G. Rafael Fernandez-Botran, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

511 South Floyd Street 502-852-5375 Email Dr. Fernandez-Botran

Graduate School:
University of Kansas Medical Center, 1985, Ph.D.

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

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 inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Analysis of synergistic mechanisms contributing to the pathology of HCV in HIV-infected women. Chronic infection with HCV is not only very common in HIV-infected individuals, but a major factor of morbidity and mortality in this population. Co-infection with HIV and HCV leads to a much more rapid progression of liver fibrosis to cirrhosis compared to individuals infected with HCV alone. The relationship between immune responses to HIV and HCV and the causes for the faster progression of liver disease in co-infected individuals are not well understood. The goal of these studies is to evaluate the signaling and response to type I IFN in PBMC of HIV/HCV co-infected as well as HCV and HIV mono-infected individuals.

Research Interests and Publications: