Pathology Experts

Michael B. Fessler

Cellular & Molecular Pathology
Institut Pasteur de Bangui


Michael B. Fessler, M.D., is Deputy Chief of the Immunity, Inflammation, and Disease Laboratory, heads the Clinical Investigation of Host Defense Group, and holds a secondary appointment in the NIEHS Clinical Research Branch. His group investigates the role of cholesterol in innate immunity, and uses proteomic and translational approaches to discover and validate novel insights into the innate immune response. The group uses genetically modified mouse models and signal transduction approaches to define how trafficking and metabolism of cholesterol regulate the innate immune response, with a particular focus on inflammatory and infectious diseases of the lung. In a related focus area, the group investigates how environmental damage to the host cell, including nuclear and mitochondrial DNA damage and other insults, elicits the innate immune response and inflammatory disease even in non-infectious settings.

Research Interest

Roles of lipid raft remodeling in induction and regulation of the innate immune response Role of cholesterol trafficking in pulmonary innate immunity Roles of cell damage response and the master regulator p53 in innate immune responses to the environment


  • Current projects: Using genetically modified mice to identify regulatory roles for trafficking and metabolism of cholesterol in the innate immune response in leukocytes and in the lung. Using RNAi to define signaling events in the macrophage downstream of Toll like Receptors. Testing the association of select polymorphisms in innate immune genes with functional innate immune responses in leukocytes collected from human volunteers.

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