Gern Laboratory Awarded NIH U19 Renewal Funding

James Gern, MD
James Gern, MD

Congratulations to James Gern, MD, and Co-Investigators, Christine Seroogy, MD, Anne Palmenberg, PhD, and Yury Bochkov, PhD, on the 5-year, $6.8 million renewal of U19 AI104317, funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID).  This cooperative agreement, "Viral and Environmental Determinants of Rhinovirus Illness Severity," focuses on the hypothesis that farming microbial exposures and unique patterns of microbial colonization in early life alter innate and T regulatory development, which lead to protection from viral respiratory illnesses and allergic diseases. To test this hypothesis, investigators at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute will follow ~ 200 current participants and enroll an additional 100 newborns from farm and non-farm families, who will be monitored with new technologies to better define early life microbial exposures and immune development. Based on established relationships with the Wisconsin Amish community, who have very low rates of allergic diseases, 50 Amish newborns will be recruited into the study as well. Dr. Palmenberg will continue with her groundbreaking studies of the molecular virology of rhinovirus-C. Goals include mapping the structure of the viral capsid and defining virus-receptor interactions.