De’Broski R. Herbert PhD
Associate Professor of Immunology
University of Pennsylvania, PennVet
Philadelphia, PA USA
The Herbert laboratory explores the cellular and molecular regulatory networks controlling the inflammation that drives host protective immunity and tissue repair in humans and rodents infected with parasites. This research program is particularly focused on parasitic helminths, which are a major cause of morbidity in human populations and agricultural animals across the globe. The body of literature generated by this program has provided foundational insight(s) into the host-parasite interaction regarding the development of M2 macrophages, eosinophil effector functions, Type 2 innate lymphocytes (ILC2), and conventional T helper 2 cells (TH2). In recent years, we have turned our focus to the major gaps in understanding Trefoil factor (TFF) biology. TFFs (TFF1-3) are a family of small (6-14kDa) tissue reparative cytokines known to drive tissue repair through regulation of mucus viscosity, epithelial cell adhesion molecule expression, and cell survival. The biology that we are uncovering behind this discovery stands to impact the fields of parasite immunology, mucosal immunology, and regenerative medicine. The Herbert laboratory has active ongoing projects focused on human helminth infection, dendritic cells as unconventional cellular sources of IL-33, Wnt pathway signaling and transgenesis in parasitic nematodes to study the basic tenets of antigen-specific CD4+ T cell biology. Overall, this research program is focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms operating at the mucosal interface in health and disease.