Dr. Marty Ferris (Associate Professor, Genetics) is part of a pilot project recently awarded a School of Medicine Office of Research and NC TraCS Translational Team Science Award (TTSA) for the project titled “Early-life Th2-skewing as a risk factor for allergic sensitization”.
Other team members include Drs. Scott Commins (Medicine), Johanna Smeekens (Pediatrics) and Mike Kullis (Pediatrics). The project proposes to use genetically diverse Collaborative Cross strains to understand the genetic components of Th2 polarization and IgE responses through two specific aims: 1) determine whether early life exposure to alum-containing Hepatitis B (HepB) immunization results in Th2-skewing independent of genetic predispositions, and 2) determine whether increased Th2-skewing due to early life events will lead to increased predisposition to develop food allergy. Overall, the team will demonstrate the role of genetic susceptibility associated with a basal propensity for Th2 skewing and, more specifically, IgE production.