Group Leader: Professor Karl T. Kelsey
Laboratory Director: Dr. Rondi Butler
Research in the lab has long focused upon numerous aspects of chronic disease and cancer, specifically with a recent interest in further understanding the immunological contributors to this diverse spectrum of diseases. This work has evolved from our early studies of environmental disease and the mechanisms responsible for gene-environment interaction and genetic susceptibility to chronic occupational and environmental disease. As a result of our recent work in epigenetics, the lab has collaboratively developed methods to interrogate the immune profile in peripheral blood. This work, in addition to allowing for eliminating potential confounding by differing numbers of normal blood cells, has set the stage for further enumerating less common, but perhaps even more important, clonal immune cells. This application takes this concept and formalizes it by applying DNA methylation analysis to interrogate specific immune components of the leukocyte mixture, allowing us to study the association of particular immune profiles with different cancers in both case-control and prospective study design settings. We are currently funded to discover immune-related biomarkers that signal an immune response early in the cancer disease process.