Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Erik Van Dis, PhD

The innate immune system is the body's first line of defense against pathogens. The innate immune sensor MDA5 detects nucleic acids derived from pathogenic genomes or damaged cells and drives the production of cytokines, an important signaling molecule in the immune inflammatory response. MDA5 can be aberrantly activated by host nucleic acids, however, leading to autoimmune activation. Hyperactive MDA5 alleles are associated with the development of autoimmune diabetes. Dr. Van Dis [Robert Black Fellow] aims to define the innate immune signaling pathways that initiate autoimmune diabetes to better understand immune activation pathways in the pancreas and guide the development of novel immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer. Dr. Van Dis received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley and his BA from Carleton College, Northfield.


Project title: "Investigating innate immune activation in the autoimmune pancreas"
Institution: University of Washington
Named Award: Robert Black Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Daniel B. Stetson, PhD
Cancer Type: Pancreatic
Research Area: Basic Immunology