Research

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Craig  Gerard, MD, PhD

Craig Gerard, MD, MPH
Department:
Medicine Research
Division
Respiratory Diseases Research
Hospital Title:
Chief, Division of Respiratory Diseases
Academic Title:
Leila and Irving Perlmutter Professorin Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Research Focus Area:
Chemokine Receptors
Contact:
617-355-5926
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Research Overview

Research in the Perlmutter Laboratory (Drs. Norma and Craig Gerard) has focused extensively on G protein coupled receptors that play an essential role in activating white blood cells. Many of these receptors and ligands – the molecules that bind to them- have come to be appreciated as a bridge between innate and acquired immunity, as well as being vital to the acute inflammatory response. The bulk of the group’s focus over the last decade has been on elucidating the mechanistic actions of the receptors for the complement anaphylatoxins, C5a and C3a – molecules that mediate inflammatory responses – as well as those for the chemokine superfamily – chemical messengers of the immune system. Their work has moved from cloning the receptors to disrupting receptor genes in order to probe the role of these receptors in disease models in vivo. The lab was the first to show how one pathogen, invasive pneumococcus, exploits the receptor for platelet activating factor to gain access to cells. That discovery was followed by collaborative work defining the chemokine receptors involved as HIV-1 co-receptors.

Current projects of specific interest to Craig Gerard relate to cystic fibrosis aimed at understanding the mechanism s behind extreme phenotypes; patients who are all homozygous for the DeltaF508 mutation but who have dramatically different outcomes. Whilst the majority of CF patients have a relatively consistent rate of loss of lung function at ~2.5%/year, there are patients who progress at >5%/year (rapid progress ors) or maintain level FEV1 over decades (long term non-progrerssors).  The lab is studying these rare patients at the exome and transcriptome levels, as well as their immune systems.

About Craig Gerard

Craig Gerard received his MD from Wake Forest University and his PhD from the University of California at San Diego. He completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a fellowship at Scripps Research Institute.

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