G. Rafael Fernandez-Botran, Ph. D.

Associate Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

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
  • Post-Doctoral Education: 1985-1992 Department of Microbiology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.


Laboratory Team Members:

Jie Zhang, Research Assistant


Research Focus:

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:

  • Szabo YZ, Newton TL, Miller JJ, Lyle KB, Fernandez-Botran R. Acute stress induces increases in salivary IL-10 levels. Stress. 2016 Jul 21;PubMed PMID: 27353112.
  • Matheson PJ, Fernandez-Botran R, Smith JW, Matheson SA, Downard CD, et al. Association Between MC-2 Peptide and Hepatic Perfusion and Liver Injury Following Resuscitated Hemorrhagic Shock. JAMA Surg. 2016 Mar;151(3):265-72. PubMed PMID: 26559151.
  • Arnold FW, Bordon J, Fernandez-Botran R, Rane MJ, Uriarte SM, et al. Macrolide Use and Neutrophil Function/Cytokine Levels in Hospitalized Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia: A Pilot Study. Lung. 2016 Feb;194(1):155-62. PubMed PMID: 26553025.
  • Newton TL, Fernandez-Botran R. Promoting Health by Improving Subjective Sleep Quality? Reduction in Depressive Symptoms and Inflammation as Potential Mechanisms and Implications for Trauma-Exposed Persons. Front Psychiatry. 2016;7:76. PubMed PMID: 27199783; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4846648.
  • Bordon JM, Fernandez-Botran R, Wiemken TL, Peyrani P, Uriarte SM, et al. Bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia: clinical outcomes and preliminary results of inflammatory response. Infection. 2015 Dec;43(6):729-38. PubMed PMID: 26424683.
  • Fernandez-Botran R, Joshi-Barve S, Ghare S, Barve S, Young M, et al. Systemic cytokine and interferon responsiveness Patterns in HIV and HCV mono and co-infections. J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2014 Nov;34(11):885-93. PubMed PMID: 24955730; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4217006.
  • Fernandez-Botran R, Uriarte SM, Arnold FW, Rodriguez-Hernandez L, Rane MJ, et al. Contrasting inflammatory responses in severe and non-severe community-acquired pneumonia. Inflammation. 2014 Aug;37(4):1158-66. PubMed PMID: 24557760.
  • Newton TL, Fernandez-Botran R, Miller JJ, Burns VE. Interleukin-6 and soluble interleukin-6 receptor levels in posttraumatic stress disorder: associations with lifetime diagnostic status and psychological context. Biol Psychol. 2014 May;99:150-9. PubMed PMID: 24695006; NIHMSID: NIHMS588050; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4059765.
  • Bordon JM, Uriarte S, Arnold FW, Fernandez-Botran R, Rane M, et al. Cytokines and neutrophils responses in influenza pneumonia. Infection. 2013 Oct;41(5):1021-4. PubMed PMID: 23589279.
  • Fleming KN, Newton TL, Fernandez-Botran R, Miller JJ, Ellison Burns V. Intimate partner stalking victimization and posttraumatic stress symptoms in post-abuse women. Violence Against Women. 2012 Dec;18(12):1368-89. PubMed PMID: 23419275.
  • Bordon J, Aliberti S, Fernandez-Botran R, Uriarte SM, Rane MJ, Duvvuri P, Peyrani P, Morlacchi LC, Blasi F, Ramirez JA. Understanding the roles of cytokines and neutrophil activity and neutrophil apoptosis in the protective versus deleterious inflammatory response in pneumonia. International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. 2013; 17(2):e76-83.
  • Newton TL, Fernandez-Botran R, Miller JJ, Lorenz DJ, Burns VE, Fleming KN. Markers of inflammation in midlife women with intimate partner violence histories. Journal of women's health (2002). 2011; 20(12):1871-80.