DPLM Faculty Profiles — Dr. Jennette
J. Charles Jennette, MD
Kenneth M. Brinkhous Distinguished Professor and Chair
Chief of Service of UNC Hospitals Clinical Laboratories
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J. Charles Jennette, M.D. is Kennith M. Brinkhous Distinguished Professor and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Professor of Medicine, and Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Services at UNC Hospitals. He received his MD from UNC-CH in 1973. He completed anatomic and clinical pathology residency training at UNC, followed by a research fellowship in immunopathology at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, CA. Dr. Jennette joined the faculty of the School of Medicine at UNC in 1978 and has remained at UNC throughout his career. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology with Special Qualification in Immunopathology.
Dr. Jennette’s service, teaching and research activities focus on kidney disease. He is Executive Director of the UNC Nephropathology Laboratory, which evaluates approximately 2,000 renal biopsy specimens per year, is Co-Director (with Dr. Ronald J. Falk) of the Glomerular Disease Collaborative Network, which coordinates kidney disease research by approximately 300 nephrologists throughout the Southeastern United States, and is Associate Director of the UNC Kidney Center, which is an interdisciplinary consortium with the mission of improving all aspects of kidney disease prevention and treatment. Dr. Jennette’s research is directed at understanding the causes, and improving the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases, especially those caused by inflammatory and immunologic mechanisms. Dr. Jennette has published over 290 journal articles, 130 book chapters, and 18 books. He is editor of Heptinstall’s Pathology of the Kidney and serves on the editorial boards of professional journals dealing with pathology or kidney diseases. He has given over 400 national and international invited presentations, including more than 20 named lectureships. Notable awards include the Renal Pathology Society Jacob Churg Award for Outstanding Contributions in Renal Pathology, European Society of Pathology Honorary Diploma for Outstanding Achievements in Nephropathology, and the UNC Medical Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award.
Dr. Jennette’s current research focuses on inflammatory vascular disease (vasculitis and glomerulonephritis) caused by anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA), which are a major cause for the most common form of aggressive glomerulonephritis and systemic small vessel vasculitis in adults. In collaboration with Dr. Hong Xiao and Dr. Peiqi Hu, he utilizes animal models of ANCA disease discovered in their laboratory that are induced by mouse anti-myeloperoxidase (anti-MPO) antibodies and are mediated primarily by activation of neutrophils. Activation of the alternative complement pathway is critically involved in the pathogenesis of disease in this model. ANCA-activated neutrophils release factors that activate complement, which in turn primes neutrophils for further activation by ANCA. These effects and other ANCA-mediated pathogenic events depend on generation of C5a by alternative pathway activation and on engagement of C5a receptors on neutrophils. Blockade of this critical pathogenic step abrogates disease induction, which has resulted in a novel therapeutic strategy in patients with ANCA disease. Recent ongoing studies using this mouse model as well as patient samples indicate that Fc gamma receptors and bradykinin are involved in pathogenesis. Genetic variations among mouse strains have a dramatic influence on disease severity. Current studies include investigations of the genes responsible for differences in disease severity, studies of the role of epitope specificity in the pathogenicity of ANCA, and studies using a mouse model to elucidate the pathogenesis of ANCA-induced necrotizing pulmonary granulomatosis.
View list of publications from PubMed