Gurung Awarded K22 in Inflammation Study

Prajwal Gurung, PhD, Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases, has received a two-year, $268,000 grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The K22 is a Career Transition Award intended to propel investigators early in their careers. Dr. Gurung will use these funds to investigate the roles and regulation of the cytokine interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1a) in autoinflammatory disease.

A variety of skin diseases, such as Sweet’s syndrome, pyoderma gangrenosum, subcorneal pustular dermatosis, and hidradenitis supperativa, are characterized by neutrophil-infiltrated inflamed skin. Typically, inflammation is mediated by the cytokine interleukin 1 beta (IL-1b), but these neutrophilic dermatoses are IL-1b independent and have been shown in mouse models to require the enzyme RIPK1 and IL-1a. The current understanding of how IL-1a operates in inflammation events is severely limited. Dr. Gurung will examine the events in a specific mouse model, testing the hypothesis that a tyrosine phosphatase SHP1 deactivates RIPK1 to regulate IL-1a and aberrant inflammatory responses in myeloid cells.

Dr. Gurung joined the Department of Internal Medicine following a postdoctoral fellowship last year at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. He is a member of the Iowa Inflammation Program, an interdisciplinary program combining the talents and insights of independent investigators who share a common interest in understanding the cell and molecular biology of inflammation and its causes and consequences.