Hale Awarded 5-Year Grant for Thymus Studies

Laura Hale, MD PhD Awarded 5-Year Grant for Thymus Studies

Laura Hale, MD PhD has received a five-year grant award through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as part of a program project to determine mechanisms that control distinct growth and functional characteristics of the perinatal and adult thymus. The program includes 3 separate research projects supported by 3 cores that provide services required by all projects. The research projects will use genetically engineered and wild type mouse models to assess changes in gene expression in non-thymocyte components of the thymus between the perinatal period (soon after birth) when the thymus is growing versus later time periods where the thymus either remains the same or is shrinking. Dr. Hale will lead the Human Thymus Core that will provide each research project with comparative data derived from single cell RNA sequencing of epithelial, stromal, and antigen presenting cells from human thymus. The overall program project is led by Dr. Ellen Ritchie at the University of Texas - MD Anderson Cancer Center. Other principal investigators include Drs. Nancy Manley (University of Georgia) and Lauren Ehrlich (University of Texas – Austin). Drs. Gregory Sempowski and Andrew Macintyre in the Duke Human Vaccine Institute will also participate in this project.

Since 1995, Dr. Hale has served as Principal Investigator or co-investigator on over 30 NIH-, DOD-, and privately funded grants that studied mechanisms and novel therapies for immune-mediated diseases. This new program complements her ongoing work relating to mechanisms of thymus aging, thymus reconstitution after injury, and immune system establishment or regeneration via implantation of cultured thymus tissue (thymus transplantation).