Inflammation Biology

Inflammation Biology and Surgical Science lab group

The UF Department of Surgery’s Laboratory of Inflammation Biology and Surgical Science focuses on the role of innate immunity and its inflammatory mediators (cytokines) in the host response to severe trauma and burn injury, and Gram negative bacteremia.  These studies, initiated in the early 1980’s, have examined the contributions that proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFa and IL-1, chemokines, adrenergic mediators and regulatory nucleic acids make to the host responses to nonlethal and lethal injury and  infections. An inappropriate innate immune response appears to contribute to a variety of pathologic states, including endotoxic shock, ARDS, ischemia-reperfusion injury, delayed wound healing, and viral hepatitis.

In recent years, the laboratory has shifted its focus to concentrate less on inflammatory mediators and more on the cell populations that regulate the communication between the innate and acquired immune responses. Greater emphasis has been placed on understanding the inter-cellular communication between antigen presenting cells and effector cells of the acquired immune response, particularly regarding the processes that may explain inflammation-induced cell death, and the role of cytokines and caspases in initiating this process, and NF-KB in antagonizing caspase-dependent apoptosis.  Research has focused on dysregulated myelopoiesis and lymphopoiesis in the host pathologic responses.

The Laboratory was created in 1995 by Lyle L. Moldawer, Ph.D., Professor of Surgery. Since its inception, the laboratory has been continuously funded by the NIH.   In more recent years, the laboratory has participated in a Large Scale Collaborative Research Program (Glue Grant) aimed at utilizing functional genomics and high-throughput proteomics to better identify and predict the subset of severely traumatized and burned patients that will go on to develop sepsis and multisystem organ failure. Based on the successes of the Human Genome Project, the program aims to understand, at a genomic and transcriptomic level, the diversity of the broad genomic response to human traumatic injury and bacterial infections.

New CCI PICS figure

Most recently, the acute care surgery team, under the direction of principle investigator Fred Moore, MD, was awarded a National Institutes of Health P50 center grant to establish the UF Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center to study the persistent inflammation, immunosuppression and catabolism syndrome (PICS) following sepsis in surgical intensive care unit patients.  In 2019, leadership of the Laboratory was passed to Philip A. Efron, M.D., F.A.C.S. who first demonstrated the expansion of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in sepsis and trauma patients, and showed a significant correlation between MDSC appearance and adverse clinical outcomes.  To this day, the Laboratory utilizes cutting edge molecular biology approaches to understand the underlying mechanism that drive the development of CCI/PICS.

The Laboratory works closely with other Department faculty members on this research, including Ali Zarrinpar, M.D., Ph.D. in the Division of Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery. Collaborators outside the department include Azra Bihorac, M.D., M.S.C.S. in the Department of Medicine, and Christiaan Leeuwenburgh Ph.D. in the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research.

The laboratory focuses primarily on translational biology and conducts research at all levels.There is also a strong commitment to training and education, focusing on the graduate and post-graduate training of students, M.D.’s and Ph.D. scientists in inflammation-related translational research. Funded by the NIGMS, Dr. Moldawer and the Laboratory has a T32 training program for M.D.’s interested in pursuing a multi-year training program in molecular genetics of inflammation biology.  In addition, a limited number of other postdoctoral and predoctoral fellowships are available.

Contact Information:

Laboratory of Inflammation Biology and Surgical Science
Department of Surgery
University of Florida College of Medicine
UF Health Shands Hospital, Room 6116
1600 SW Archer Road
P.O. Box 100019
Gainesville, FL 32610-0019
P: (352) 265-0494
F: (352) 265-0676