- B.A., 1977, Pomona College, Physics.
- Ph.D., 1983, Caltech, Biology.
- Postdoctoral research, University of California, San Diego.
- Previous faculty appointments: Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Joined the department in 2010.
Tissue size regulation, wound healing, and fibrosing diseases
Our laboratory is working on two areas of biomedicine. First, we are studying how the sizes of tissues and tumors are regulated, and how this can be manipulated for therapeutic purposes. As a model system, we are using the simple eukaryote Dictyostelium discoideum, which allows us to combine techniques such as biochemistry, genetics, computer modeling, and cell biology to study tissue size regulation. We have found that a secreted protein is the signal in a negative feedback loop that inhibits Dictyostelium cell proliferation, and we are studying the signal transduction pathway to understand similar mechanisms in humans.
Second, we have found that a human blood protein called Serum Amyloid P (SAP) regulates a key step in the formation of scar tissue as well as the formation of the scar-like lesions in fibrosing diseases such as congestive heart failure and pulmonary fibrosis. We are studying this mechanism, as well as working with two biotech companies to develop a new wound-healing material and a therapy for fibrosing diseases, both based on manipulating SAP levels.
- Herlihy, SE, Starke, HE, Lopez-Anton, M, Cox, N, Keyhanian, K, Fraser, DJ et al.. Peritoneal Dialysis Fluid and Some of Its Components Potentiate Fibrocyte Differentiation. Perit Dial Int. ;36 (4):367-373. doi: 10.3747/pdi.2014.00284. PubMed PMID:26493752 .
- White, MJ, Gomer, RH. Trypsin, Tryptase, and Thrombin Polarize Macrophages towards a Pro-Fibrotic M2a Phenotype. PLoS ONE. 2015;10 (9):e0138748. Epub 2015/9/25. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138748. PubMed PMID:26407067 PubMed Central PMC4583378.
- Pilling, D, Vakil, V, Cox, N, Gomer, RH. TNF-α-stimulated fibroblasts secrete lumican to promote fibrocyte differentiation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2015;112 (38):11929-34. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1507387112. PubMed PMID:26351669 PubMed Central PMC4586854.
- Herlihy, SE, Brown, ML, Pilling, D, Weeks, BR, Myers, LK, Gomer, RH et al.. Role of the neutrophil chemorepellent soluble dipeptidyl peptidase IV in decreasing inflammation in a murine model of arthritis. 2015;67 (10):2634-8. doi: 10.1002/art.39250. PubMed PMID:26138693 PubMed Central PMC4751999.
- White, MJ, Roife, D, Gomer, RH. Galectin-3 Binding Protein Secreted by Breast Cancer Cells Inhibits Monocyte-Derived Fibrocyte Differentiation. J. Immunol. 2015;195 (4):1858-67. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1500365. PubMed PMID:26136428 PubMed Central PMC4530092.
- Cox, N, Pilling, D, Gomer, RH. DC-SIGN activation mediates the differential effects of SAP and CRP on the innate immune system and inhibits fibrosis in mice. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2015;112 (27):8385-90. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1500956112. PubMed PMID:26106150 PubMed Central PMC4500200.
- Pilling, D, Cox, N, Vakil, V, Verbeek, JS, Gomer, RH. The long pentraxin PTX3 promotes fibrocyte differentiation. PLoS ONE. 2015;10 (3):e0119709. Epub 2015/3/16. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119709. PubMed PMID:25774777 PubMed Central PMC4361553.
- Phillips, JE, Gomer, RH. Partial genetic suppression of a loss-of-function mutant of the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis-associated protease TPP1 in Dictyostelium discoideum. Dis Model Mech. 2015;8 (2):147-56. doi: 10.1242/dmm.018820. PubMed PMID:25540127 PubMed Central PMC4314780.
- Pilling, D, Zheng, Z, Vakil, V, Gomer, RH. Fibroblasts secrete Slit2 to inhibit fibrocyte differentiation and fibrosis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2014;111 (51):18291-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1417426112. PubMed PMID:25489114 PubMed Central PMC4280645.
- White, MJ, Galvis-Carvajal, E, Gomer, RH. A brief exposure to tryptase or thrombin potentiates fibrocyte differentiation in the presence of serum or serum amyloid p. J. Immunol. 2015;194 (1):142-50. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1401777. PubMed PMID:25429068 PubMed Central PMC4272917.