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Associate Professor, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology

Dr. Kulis is a biochemist whose work focuses on the development and mechanistic understanding of novel immunotherapy approaches for children with food allergies. He works closely with Drs. Wesley Burks and Edwin Kim as part of the UNC Food Allergy Initiative. Using animal models and human samples, Dr. Kulis and his team have carried out projects to study humoral responses, particularly serum IgE, IgG, IgG4, and IgA, local IgA production in saliva, Treg enumeration using flow cytometry, Th2 cytokine secretion, and basophil activation assays to peanut and other allergens.

Currently, Dr. Kulis is exploring research questions in mouse models of food allergy, including the development of a novel therapeutic approach targeting inhibitory Siglecs (sialic-acid-binding immunoglobulin like lectins) on B cells and mast cells/basophils. His team has also recently developed a mouse model that reacts on oral peanut and walnut challenges, allowing for further research partnerships with the NIH and industry to develop a novel adjuvanted DNA vaccine and to test hypoallergenic peanuts. His future plans include studies focusing on the mechanisms and kinetics of basophil desensitization, Treg function and Th2 modulation mechanisms, and humoral responses. These studies have potential to identify biomarkers and mechanistic understanding for allergen immunotherapy, which will ultimately be useful to clinicians and their patients.

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