Al Beitz, PhD
I have an extensive background working in the area of pain, neuroimmune interactions and acupuncture. We have utilized several models of acute and persistent pain to understand both the peripheral and central mechanisms involved in the generation and maintenance of chronic pain states. In particular, we have focused our efforts in elucidating the mechanisms underlying inflammatory, ischemic and cancer pain. Finally, our lab also has extensive experience with utilizing both manual and electroacupuncture in rodent models of pain, inflammation and hypertension.
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Gerard Cramer, DVM DVSc
Dr. Gerard Cramer has spent his whole life finding ways to work with dairy cows. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Gerard spent time running a dairy farm, owning a foot health specific veterinary practice and getting both a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Doctor of Veterinary Science degree from the University of Guelph. Joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2013, Gerard splits his time between educating veterinary and graduate students and doing foot health-related research. Current research projects include evaluating hoof trimming methods, the relationship between ketosis and antimicrobial resistance in hoof trimmers.
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James E. Collins, DVM, PhD, MS, DACVP
Research Interest: Anatomic pathology as it relates to infectious diseases, agriculture, public health and biomedical research.
Alice A. Larson, PhD
My research focuses on various aspects of pain transmission, especially that associated with musculoskeletal disorders such as fibromyalgia syndrome. Fibromyalgia is dramatically exacerbated by stress and diagnosed more than four times more frequently in females than in males. My most recent NIH grant focuses on determining whether stress hormones, like corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRF) or urocortins, cause musculoskeletal hyperalgesia in mice that is similar to that in fibromyalgia. Another direction that I have explored is the possibility that mast cells in the brain modulate pain transmission centrally as it is known to do peripherally.
Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD
Modiano Lab Research Emphasis: The focus of my laboratory has been to understand cell growth regulation in the context of cancer pathogenesis, fostering an environment that spans basic to translational research.
Cancer Genetics: As part of large, multi-institutional collaborations, we have documented breed-specific risk factors for canine lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, and osteosarcoma. We also have identified evolutionarily conserved, cancer-associated genomic changes cancer in humans and companion animals. Current efforts in this area are aimed at defining mechanisms responsible for cancer-specific mutations as well as conserved gene-environment interactions.
Cancer Immunology and Tumor-Microenvironment Interactions: It is now apparent that interactions between the tumor and its microenvironment are essential for tumor progression and tumor control. Our work is focused on understanding how altering specific components of the tumor microenvironment can respectively enhance tumor growth and survival or promote anti-tumor immunity, and thus delay or prevent progression and metastasis. Current efforts are aimed at understanding the role of innate immune factors in tumor engraftment and survival, as well as the contribution of stromal elements to the tumor immunosuppressive barrier.
Diagnostic Development: The extensive heterogeneity present within and among tumors presents a major contemporary challenge for effective cancer management. To overcome this, we have dedicated significant effort to develop robust schemes to classify tumors according to their biological behavior. We have used cellular, immunologic, and molecular tools, including genome-wide platforms and innovative bioinformatics, to design practical tests for tumor classification and monitoring. Several tests are the subject of patents and have been licensed for commercialization. Our ongoing work in this area seeks to improve on existing tests and on the development of new predictive biomarkers that will help clinicians tailor patient-specific treatment strategies.
Therapeutic development: We have taken advantage of the conserved molecular signatures in spontaneous tumors of domestic animals to test new and innovative, targeted therapies. These studies include target validation in the laboratory, as well as pre-clinical and clinical development in our tumor-bearing veterinary patient populations. Recent and ongoing trials include evaluation of (1) gene-based immunotherapy platforms, (2) genetically engineered, ligand-targeted toxins, (3) enhanced anti-tumor immunity through passive immunotherapy, (4) small molecules, and (5) targeted nanoparticles for gene delivery.
Research Interests: Improving total joint longevity, development of bone graft substitutes, the study of osteoclasts and bone graft incorporation, and the investigation of novel gene and immunotherapies for brain tumors.
Troy Trumble, DVM, PhD, MS
My research focuses on the translational study of the onset and progression of osteoarthritis. My long-term research goal is to use biomarkers of osteoarthritis as a means to establish an early diagnosis of osteoarthritis and to identify therapies that will slow its progression. Biomarkers are metabolic by-products of either newly formed or recently broken down components of the joint. They can be measured in joint fluid, blood and/or urine. I have also combined this technology with clinical measures of how horses bear weight when they have osteoarthritis. This is done via the use of a force plate. Results that can be obtained by combining these types of clinical and bench-top research can be used to help animals and humans with osteoarthritis.
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Jianming Wu, DVM, PhD
One of our research goals is to produce NK cells and other immune cells with enhanced functions for cellular immunotherapies. Human induced pluripotent stem cells and peripheral blood natural killer cells (NK cells) will be engineered to produce chimeric IgG receptors that bind to therapeutic antibodies with high affinity and mediate robust signals for immune cell functions. We are also working toward delineating the genetics and biological functions of human genes responsible for the development of chronic inflammatory diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, vasculitis, and Alzheimer’s disease) and infections. In addition, we are interested in identifying novel human neutrophil antigens and alloantibodies involved in transfusion-related diseases and other inflammatory diseases. Our future goals are to study the pathophysiological mechanisms of human acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and to identify biomarkers of ARDS.