Associate Professor, Internal Medicine
Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics
Center for Microbial Interface Biology
460 W. 12th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210
Phone: (614) 292-6724
Joanne Turner, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine with a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics.
Dr Turner’s research focuses on the changes that take place in the immune system during the natural aging process and the influence that this has on the capacity of the host to control infectious diseases. During old age many facets of the immune response decline, in particular within the CD4 T cell compartment however, it is also likely that alternative immune mechanisms have arisen that can compensate for these changes. Characterization of how these alternative immune responses participate during infection may aid in the development of vaccines specifically designed for an aging immune system. The laboratory has identified a relationship between increased control of M. tuberculosis infection and the presence of CD8 T cells and IFN-? in the lungs of old mice. Our current model predicts that macrophages within the aging lungs of old mice can produce increased amounts of IL-12 in response to infection with M. tuberculosis which in turn activated CD8 T cells to secrete IFN-?. Such enhanced immunological mechanisms can form the basis for the design of improved vaccines or post-exposure therapies for the elderly.
A second area of active research is with the identification of immune responses that correlate with an individuals susceptibility to reactivate a previously latent infection with M. tuberculosis. The laboratory currently uses several different mouse strains with differing susceptibilities to M. tuberculosis to identify immunological correlates of disease progression. Current research using the mouse model has identified several cytokines, such as increased interleukin-10, and cellular mechanisms that appear to be associated with reactivation disease.