Antonella Cianferoni, MD, Ph.D.

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Associate 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 Clinical Expertise

I am an experienced, ABAI certified, practicing pediatric allergist with a special clinical and research interest in food allergy.

From a clinical standpoint, biweekly attendance in Allergy Clinic provides me with a breadth of experience in atopic disease along with access to 10-12 potential study patients with EoE per month. Our Center for Pediatric Esophageal Disorders, run by my mentor Dr. Spergel, and of which I am part, follows the largest cohort of children with eosinophilic esophagitis in the nation, including over 1000 patients with confirmed esophageal biopsies.I haveonce monthly clinic focused on Eosinophilic Esophagitis

I partecipate to develop our imunotolerance program of food allergy

Selected Publications

Lewis MO, Brown-Whitehorn TF, Cianferoni A, Rooney C, Spergel JM. : Peanut-Allergic Patient Experiences After Epicutaneous Immunotherapy: Peanut Consumption and Impact on QoL. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. (eds.). 19(S1081-1206): 30289-3, April 2019 Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2019.04.006.

Cianferoni Antonella, Shuker Michelle, Brown-Whitehorn Terri, Hunter Hannah, Venter Carina, Spergel Jonathan M: Food avoidance strategies in eosinophilic oesophagitis. Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology 49(3): 269-284, Mar 2019.

Kennedy Katie, Muir Amanda B, Grossman Andrew, Brown-Whitehorn Terri, Cianferoni Antonella, Spergel Jonathan M, Furuta Glenn T, Wilkins Benjamin J, Shuker Michele, Ruffner Melanie A: Modified oral enteric-coated budesonide regimens to treat pediatric eosinophilic gastroenteritis, a single center experience. The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice Feb 2019.

Melanie A. Ruffner MD, PhD1; Kathleen Y. Wang MD1; Jesse W. Dudley MS2; Antonella Cianferoni, MD, PhD1, Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD1; Terri F. Brown-Whitehorn MD1; and David A. Hill, MD, PhD1: Elevated Allergic Comorbidity in Patients with Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis. CHOP research day feb 2019.

Capucilli Peter, Kennedy Katie, Kazatsky Ashley M, Cianferoni Antonella, Spergel Jonathan M: Fruit for thought: anaphylaxis to fruit pectin in foods. The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice 7(2): 719-720, Feb 2019.

Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, MD, PhDa, Christopher M. Warren PhD(c)db, Terri Brown-Whitehorn, MDc, Antonella Cianferoni, MD, PhDc, Fallon Schultz-Matney, BS, MSWd, Ruchi S. Gupta MD MPHe : Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome in the US-population-based study. AAAAI 2019 meeting 2019.

Kasagi Yuta, Dods Kara, Wang Joshua X, Chandramouleeswaran Prasanna M, Benitez Alain J, Gambanga Fiona, Kluger Jonathan, Ashorobi Tokunbo, Gross Jonathan, Tobias John W, Klein-Szanto Andres J, Spergel Jonathan M, Cianferoni Antonella, Falk Gary W, Whelan Kelly A, Nakagawa Hiroshi, Muir Amanda B: Fibrostenotic eosinophilic esophagitis might reflect epithelial lysyl oxidase induction by fibroblast-derived TNF-α. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology Dec 2018.

Kottyan L, Spergel JM, Cianferoni A: Immunology of the Ancestral Differences in Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol S1081-1206(18), Nov 2018.

Ruffner MA, Kennedy K, Cianferoni A: Pathophysiology of eosinophilic esophagitis: recent advances and their clinical implication. Expert Rev Clin Immunol Nov 2018.

Ruffner MA, Kennedy K, Cianferoni A: Pathophysiology of eosinophilic esophagitis: recent advances and their clinical implication. Expert Rev Clin Immunol Nov 2018.

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Last updated: 11/07/2019
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