Mast cells, which normally reside in the tissues, and basophils, which circulate in the blood, are major effector cells of asthma and other IgE-associated allergic disorders and immune responses to parasites. However, mast cells also have been implicated (as effector and/or immunoregulatory cells) in many other settings, including certain autoimmune or inflammatory disorders, innate immune responses to pathogens and resistance to endogenous and exogenous agents which can express significant toxicity, including arthropod and animal venoms; mast cells also may contribute importantly, in certain settings, to angiogenesis, the regulation of epithelial development and function and fibrosis and other examples of tissue remodeling.
The goals of Dr. Galli’s laboratory are to develop and employ genetic and imaging approaches in mice to understand the regulation of mast cell and basophil development and the expression of mast cell and basophil function, and to elucidate the roles of these cells in health and disease. In parallel with these mouse studies, we investigate the roles of mast cells and basophils in human health and disease by conducting studies of human cells, or by analyzing specimens derived from patients with asthma, food allergy, atopic dermatitis, or other disorders in which mast cells and basophils have been implicated. In conjunction with colleagues at the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford, we also study patients with food allergy and other allergic disorders, and seek new approaches for their immune monitoring and clinical management.