Nicola Heller, Ph.D.
Ph.D. – Johns Hopkins University
Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Richard Starr Ross Research Bldg., Room 367
720 Rutland Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21205
Phone: (410) 955-1743
Key words: interleukin(IL)-4/IL-13 signaling, allergic inflammation, asthma, IRS-2, STAT6, alternatively activated macrophage.
We are interested in the basic mechanisms of signaling from the biology of the IL-4/IL-13 receptor, signal transduction and its regulation to the role of alternatively-activated macrophages (AAM) in the pathogenesis of allergic inflammation. IL-4 and/or IL-13 are critical for AAM differentiation from resting macrophages. AAM mediate Th2-type inflammatory responses (to allergens or helminths) and wound healing responses. AAM are considered “anti-inflammatory” and suppress inflammation by promoting fibrosis through release of chitinase-like molecules and matrix remodeling enzymes, inducing Tregs, dampening T-cell responses and producing anti-inflammatory cytokines. However, when AAM responses become chronic or are dysregulated, pathogenesis can result, as seen in lung fibrosis and tissue remodeling in asthma. The balance between AAM and classical inflammatory macrophages regulates the pathology of many diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer. New projects include elucidating the molecular links between asthma and obesity and how gender and race affect asthma and obesity in humans.
Publications and Interests: https://jhu.pure.elsevier.com/en/persons/nicola-mary-heller