James E. Gern, MD
Position title: PROFESSOR
Phone: (608) 263-6201, (608) 263-6180
Box 9988 Clinical Science Center
600 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53792
Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
Areas of interest in the Gern laboratory include the biology of rhinoviruses, determining how rhinoviruses contribute to exacerbations of asthma, and relationships between host immune responses, environmental factors, and the development of allergies and asthma. These studies include two birth cohort studies and a consortium of 12 birth cohort studies to identify environmental factors that contribute to asthma. These studies have provided evidence that rhinoviruses and bacteria in the airway both contribute to the risk of respiratory illnesses and effects on asthma. Dr. Gern is conducting complementary studies to identify mechanisms of bacterial and viral effects on airway epithelial cells in vitro. Drs. Gern and Palmenberg have worked together to develop the first in vitro culture models for rhinovirus-C types, identified CDHR3 as the cellular receptor for RV-C, and have shown that polymorphisms in CDHR3 modify the risk for RV-C infections and illnesses in children resulting in 10 co-publications over the past 5 years alone. The basic science project is led by Dr. Ann Palmenberg (UW Institute for Molecular Virology), who is working to define virus-receptor interactions for rhinovirus-C species viruses. Dr. Kirsten Kloepfer, a recent postdoctoral fellow in the Gern laboratory, published a seminal paper identifying interactions between RV and bacteria in determining the risk for respiratory illness (Kloepfer et al, J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017, PMID: 28327377), one of five of her first authorship papers from the Gern lab. She is now an Assistant Professor at Indiana University. Dr. Gern’s lab is supported by multiple grants from the NIAID for which he is PI.