Antonella Cianferoni

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Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Department: Pediatrics

Contact information
1216H ARC Allergy Immunology
34th and Center Boulevard
Philadelphia Children's Hospital
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4399
Office: 2674267831
Fax: 2674260363
Lab: 2672941952
M.D. (Medicine)
University of Florence, Italy, 1996.
Ph.D. (Pediatric Immunology)
University of Florence, Italy, 2004.
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Description of Research Expertise

I am a pediatric allergist and immunologist with an interest in human food allergy immunopathogenesis. While my interest in allergic disease has been long-standing and continuous, the path to my current position and research endeavors has involved numerous institutions, as well as shifts between scientific and clinical training opportunities. I began my research career as a medical student and pediatric resident in Italy. There, I clinically characterized several classical allergic diseases including anaphylaxis and atopic dermatitis. I completed a Ph.D. in Immunology and pursued various research training opportunities in the United States, including a research fellowship at Johns Hopkins and a fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at Children’s Hospital Boston. Today I am an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where I study the role of iNKT cells in food allergy pathogenesis.
The above-mentioned training opportunities afforded me a variety of research experiences as well as exposure to a broad range of research styles, techniques and experimental paradigms; looked at purely from a publication productivity standpoint, however, the short-term nature of many of these experiences (on average 2 years in duration) was somewhat limiting. As I initiated each of the research projects I pursued, each, on average, resulted in only one first author publication. For example, at Hopkins, I studied the effect of aspirin on IL-4 transcription using a human cellular model (10), whereas at Boston Children’s I worked on IL-2 transcription using a mouse model of Wiskott-Aldrich Disease (21). These research experiences were separated by 3 years of clinical activity in Italy where I completed my Residency in Pediatrics. Following my research in Boston, I again shifted to clinical training, completing 3 years of clinical training in Pediatrics and Allergy and Immunology. Completion of this clinical work was required for U.S. Board Certification. Beginning with my appointment as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at CHOP, I have been able to resume my research activities. Rather than continue research started at either Hopkins or Boston Children’s, however, I have chosen to focus my research efforts on a novel line of inquiry in food allergy. Today, my laboratory strives to understand how food-derived lipids contribute to food allergy sensitization, and in particular, how these lipids influence chronic atopic states like eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) by activating iNKTs. To this end, I have developed state-of-the-art techniques to investigate, at a molecular level, this rare cell population in humans. This research led me to obtain NIH funding (K12 first for 2 years and more recently a K08 grant) a senior publication on JACI, coauthoira Nature a nature genetics paper and data for 4 more publications that are being submitted.

Our paper , for the first time, demonstrated that milk-derived lipids activate iNKTs via the TCR to produce Th2 cytokines, and that qualitative and quantitative differences in iNKTs exist between children with food allergies and their healthy counterparts. Our current research focuses on defining the role of iNKTs in Food allergy using the Eosinophilic Esophagitis model boith in human and in animals, as iNKTs appear to favor the development of other atopic diseases such as asthma and contact dermatitis, I anticipate that these studies will provide generalizable insights into how iNKT cells can be modulated to enhance treatment of patients with food allergies.

The dynamic and rich research environments at CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania have provided me with a wealth of mentors and collaborators, including leaders in the fields of iNKT, NK cell and T cell biology (Dr. Koretsky, Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Investigator and Director, Signal Transduction Program; Dr. Nichols, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania, Oncology Division; and Dr. Orange Associate Professor of Pediatrics University of Pennsylvania, Allergy and Immunology Division). Additionally, I have capitalized on my prior research experiences and training to involve mentors from outside institutions (Dr. Brenner, Theodore B. Bayles Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Chief, Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham And Women's Hospital and Dr Boyson, Associate Professor, Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of Surgical Research, University of Vermont).

Description of Itmat Expertise

Dr. Cianferoni is conducting translational research in allergies with a specific interest in food allergies, targeting the pathogenesis of food allergies using human blood sample from patients, normal donors and animal models.

Selected Publications

Fahey LM, Guzek R, Spergel JS, Cianferoni A: EMSY gene expression in Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Accepted-Poster Day CHOP February 2016.

Gupta M, Grossman L, Spergel J, Cianferoni A: A review of Food challenges performed on Children with large skin prick tests JACI accepted 2016.

Fahey L. Cianferoni A, Abou-Sleiman P, Haknonarson H, Liacouras C, Spergel J: TSLP risk alleles are increased in pediatric patients with Eosinophilic Esophagitis and atopy. Accepted Digestive Disease Week 2016 2016.

Malika Gupta , Liron D. Grossmann, Jonathan M. Spergel  and Antonella Cianferoni  : Egg Food Challenges are Associated with More Gastrointestinal Reactions. Children. 371-38 (eds.). 2 (3), August 2015 Notes: doi:10.3390/children2030371.

Cianferoni A: Eosinophilic esophagitis: a clinical review. RIAP (Rivista italian allergologia pediatrica) 3: 4-13, October 2015.

Cianferoni Antonella, Spergel Jonathan M: From genetics to treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis. Current opinion in allergy and clinical immunology 15(5): 417-25, Oct 2015.

Cianferoni Antonella, Spergel Jonathan M, Muir Amanda: Recent advances in the pathological understanding of eosinophilic esophagitis. Expert review of gastroenterology & hepatology 9(12): 1501-10, October 2015.

Ram Gita, Cianferoni Antonella, Spergel Jonathan M: Food allergy to uncommonly challenged foods is rare based on oral food challenge. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. (eds.). 15: S2213-2198, Sep 2015.

Cianferoni Antonella, Spergel Jonathan M: Eosinophilic Esophagitis and Gastroenteritis. Current allergy and asthma reports 15(9): 58, Sep 2015.

Ram Gita, Lee Juhee, Ott Megan, Brown-Whitehorn Terri F, Cianferoni Antonella, Shuker Michele, Wang Mei-Lun, Verma Ritu, Liacouras Chris A, Spergel Jonathan M: Seasonal exacerbation of esophageal eosinophilia in children with eosinophilic esophagitis and allergic rhinitis. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology 115(3): 224-228.e1, Sep 2015.

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Last updated: 01/15/2016
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