Gail Bishop, PhD

Contact Information

Office: 2193B MERF 
Phone: 319-335-7945 
Faculty Profile

Brief description of current research:

We are broadly interested in molecular mechanisms of immune regulation, and how cells of the immune system function in distinct microenvironments of the body. We recently discovered that a key signaling receptor that we have studied for many years in lymphocytes, CD40, is unexpectedly involved in protection from diet-induced obesity (DIO) and the metabolic dysregulation that typically precedes type 2 diabetes. Our initial studies in this new area are under review for publication. Our next goals are to understand the molecular mechanisms by which CD40 normally exerts its protective effects in the specific environment of the visceral adipose tissue, and also how CD40 impacts the mucosal immune environment to regulate the composition of the intenstinal microbiome, which in turn can impact obesity and metabolic regulation.

3 most influential diabetes/obesity/metabolism publications:

  • Peters, A.L., Plenge, R.M., Graham, R.R., Altshuler, D.M., Moser, K.L., Gaffney, P.M. and Bishop, G.A. A novel polymorphism of the human CD40 receptor results in enhanced CD40 functional activity. Blood 112:1863-1871, 2008.
  • Kraus, Z.J., Nakano, H., and Bishop, G.A. TRAF5 is a critical mediator of in vitro signals and in vivo functions of LMP1, the viral oncogenic mimic of CD40. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 106:17140-17145, 2009.
  • Peters, A.L. and Bishop, G.A. Differential TRAF3 utilization by a variant human CD40 receptor with enhanced signaling. J. Immunol. 185:6555-6562, 2010.


Obesity-related metabolic dysregulation and type 2 diabetes have become major health problems in our state, our country, and many other countries world-wide. We are excited to learn that an immune receptor we have studied for many years plays an unexpected role, not in exacerbating inflammation, but in actually protecting the host by regulating the adipose tissue microenvironment. We are delighted to have this new opportunity to contribute our expertise to a very clinically relevant problem, and very much look forward to pursuing these new studies. We also look forward to collaborative interactions with members of the FOEDRC.