AAAAI Foundation
Funding research that leads to the prevention and cure of asthma and allergic and immunologic disease
What We Do

Interview with Jeffrey Wilson, MD PhD

What is the goal of your research?

Current work focuses on antibody responses to food allergens, with a particular interest in understanding mechanisms and health implications of IgE to alpha-gal. The approach is multi-faceted and includes epidemiological, clinical and mechanistic investigations, the connection between alpha-gal sensitization and tick bites is an area of ongoing interest, as is the "glycolipid hypothesis" as a putative explanation for the unusual delay that occurs between meat ingestion and symptom onset. We are also investigating connections between IgE to alpha-gal and conditions not traditionally associated with allergic disease - namely coronary artery disease and isolated gastrointestinal symptoms that might be labelled as irritable bowel syndrome.

What made you decide to go into medical research?

I got involved in medical research as an undergraduate and have found myself pulled back to it anytime I ventured too far away.

What are your future research and career goals?

Continue to do collaborative research that pushes our field forward and helps our patients.

How has / will the Faculty Development Award helped you in your career?

In the face of the usual setbacks that seem to befall most junior investigators, the award has been a welcome affirmation of my work to date. The award has also provided a funding foundation that makes it easier to focus on today’s research and tomorrow’s NIH grant application.

Who are your mentors?

My chief and chief mentor is Tom Platts-Mills. I am grateful for the opportunities and support I have had since joining the UVA allergy group, initially as a fellow and now as junior faculty. Before finding allergy there were many mentors along the way - my PhD advisor Peter Ernst, my undergraduate mentor Richard Mailman, and many others, including some fantastically smart and creative scientists I worked with during a few years in biotech.


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