Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity
- Patient Recruitment
- COVID-19 Research Recruitment Flyer
ETSU and VA collecting blood samples for COVID-19 research
**Update (August 10, 2020)**
The Institutional Review Board has approved recruitment among patients who are greater than 14 days from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
JOHNSON CITY (August 3, 2020) – East Tennessee State University and the James H. Quillen
Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home are seeking patients who have recovered
from COVID-19 to donate a sample of their blood to be used for current and future
“We want to recruit as many recovered patients as possible who are willing to donate to our biorepository,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, principal investigator and division chief of infectious, inflammatory and immunologic diseases at ETSU Health. “People who give us their blood are giving us an opportunity to see what a successful immune response to this virus looks like. We need to look at these successes to discover how to treat and prevent the disease in others.”
To qualify for the research study, participants must be at least 18 years old, be in recovery for more than six weeks from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, sign an informed consent form, submit to a blood draw, and answer a few health-related questions. Participants do not need to be a veteran to participate. The typical appointment takes less than 30 minutes, and participants will receive a $25 Walmart gift card. In addition, they will receive the results of a free COVID-19 antibody test.
All of the blood samples will become part of a biorepository, which is a storage bank of cellular material that is frozen and cryopreserved to use at a later time. The biorepository is housed at the VA.
One blood sample can be used for a myriad of current and future research studies. For example, cellular material from the biorepository is currently being used in a study by Dr. Zhi Q. Yao, professor in the ETSU Department of Internal Medicine and director of both the Center of Excellence for HIV/AIDS and the Hepatitis (HCV/HIV) Program, Department of Veterans Affairs.
Yao’s study, which was recently funded by the American Diabetes Association, explores the impact that COVID-19 and diabetes have on each other.
“Dr. Yao’s study is one of the first to utilize the new biorepository, and there will be many more to come,” Moorman said. “Participants who donate are giving a gift that can be vastly multiplied.”
For further details or to set up an appointment to discuss participation in the research study, contact James L. Adkins, clinical research coordinator, at 423-430-2443.
Dr. Valentin Yakubenko’s research is selected as Leading Edge Research publication
in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology
Dr. Valentin Yakubenko, Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, his graduate students, and colleagues recently published the paper “The expression of integrin αDβ2 (CD11d/CD18) on neutrophils orchestrates the defense mechanism against endotoxemia and sepsis” in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.
In this study, authors evaluated the role of a leukocyte adhesive receptor, integrin αDβ2, in the development of acute inflammation. The authors found that αDβ2 has protective functions during acute inflammation, since αD-knockout dramatically increases mortality in the cecal ligation and puncture sepsis model and LPS-induced endotoxemia. Specifically, researchers were surprised to note that the injection of WT neutrophils to the bloodstream of αD-/- mice improved the accumulation of macrophages in the tissue and dramatically reduced mortality after LPS challenge. The authors conclude that the expression of integrin αDβ2 on the surface on neutrophils is critical for the protective mechanism that is generated by monocyte-derived macrophages.
Based on the merit of work, the editorial board selected this publication for the Frontline Science Section. It is featured as ‘Leading Edge Research’ in the table of contents and includes an editorial to provide readers with greater insight into the significance of author’s findings.
Dr. Yakubenko said, “neutrophil-macrophage interplay is a fine-tuning mechanism that regulates the innate immune response during infection and inflammation. We were thrilled to find that macrophage migration during endotoxemia is directly regulated by the expression of integrin αDβ2 on neutrophils. We predict that the same effect may occur during other acute inflammatory diseases and, therefore, a regulation of αDβ2 expression on neutrophils may represent new important inflammation-related mechanisms. We still do not know exactly how αDβ2 regulates this process, but we have several hypotheses which we are testing right now. We hope to decipher this mechanism soon.”
The CIIDI congratulates Dr. Yakubenko and his team on the publication of these exciting new findings.
The expression of integrin αDβ2 (CD11d/CD18) on neutrophils orchestrates the defense mechanism against endotoxemia and sepsisWilliam P. Bailey*, Kui Cui*, Christopher L. Ardell*, Kasey R. Keever*, Sanjay Singh*, Diego J. Rodriguez-Gil*, Tammy R. Ozment†,\, David L. Williams†,\, Valentin P. Yakubenko*,\,
*Department of Biomedical Sciences, †Department of Surgery, \Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity, Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University.
ETSU scientist co-authors an international paper in Nature Immunology focusing on trained immunity
Dr. David L. Williams (above, left) was one of forty-four scientists from around the world who contributed to a paper that was published in Nature Immunology in January, 2021. This group of international experts in immunology and infectious disease published a consensus document clarifying how trained immunity differs from other immunological processes, including priming, immune tolerance, and differentiation.
Trained immunity is a new and exciting concept in immunology. Innate immune training is an adaptation of innate host defense mechanisms that is also called innate immune memory. Training the innate immune system results in metabolic reprogramming of leukocytes and increased responsiveness to primary and secondary infections.
Dr. Williams of ETSU Quillen College of Medicine and Dr. Edward Sherwood (above right) of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who was also a co-author on the paper, are currently co-Principal Investigators on an NIH funded research grant that focuses on trained immunity as a new approach to the management of sepsis in the critically ill patient.
Dr. Williams is the Carroll H. Long Professor of Surgery and a co-Director of the Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease, and Immunity (CIIDI). Dr. Sherwood is Vice Chair and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Sherwood is also a member of the ETSU Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease, and Immunity.
Treatment with glucan “trains” the innate immune system to elicit augmented broad-spectrum response to infection.
Dr. Tammy Ozment Awarded Equipment Grant by NIGMS
Tammy Ozment, DVM, PhD, Associate Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery, has been awarded a grant by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health. The Equipment Supplement Requisition in the amount of $59,900 was awarded to purchase a Mesoscale Quick Plex SQ 120mm Reader.
The Meso Scale Discovery (MSD) Quick Plex instrument uses enhanced chemiluminescent (ECL) detection to allow the user to utilize smaller amounts of sample with differing concentrations on one plate. The combination of rapid read times and the ability to perform multiple, simultaneous tests on a single sample increases productivity, saves sample, and delivers results quickly. The instrument is accompanied by MSD’s Discovery Workbench, which is a Windows application that stores both current and historical plate data, analyzes results, and presents results. MSD develops, manufactures, and markets biological assays for use in drug discovery, therapeutic screening, and life science research. Potential users may purchase assay kits from MSD.
The instrument is located in VA Building 119 and will be available for use on a fee-for-service basis to help defray maintenance costs. For more information, contact Dr. Tammy Ozment at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bridgette Graves at email@example.com.