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University of Rochester Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology Center of Excellence

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

The University of Rochester WAO Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology Center of Excellence is a multidisciplinary group dedicated to providing excellence in patient care, basic and clinical research, innovations in health care delivery, and both professional and patient education. 

The clinical training program in Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology includes both Adult and Pediatric Allergy Immunology Divisions and multiple additional subspecialties. Collectively the following teams of providers and educators provides an integrated network dedicated to making sure patients achieve the best possible outcomes and trainees the best possible education in a caring and collaborative environment.

  • The Allergy and Clinical Immunology Fellowship, founded in 1961, has trained 65 fellows in Allergy and Immunology.   Clinics in adult and pediatric Allergy Immunology provide care for all aspects of Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology as well as specialty clinics in food allergy, eosinophilic esophagitis, and immunodeficiency. (R. John Looney, Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo, Jessica Stern, Jeanne Lomas, Puja Sood Rajani, Jennifer Barnas, Stephen Rosenfeld, Eric Dreyfuss)
  • The Pulmonary and Critical Care Division of Medicine and the Pulmonary Division of Pediatrics provide comprehensive care for asthma including a severe asthma program and the Mary Parkes Asthma Center. (Steve Georas, Sandhya Khurana, Augusto A. Litonjua, Karen Voter).
  • The Dermatology Department provides care for atopic dermatitis and chronic urticaria with expertise in clinical trials and patient-reported outcome (PROs) measures as part of routine clinical care. (Lisa A. Beck and Julie R. Wolf)
  • The Otolaryngology Department provides subspecialty programs in chronic rhinosinusitis, laryngeal dysfunction, and pediatrics. (Xi-Ling Man, John W. Ingle, John J. Faria, Margo Benoit)
  • Ophthalmology provides specialty care for Cornea and External Disease (Rachel Wozniak, Naveen Mysore)
  • The Gastroenterology Divisions of Medicine and Pediatrics provide expertise in eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease (Esther N. Prince, Danielle Marino)

The research program for the Rochester WAO Center of Excellence includes 4 broad areas: 1. prevention of atopic diseases and asthma, 2. basic and clinical laboratory studies, 3. clinical trials, and 4. innovations in health care delivery. 

  • Dr. Järvinen-Seppo’s research interests focus on development of the infant microbiome and immune system, and how that relates to development of allergic diseases such as food allergies and atopic eczema. In particular, the research program is assessing the development of infant immune system in populations at different risk for allergic diseases such as the Old Order Mennonite community of Western New York and atopic families in Rochester. Her research laboratory is developing assays to measure the development of mucosal and systemic immunity and to characterize immunomodulatory factors in breast milk and the mechanisms how breast milk can impact the gut microbiome and immune cells. She is director of the Rochester FARE Center (Food Allergy Research and Education Center) and of the food allergy clinical trials program.
  • Dr. Lisa Beck is an internationally recognized expert in atopic dermatitis. Her laboratory research is on the epithelial tight junction defects at the molecular level in atopic dermatitis, and she lead a clinical trials program on the use of biologics for atopic dermatitis or chronic urticaria and was the lead author for the first trial of dupilumab for treatment of atopic dermatitis. She has been Co-Investigator of the NIH/NIAID-funded Atopic Dermatitis Research Network (ADRN) since 2004, which has amassed the largest registry of deeply phenotyped Atopic Dermatitis subjects in the world.
  • Dr. Litonjua is investigating factors that increase or decrease the risk of developing asthma, wheezing, and allergic disorders in childhood. He co-led a clinical trial of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy to prevent asthma in the offspring. 
  • Dr. Georas is studying how the lung’s immune system responds to inhaled particles, allergens and viruses, and how this process breaks down in asthma leading to deleterious immune responses that cause allergic airway inflammation. His laboratory uses both animal models and human respiratory epithelial cultures to determine the pathways involved in barrier function and activation of innate and adaptive immunity. He is chairing steering committee for the NIH Precision Interventions for Severe and/or Exacerbation Prone Asthma (PrecISE) Network.
  • Dr. Halterman partners with the Rochester community to conduct clinical trials designed to improve the delivery of care to underserved children with asthma.  Her school-based asthma program is now being replicated at several sites across the country.  Her current research projects expand upon her community-based asthma research program, using technology to promote sustainability in collaboration with both specialists and primary care providers.
  • Dr. Looney’s research interests have included the initial description and characterization of human FcγRIIa, the initial reports of the effects of CMV on the immune system in aging and rheumatoid arthritis, the development of new B cell targeting therapies for autoimmunity, and the evaluation of immunocompetency in aging and in patients on biologic therapies. He is now working on understanding immune development in the Old Order Mennonites, a population at low risk for allergies, on the role of interferon β in SLE, and on the imprinting of mesenchymal stem cells in inflammatory diseases.
  • Dr. Wolf’s research has focused on elucidating the potential physical and psychosocial factors that influence the frequency and severity of patient-reported outcomes and clinical outcomes, with a particular focus on skin reactions, pain, anxiety, and itch. She is currently evaluating the “real life” impact of two FDA approved topical anti-inflammatory treatments on patient-reported outcomes and caregiver burden in children and adolescents with atopic dermatitis. This study will provide valuable insight into how treatment of a chronic disease affects patients, their families, and compliance to therapy. Dr. Wolf has established using patient-reported outcome measures (PROMIS) as part of routine clinical care in dermatology to more objectively monitor disease activity and treatment responses.

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