News and events

Click here for previous years: 2019

For news also check out the laboratory’s FaceBook page maintained by Kayla:


12/02/2020. A new publication of our laboratory at UGA and colleagues at the Emory Cystic Fibrosis Center appeared online today. This work describes a new autoantibody in cystic fibrosis patients that targets human DNA as an antigen. Our finding adds a new observation to the growing list of autoantibodies reported in cystic fibrosis and further emphasizes a potential, underappreciated autoimmune component of the disease. This manuscript is the second paper by Ruchi, a postdoctoral fellow who has been working with us for three years, 2017-2020. Here is the link to the paper in PubMed if interested:


10/26/2020. We were fortunate today to host a collaborator from Emory University, Dina Moustafa. Dina is a research scientist in the Goldberg Laboratory at the Emory University and an excellent collaborator on the cystic fibrosis project. The purpose of her visit at UGA was to teach us a new experimental technique. Once she arrived, she was introduced to the laboratory and to the team. Following pizza for lunch, Dina introduced the entire team to this new method. Before leaving, Dina had a chance to walk around on UGA South Campus and to see the AHRC, Coverdell and Vaccine Center buildings.

Dina UGA visit 2

Dina UGA visit 1

09/08/2020. The review article titled “Regulator of G protein signaling 10: Structure, expression and functions in cellular physiology and diseases” has just been published in Cellular Signaling and appeared online.   This excellent work by Faris provides a timely summary of the current knowledge on RGS10 and its proposed roles in different diseases.

08/04/2020. We have just published an article about the antimicrobial effect of hypothiocyanite, a natural compound produced in the airways, against Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus), a bacterial pathogen that is a major causative agent of pneumonia. This work has been a productive, collaborative effort with Larry McDaniel at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The published results provide “proof-of-concept” data about hypothiocyanite as an efficient killer of pneumococcus in vitro. Our ongoing studies funded by the NIH are exploring whether hypothiocyanite is also effective in vivo against pneumococcus.


05/20/2020. Today was the last day of Ruchi working in the laboratory. She worked for almost 3 years as a postdoctoral fellow as part of our team. Ruchi established several new assays, laid down the foundation for the CF autoimmunity project and was key in our collaborative efforts with the Emory CF Center. She trained and oversaw several undergraduate researchers and worked together with several other lab members. Ruchi was fun to work with and she will be missed. Good luck to your next professional chapter of your life!

04/22/2020. The receipt of two recent NIH grants awarded to us and our collaborators studying innate immunity in influenza and pneumococcus infections has been advertised on the web site of our college at UGA: link.

04/14/2020. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has decided to fund our pilot and feasibility grant proposal on autoimmunity in CF-related diabetes, a collaborative work with our colleagues at the Emory CF Center!

04/07/2020. Kayla is one of the two departmental graduate students who have made the 3MT (three minute theses) finals this year at UGA! This year’s competition has moved online. Please join us today (Tuesday, April 7th) at 7:30 pm to view this year’s finalists and to vote for the People’s Choice winner:


03/25/2020. Kayla has been accepted to become a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Congratulations!

03/17/2020. Both, the AAI 2020 and NOX GRC 2020 conferences were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. UGA will also suspend non-essential research activities by the end of this week for uncertain time period.

03/11/2020. Balazs will be co-hosting a Special Interest Group Satellite session titled “Maladaptive Host-Pathogen Responses and Autoimmunity in Airway Diseases” at the Society of Leukocyte Biology’s annual meeting (SLB 2020) in September in Portland, Oregon with Dr. Lael Yonker MD. Lael is a pediatric pulmonologist and the Director the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. The program has just been made available online. Come and attend our session and the SLB 2020 meeting if you are interested in recent advances in leukocyte research including neutrophil biology.

Link to meeting flyer.

03/04/2020. Demba has just received the final word on the approval of his promotion to Associate Research Scientist. Congratulations! His new position will start July 1, 2020.

Demba promotion 1
Demba in action at the bench!

03/03/2020. NIH awarded our team a new R21 grant today to study the role of an airway epithelial oxidative antimicrobial system in Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. This project is a collaborative effort with the group of Dr. Larry McDaniel at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The work is funded for two years to learn about the mechanism by which reactive oxygen species produced by the respiratory epithelium are capable of killing pneumococcus.

