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Email bdetrick@jhmi.edu
Phone (410) 614-3286

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Cytokine Laboratory

Barbara Detrick, Ph.D.

Director, Division of Immunology; Primary Appointment in Pathology; Joint Appointment in Molecular Microbiology & Immunology (BSPH)
Member, Graduate Program in Immunology; Member, Graduate Program in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (BSPH)

My research interests bridge basic research and translational research in the clinical Immunology Laboratory. My primary research goal is to study immune responses in the eye. More specifically, my group has explored the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell extensively as an important immunoregulatory and multifunctional ocular cell and tracked its role in ocular diseases. Over the last several years we have investigated innate immunity in the retina. RPE cells are key players in the first-line defense against invading organisms. TLRs are critical recognition receptors in the host defense against microbial pathogens and play pivotal role in innate immunity. Using real time PCR analysis, a variety of TLRs were discovered and shown to be up-regulated in human RPE cells. Moreover, TLR signaling in these cells generates several critical cytokines that impact a variety of pathologic processes within the eye. A key feature generated from these finding was that IFN-beta was shown to be immunosuppressive and inhibited selected experimental retinal diseases by down-regulating CXCL9 and ICAM-1 on retinal endothelial cells. These studies have now been extended to brain endothelial cells in experimental cerebral malaria. In addition, our laboratory has also developed a unique murine coronavirus model system, which identified for the first time how a virus can trigger a retinal degenerative process associated with an autoimmune component. Currently, this animal model has set the stage for developing standardized diagnostic methods to monitor retinal autoimmune reactivity in human retinal degenerative diseases.

More recently, my research efforts have also involved translational research and my laboratory is studying how cytokines regulate and modulate immune responses in selected immune based diseases. Specifically, we have been studying these molecules in vasculitis, infection and transplant rejection. Current efforts are focused on bringing together information concerning the role of cytokines in the development, progression and complications of these inflammatory conditions and in identifying their possible role as biomarkers of early inflammatory disease.


Hooks, J., Nagineni, C., Hooper, L., Hayashi, K., and Detrick, B.: IFN-beta Provides Immuno-protection in the Retina by Inhibiting ICAM-1 and CXCL9 in Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells. J. Immunol. 2008. 180 (6) 3789-96.

Detrick, B. and Hooks, J.J.: Immune Regulation in the Retina. Immunologic Research, 2010. 47: 153-161.

Nagineni, C.N., Kommineni, V.K., William, A., Hooks, J.J., and Detrick, B.: IL-11 expression in retinal and corneal cells is regulated by interferon-gamma. Biochem Biophy Res Com. 2010. 391: 287-292.

Morrell, C.N., Srivastava, K., Swaim, A., Lee, M.T., Chen, J., Nagineni, C., Hooks, J.J., Detrick, B.: Beta interferon suppresses the development of experimental cerebral malaria. Infect Immun. 2011. 79 (4): 1750-8.

Nagineni, CN, Kommineni, VK, William A, Detrick B and Hooks, JJ. Regulation of VEGF expression in human retinal cells by cytokines: Implications for the role of inflammation in age-related macular degeneration. J Cell Physiol. 2012. 227: 116-126.

Allen JG, Weiss MT, Arnaoutakis GJ, Shah AS, and Detrick B. Perioperative recipient cytokine levels are associated with early graft dysfunction in human lung transplantation. Ann Thorac Surg. 2012. 93(6): 1843-1849.


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