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G. Rafael Fernandez-Botran, Ph.D.

by Wittliff,James L. last modified Oct 04, 2013 01:51 PM

Associate Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Fernandez BotranEmail Rafael Fernandez - Botran
Phone Numbers: (502) 852-5375 (Office)
Fax Number: (502) 852-1177
     Division of Research
     Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
     School of Medicine
     University of Louisville
     Louisville, KY, 40292
Ph. D. 1985, University of Kansas



Jie Zhang, Research Assistant


Research Interests:

Cytokines, potent regulatory proteins produced by leukocytes and other cell types, play a central role in both health and disease by mediating many physiologic processes, including inflammation, hemopoiesis and immune responses. The research goals of our laboratory are to understand the mechanisms that control the activity of cytokines in vivo and to develop novel immunotherapeutic approaches to the treatment of disease, based on the inhibition or enhancement of cytokine activity. Current projects in our laboratory are:


  • Targeting glycosaminoglycan-cytokine interactions as an immunotherapeutic approach. Interactions between cytokines and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) on cell membranes or the extracellular matrix are important in the development of local inflammation and immune responses and may constitute a valid target for anti-inflammatory or immunomodulatory therapies. Currently, the effects of inhibitors of cytokine-GAG interactions are being studied in several experimental animal models, including cardiac arrest-induced brain damage, and peritoneal inflammation.
  • Immunoregulatory effects of gangliosides and potential role in immune escape mechanisms by tumor cells. Gangliosides are sialic acid-containing glycolipids found in the plasma membranes of all cells, but particularly enriched in the central nervous system and in certain tumor cells. Gangliosides have immunosuppressive activities and may be responsible for tumor-induced immunosuppression. Our laboratory is investigating the mechanisms responsible for the suppressive effects of gangliosides, particularly their effects on the normal differentiation of helper T cells and cytokine receptor signaling.


Selected Publications:

    1. Shuske, D., A.S.O. Adeagbo, P.K. Patibandla, U. Egbuhuzo, R. Fernandez-Botran, and W.T. Johnson.  2009.  Cyclooxygenase-2 is upregulated in copper-deficient rats.    Inflammation, 32:333-339.
    2. Crespo, T., R. Fernandez-Botran, C. Tillquist, L. Sears, M. Mott, and M. Casanova.  2009. Cytokine Polymorphisms in autism.  Their role in immune alterations.  In “Autism: Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Immune Abnormalities”, A. Chauhan, V. Chauchan and W.T. Brown, Eds.  CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.  P.427.
    3. Fernandez-Botran, R., J.J. Miller, V.E. Burns and T.L. Newton.  2011.  Correlations among plasma, saliva and oral mucosal transudate levels of interleukin-6 and soluble interleukin-6 receptors in postmenopausal women with past intimate partner violence.  Brain Behav. Immun., 25:314-321. 
    4. Fernandez-Botran, R., Ahmed, Z., C. Gatenbee, F.A. Crespo, D.W. Dickson, and I. Litvan.  2011.  Cytokine expression and microglial activation patterns in the brains of progressive supranuclear palsy and Alzheimer’s disease patients.  Parkinsonism Rel. Disorder, 17:683-688.
    5. J. Bordón, M. Plankey, M. Young, R.M. Greenblatt, M.C. Villacres, A.L. French, J. Zhang, G. Brock, S. Appana, B. Herold, H. Durkin, J.E. Golub, and R. Fernandez-Botran.  2011. Lower levels of interleukin-12 precede tuberculosis among HIV-infected women.  Cytokine, 56:325-331. 
    6. Newton, T.L., R. Fernandez-Botran, J.J. Miller, D.J. Lorenz, V.E. Burns, K.N. Fleming.  2011.  C-reactive protein levels, interleukin-6 and past intimate partner violence in midlife women: A preliminary study.  J. Women’s Health, 20:1871-1880.
    7. Bordon, J., Aliberti, S., Fernandez-Botran, R., Uriarte, S.M., Rane, M.J., Duvuri, P., Peyrani, P., Morlacchi. L.C., Blasi, F., Ramirez, J.A.  2012. Understanding the roles of cytokines and neutrophil activity and neutrophil apoptosis in the protective versus deleterious inflammatory response in pneumonia.  Intl. J. Infect. Dis., 17:e76-e83.
    8. Fleming, K. N., Newton, T. L., Fernandez-Botran, R., Miller, J. J., Burns, V. E.   2012. Intimate partner stalking victimization and posttraumatic stress symptoms in post-abuse women.  Violence Against Women, 18(12):1368-1389. 2012.
    9. Newton, T. L., Fernandez-Botran, R., Miller, J. J., Cambron, A. C., Burns, V. E., Allison, K. E.  2012. Posttraumatic stress symptom severity and inflammatory processes in midlife women.  Psychological Trauma:  Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. 2012. 
    10. Bordon, J., S.M. Uriarte, F.W. Arnold, R. Fernandez-Botran, M. Rane, P. Peyrani, R. Cavallazzi, M. Saad, J. Ramirez.  2013.  Cytokines and Neutrophils responses in Influenza Pneumonia.  Infection.,  Published on line, April 16, 2013.
    11. Tseng, M.T., G. Fu, R. Fernandez-Botran, P. Wu, U. Graham, D.A. Butterfield, E. Grulke, R.A. Yokel.  2013.  Single dose nanoceria iniduced hepatotoxicity in intravenous exposed rats.  Toxicol. Path., In Press.
    12. Newton, T.L,. R. Fernandez-Botran, J.J. Miller, V. E. Burns.  2013.  Interleukin-6 and Soluble Interleukin-6 Receptor Levels in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder:  Associations with Lifetime Diagnostic Status and Psychological Context. Biol. Psych. In Press. 
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