Spn EM
Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. Transmission electron micrograph prepared by the UGA Electron Microscopy Facility. Bacterial samples were prepared by Aaron Gingerich and Rachel Thomason for microscopy.

03/02/2020. This week the departmental seminar speaker was again our guest, Dr. Albert van der Vliet from the University of Vermont. He presented his great story on the role of Dual oxidases in pulmonary defense and beyond.

Albert van der Vliet UGA visit

02/28/2020. The team celebrated the new funding of an R01 grant by NIH!

R01 celebration web1R01 celebration web2R01 celebration web3

02/25/2020. Since our laboratory will be attending and presenting, we would like to help the organizers advertise the “NOX Enzymes in Cellular Communication and Metabolism in Health and Disease” conference that will be held May 31-June 5 in Waterville Valley, NH, USA. This NOX Gordon Research Conference brings together scientists from diverse disciplines at this premier forum to discuss state-of-the-art research in this field in a highly collegial, collaborative, and informal atmosphere. The 2020 NOX GRC focuses on innovative and paradigm-challenging topics, presented by internationally recognized experts and followed by ample time for discussions coordinated by expert discussion leaders. Topics covered at the 2020 NOX GRC include: structure/functional aspects of NOX enzymes, novel modes of NOX regulation, functional interactions with ion channels and other redox enzymes and redox-sensitive protein targets, and newly emerging interactions of NOX with cell metabolism. The meeting will also cover new translational studies addressing the involvement of NOX in chronic inflammatory diseases and metabolic diseases such as cancer, and recent progress with development of NOX-selective inhibitors. Keynote lectures by highly esteemed scientists will highlight the unique and prominent role of NOX enzymes in the broader field of redox biology.

GRC Advertising Flyer NOX2020

02/25/2020. Demba taught a class this morning as part of UGA’s “Introduction to Africa” course (AFST 2100) at the Miller Learning Center. Demba talked about major infectious diseases of the African continent: AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The students enjoyed the lecture and asked many questions.

02/24/2020. The invited speaker of the departmental seminar today was Dr. Arlene Stecenko from Emory University. Arlene is our collaborator at the Emory Cystic Fibrosis Center in Atlanta on two NIH-funded grants related to airway inflammation in CF. Arlene’s talk focused on the large picture of CF airway disease, inflammation and infection. She also talked to local faculty and discussed ongoing and future collaborations.

Stecenko UGA visit

Arlene visit 2
Lab meeting
Arlene visit 1
data discussion in smaller teams
Arlene UGA visit 3
Arlene gives a talk about infection and inflammation in cystic fibrosis

02/21/2010. Rachel got accepted to medical school! Congratulations!

02/19/2020. A new Epoch2 microplate spectrophotometer from BioTek and a connected,  brand new laptop computer have been set up today in the laboratory. On site training was also provided. This new instrument replaces the old Eon microplate reader (also from BioTek) that has been used for 8 years, generated tons of results for publications and research theses. The new instrument will be mainly used for ELISA measurements and bacterial killing assays.

02/17/2020. Ruchi can be seen in a  YouTube video featuring the great pharmaceutical science performed by the nearby UGA College of Pharmacy. Ruchi received her PhD degree there.

02/03/2020. Dr. William Nauseef from the University of Iowa visited UGA to give a seminar on the fate of human neutrophils phagocytosing Staphylococcus aureus bacteria as part of the department’s weekly seminar series. He also provided excellent feedback to several of the laboratory’s projects and participated in great discussions.

Nauseef UGA visit


01/27/2020. Demba has been awarded the Global Research Collaboration Grant sponsored by the Office of Research and the Office of Global Engagement at the University of Georgia. This seed grant program provides funds for Demba to establish  and strengthen his malaria-related work across the Atlantic with collaborators in Africa.

Congratulations Demba!

01/21/2020. The article titled “NK cells clear α-synuclein and the depletion of NK cells exacerbates synuclein pathology in a mouse model of α-synucleinopathy” published by Dr. Jae-Kyung Lee’s group at the nearby UGA Department of Physiology and Pharmacology appeared online today in PNAS. Our team provided human NK cells and the general innate immunity expertise for this exciting, collaborative project. Congratulations Rachael and Jamise!

01/10/2020. Fayhaa has been  awarded the 2020 Spring CURO Research Assistantship by the UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. This is the second time for her as she received this award in the 2019 summer semester, as well!

Congratulations, Fayhaa!

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