Principal Investigator

Deborah Fowell, Ph.D. University of Rochester work Box 609 601 Elmwood Ave Rochester NY 14642 office: KMRB 3-9641 p 585-273-3680

Honors & News

  • July 30, 2014

    Closing in on the immune system

    Most of the images that researchers use to help them understand the immune system are essentially snapshots. Despite advances in medical technology, the images don't show much activity, which limits researchers' understanding of how the immune system works.

    "A cell could seem like it's communicating with this other cell, but it's just there," says Deborah Fowell, University of Rochester associate professor of microbiology and immunology. "That really tells us nothing about how they interact in the tissue."

    But a study under way at the UR could lead to new imagining techniques that would allow clinicians to view the immune system in real time — while it's actively responding to an infection or fighting a disease.

  • July 18, 2014

    NIH Awards Team of U of R Scientists $9 Million to Study Immune System in Action

    Since the early days of Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb, Rochester-area innovators have been making astounding discoveries in optics and imaging. Researchers at the University of Rochester are beginning a major study that will add to the region's imaging expertise, while also advancing global understanding of how the body's immune system works.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a five-year, $9 million Research Program Project Grant (PO1) to scientists in the School of Medicine and Dentistry to adapt and develop cutting-edge imaging techniques, allowing them to view the immune system while it is fighting infection and disease.

  • June 14, 2013

    Deborah Fowell Wins Provost’s Multidisciplinary Award

    Five diverse research projects at the University were selected as recipients of the sixth annual Provost's Multidisciplinary Awards. The initiative provides $250,000 each year to support faculty research that crosses disciplines. Among the recipients were Microbiology and CVBI associate professor, Deborah Fowell, in collaboration with Jane Sottile (Medicine, Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute) for their project entitled, Extracellular Matrix Composition As A Critical Regulator of The Immune Response.

  • February 16, 2012

    As Diabetes Emerges, Researchers Track Disease’s First Steps

    Scientists have taken a remarkably detailed look at the initial steps that occur in the body when type 1 diabetes mellitus first develops in a child or young adult. The analysis comes from a team of researchers and physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center who have expertise both in the laboratory and in treating patients. The team studied children from ages 8 to 18 within 48 hours of their diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.

    The trend is noticeable to pediatrician Nicholas Jospe, M.D., chief of Pediatric Endocrinology at Golisano Children's Hospital of the University of Rochester Medical Center, and his colleagues nationwide. His group now sees about 90 new cases of type 1 diabetes per year, compared to approximately 25 annually 20 years ago.

    Every day, at the eastern end of the medical center, Jospe counsels families and children coping with the condition. At the same time, in a labyrinth of laboratories situated nearly half a mile to the west under the same roof, immunologists like Deborah J. Fowell, Ph.D., use an array of high-tech equipment to interrogate the likes of T-cells and macrophages for answers about the workings of the immune system.

  • May 11, 2009

    Autoimmunity Center of Excellence Recharged with New Funding

    Earlier this month, the University of Rochester Medical Center again became one of only nine institutions nationwide to receive a new wave of National Institutes of Health dollars designed to pave inroads into unraveling – and treating – autoimmune diseases.

    In 2003, a similar endeavor to establish nine Autoimmunity Centers of Excellence (or ACEs) – which would supercharge research into conditions like lupus, diabetes (type 1), multiple sclerosis and some types of arthritis – also targeted URMC. Together with Duke University and the University of California, San Francisco, Rochester's is among only three of the original ACEs to be refunded, receiving at least $5 million over the next five years, and possibly more if supplementary money is awarded for additional trials.

    Historically, URMC has been a powerful player in the field of immunology, with researchers knee-deep in deciphering the inner workings of the immune system, and in hot pursuit of new ways to manufacture vaccines. But according to Ignacio Sanz, M.D., chief of the division of Allergy/Immunology & Rheumatology at URMC, and also principal investigator for URMC's ACE, it's also possible the broad-reaching nature of the proposed projects was a key factor in the Rochester center's renewal.

    Our studies will focus on fundamental questions – namely, how immune cells, like B and T cells, are mis-regulated, confusing the body into attacking its own tissues, Sanz said. What we learn is likely to illuminate research across the whole spectrum of similar diseases.

  • February 6, 2009

    $1.9M to Help Explore Why Lupus Therapies Work for Some, Not Others

    Bolstered by a five-year, $1.9 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health, Jennifer Anolik, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine and of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, plans to probe why certain targeted therapies prove effective for some lupus patients, but not others.

    Working with Anolik on the study are Jane Liesveld, M.D., professor of Medicine and professor at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center; Deborah Fowell, Ph.D., associate professor of Microbiology and Immunology; and Frances Lund, Ph.D., professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy/Immunology and Rheumatology.

Recent Publications