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Our physicians are at the forefront of research on a wide range of topics, working in the laboratory and at the patient’s bedside to identify underlying causes and discover better treatments.
Researcher Dorina Avram, PhD collaborates with Albany Med Faculty Physicians from the Neurology department here at Albany Medical Center, including Dr. Allen Gerber and Dr. James Wymer. Together, the team of experts focuses on research related to multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Avram's lab interest is in immune regulation and its dysfunction in autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis. Effector CD4+ T cells play a critical role in MS and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the mouse model for MS.
She found that if she increased plasticity of effector CD4+ T cells during EAE, by expression of alternative lineage cytokines and transcription factors, EAE was highly ameliorated, despite the fact that the pathological cytokines are still produced by effector CD4+ T cells.
She deciphered the mechanism responsible for EAE amelioration and found that it was caused by diverted migration of effector cells away from the central nervous system. Dr. Avram's studies demonstrate that an increase in plasticity of effector CD4+ T cells affects migration, which is a critical component of the immune response and can impact dramatically the outcome of immune response, including those implicated in diseases.
Dr. Avram is further investigating and designing procedures to therapeutically divert immune pathological cells away from CNS to treat MS. Other directions of research in Avram's lab are investigating ubiquitin ligases with role in effector CD4+ T cells in MS and EAE and developing therapies based on these molecules.