Charles A Parkos, MD, PhD

Biography

Charles A Parkos, MD, PhD

Email: cparkos@emory.edu

Research Interests:  - Pathobiology of leukocyte interactions with mucosal epithelia

Studies in my lab are focused on two areas including the molecular basis of interactions between leukocytes and mucosal epithelia and how such interactions regulate the function of epithelial cells. Specifically, we are exploring how epithelial cells respond to migrating innate immune cells (neutrophils) and on defining the proteins that regulate transmigration of leukocytes across mucosal surfaces that line organs in the gastrointestinal tract and lung. We are particularly interested in the nature of epithelial counterreceptors for migrating neutrophils. Indeed, our recent observations point to a growing importance for a family of transmembrane intercellular junction adhesion molecules termed JAMs that have been shown to function in the maintenance of epithelial barrier and serve as receptors for both migrating leukocytes and viral pathogens. The functional biology of these recently described receptors is just becoming appreciated where we have combined our expertise in epithelial cells and structural/molecular biology to elucidate structure-function relationships in JAMs. We are also studying factors that regulate how fast leukocytes migrate through tissues by modeling how microbial products that activate Toll-like receptors and chemotactic receptors regulate leukocyte transepithelial migration. Our results have linked control of the rate of leukocyte migration to signaling events that occur after ligation of a cell surface protein termed CD47 by its receptor signal regulatory protein alpha (SIRPalpha). These studies directed at understanding the molecular basis of mucosal inflammation have begun to provide new ideas for anti-inflammatory strategies that are tissue-specific and the opportunity for many collaborative interactions