61

Poole JA, Gleason AM, Bauer C, West WW, Alexis N, Reynolds SJ, Romberger DJ, Kielian T. αβ T cells and a mixed Th1/Th17 response are important in organic dust-induced airway disease. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012 Oct;109 (4):266-273. Epub 2012 Jul 24

Harting JR, Gleason A, Romberger DJ, Von Essen SG, Qiu F, Alexis N, Poole JA. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients have greater systemic responsiveness to ex vivo stimulation with Swine dust extract and its components versus healthy volunteers. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2012;75(24):1456-70

Fry RC, Rager JE, Zhou H, Zou B, Brickey JW, Ting J, Lay JC, Peden DB, Alexis NE. Individuals with increased inflammatory response to ozone demonstrate muted signaling of immune cell trafficking pathways. Respir Res. 2012 Oct 3;13(1):89.

Neil E. Alexis, John C. Lay, Haibo Zhou, Chong S. Kim, Michelle L. Hernandez, Howard Kehrl, Milan J. Hazucha, Robert B. Devlin, David Diaz-Sanchez, David B. Peden. The glutathione-S-transferase mu 1 (GSTM1) null genotype and increased neutrophil response to low-level ozone (0.06 ppm) JACI, 2013 Feb;131(2):610-2

Hernandez ML, Wagner JG, Kala A, Mills K, Wells HB, Alexis NE, Lay JC, Jiang Q, Zhang H, Zhou H, Peden DB. Vitamin E, γ-tocopherol, reduces airway neutrophil recruitment after inhaled endotoxin challenge in rats and in healthy volunteers. Free Radic Biol Med. 2013 Feb 9;60C:56-62

Couper D, Lavange LM, Han M, Barr RG, Bleecker E, Hoffman EA, Kanner R, Kleerup E, Martinez FJ, Woodruff PG, Rennard S; for the SPIROMICS Research Group Design of the Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcomes in COPD Study (SPIROMICS). Thorax. 2013 Sep 12. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-203897.

Geiser M, Lay JC, Bennett WD, Zhou H, Wang X, Peden DB, Alexis NE. Effects of ex vivo γ-tocopherol on airway macrophage function in healthy and mild allergic asthmatics. J Innate Immun. 2013;5(6):613-24

Hill DB, Vasquez PA, Mellnik J, McKinley SA, Vose A, Mu F, Henderson AG, Donaldson SH, Alexis NE, Boucher RC, Forest MG A biophysical basis for mucus solids concentration as a candidate biomarker for airways disease. PLoS One. 2014 Feb 18;9(2):e87681.

Alexis NE. Biomarker sampling of the airways in asthma. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2014 Jan;20 (1):46-52.

Bennett WD, Alexis NE, Almond M, Herbst M, Zeman KL, Peden DB. Effect of Inhaled Endotoxin on Mucociliary Clearance and Airway Inflammation in Mild Smokers and Nonsmokers. J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2014 Feb.

Fry RC, Rager JE, Bauer RN, Sebastian E, Peden DB, Jaspers I, Alexis NE Air toxics and epigenetic effects: Ozone altered microRNAs in the sputum of human subjects. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2014 Apr 25

Hirota JA, Alexis NE, Pui M, Wong S, Fung E, Hansbro P, Knight DA, Sin DD, Carlsten C. PM10-stimulated airway epithelial cells activate primary human dendritic cells independent of uric acid: Application of an in vitro model system exposing dendritic cells to airway epithelial cell-conditioned media. Respirology. 2014 May 15

Neil E Alexis, Yuh Chin T Huang, Ana G Rappold, Howard Kehrl, Robert Devlin, David B Peden. Asthmatics Demonstrate Airway inflammation Following Exposure to concentrated ambient particulate matter. Am J Resp Crit Care Med. 2014 Jul 15;190(2):235-7.