Vonakis Ph.D, Becky M.  

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Vonakis

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Department of Medicine

Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center

5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, Rm. 2A.52

Baltimore, MD 21224-6801

Tel:  410-550-4963

Fax:  410-550-2090

Email: bvonaki@jhmi.edu


Biography:

Becky M. Vonakis, Ph.D. is currently Assistant Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.  She joined the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology of the Department of Medicine in 2001 after completing postdoctoral fellowships with Henry Metzger, M.D. at the NIAMS/NIH and Susan MacDonald, M.D. at The Johns Hopkins University.  She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and a member of the American Association of Immunologists and the Hellenic Bioscientific Association in the USA.  She is an Ad Hoc Reviewer for the Journal of Immunology, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Clinical Immunology, Allergy and Clinical and Experimental Immunology.  In addition she is on the Editorial Boards of Asthma Allergy Immunology and ISRN Allergy.  She currently reviews grants for the National Medical Research Council, Singapore.  She lectures frequently on signal transduction in the immune system and is an author of over 30 peer-reviewed publications, reviews and book chapters. 

 

 

Research Interest:

  1. Signal transduction in immune/inflammatory cells with a particular emphasis on basophils, mast cells and epithelial cells.
  2. Development of inhibitors of signal transduction for the treatment of airway and skin diseases.
  3. Development of techniques for the introduction of proteins and gene expression in terminally differentiated cells.

 

Current Research:

·  Mechanism of signaling initiation from the FceRI by LynA and LynB kinases; approaches include mutational analysis, live- cell FRET and mathematical modeling

·  Elucidating the distinct vs. redundant roles of Lyn A and LynB kinases in FceRI signaling to secretion and integrin-mediated cell spreading

·  Molecular basis of releasability in human basophils and mast cells; signaling changes contributing to hyperreleasability or hyporeleasability in human disease states such as urticaria or atopy.

· MAP Kinase bistability in epithelial cells, contribution to the perpetuation of chronic inflammation in severe asthma and COPD

 

 

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications:

 

1.  Vonakis, B.M., and Vanderhoek, J.Y., 15-HETE receptors:  involvement in the 15-HETE-induced stimulation of the cryptic 5-lipoxygenase in PT-18 mast/basophil cells, J. Biol. Chem.  267(33), 23625-23631, (1992).

2.  Vonakis, B.M., Chen, H.,  Haleem-Smith, H., and Metzger, H.  The unique domain as the site on Lyn kinase for its constitutive association with the high affinity receptor for IgE, J. Biol. Chem.  272(38), 24072-24080, (1997).

3.  Wofsy, C.*, Vonakis, B.M.*, Metzger, H. and Goldstein, B. One Lyn is sufficient to initiate phosphorylation of aggregated FceRI, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA), 96, 8615-8620, (1999).  *Equal authors.

4.   Vonakis, B.M., Gibbons, S.P., Jr., Sora, R., Langdon, J.M., and MacDonald, S.M., Src homology 2 domain-containing inositol 5' phosphatase is negatively associated with histamine release to human recombinant histamine-releasing factor in human basophils, J. Allergy Clin. Immunol., 108, 822-831 (2001).

5. Vonakis, B.M., Gibbons, S.P. Jr., Rotté, M.J., Brothers, E.A., Kim, S.C., Chichester, K., and MacDonald, S.M., Regulation of RBL-2H3 Mast Cell Secretion by a Constitutive Lyn Kinase Interaction with the High Affinity IgE Receptor (FceRI), J. Immunol., 175:4543-4554 (2005).

6. Vonakis, B.M., Vasagar, K., Gibbons, Jr., S., Gober, L., Sterba, P.M., Chang, H., and Saini, S., Basophil FceRI histamine release parallels expression of SH2-containing inositol phosphatases in chronic idiopathic urticaria, J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 119:441-448 (2007).

7. Vonakis, B.M., MacGlashan, Jr., D.W., Vilariño, N., Langdon, J.M., Scott, R.S., and MacDonald, S.M., Distinct Characteristics of Signal Transduction Events by Histamine Releasing Factor/Translationally Controlled Tumor Protein (HRF/TCTP)-Induced Priming and Activation of Human Basophils, Blood, 111:1789-1796 (2008).

8. Saini, S.S., Paterniti, M., Vasagar, K., Gibbons, Jr., S., Sterba, P.M. and Vonakis, B.M., Cultured Peripheral Blood Mast Cells from Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria Patients Spontaneously Degranulate Upon IgE Sensitization:  Relationship to Expression of Syk and SHIP-2, Clin. Immunol. 132(3):342-8 (2009).

 

9.  Norton, S.K., Dellinger, A., Zhou, Z., Lenk, R.,  MacFarland, D., Vonakis, B.M., Conrad, D., and Kepley, C.L. A New Class of Human Mast Cell and Basophil Stabilizers Which Differentially Control Allergic Mediator Release.  Clin. Transl. Sci. 3(4): 158-69  (2010).

 

10. Link, T.M., Park, U., Vonakis, B.M., Raben, D.M., Soloski, M.J., and Caterina, M.J. TRPV2 has a pivotal role in macrophage particle binding and phagocytosis. Nat Immunol. 11(3):232-9 (2010).

 

Selected Reviews:

1.  Vonakis, B.M., and Vanderhoek, J.Y., Role of calcium in the regulation of mammalian lipoxygenases, in “Cell Calcium Metabolism”, G. Fiskum, Ed., Plenum Press Inc., New York, pp. 387-396, (1989).

2. Metzger, H., Chen, H., Goldstein, B., Haleem-Smith, H., Inman, J.K., Peirce, M., Torigoe, C., Vonakis, B., and Wofsy, C. Signal transduction by FceRI: Analysis of the early molecular events. Allergology International  48, 161 169, (1999).

3.  MacDonald, S.M., and Vonakis, B.M., Association of the src homology 2 domain-containing inositol 5’ phosphatase (SHIP) to releasability in human basophils. Mol. Immunol. 38 (16-18), 1323-1327 (2002).

4.  Vonakis, B.M.  and Saini, S.S, New concepts in chronic urticaria.  Curr. Opin. Immunol. 20(6):709-16 (2008).

 

Mentor List:

Pre-doctoral mentoring

1.  Peter Benjamin, summer intern 1995, 1997 at NIAMS in the laboratory of Dr. Henry Metzger.  Presented a poster at the end of the summer on his work at NIH Summer Student Research Day, co-author on manuscript:  J. Biol. Chem., 276, 1041-1050, (2001).  M.D. 2005 from Washington University Medical School.  Completed a residency in Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital.

 

2.  Scott Gibbons, Jr., summer research assistant 2000 and 2001 in the laboratory of Dr. Susan MacDonald, co-author on five manuscripts.  Received a B.A. in Biology from Saint Mary’s College, May 2001.  A Senior Research Technician in my laboratory (2001-2004), currently in the Cellular and Molecular Biology M.S. program at Towson University.

 

3.  Masashi Rottè, Senior Research Thesis and research assistant, Spring and Summer semesters, 2001 in the laboratory of Dr. Susan MacDonald while completing an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at JHU (received May 2001, concurrently with a B.A. in Biology from Gaucher College). Co-author on manuscript: J. Immunol., 175:4543-4554 (2005).   Completed Medical School at Temple University and Emergency Medicine residency program (2011).

 

4.  Elizabeth Brothers Sillman, summer research assistant, 2002 in my laboratory, received a B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Immaculata University, May 2004, Co-author on manuscript: J. Immunol., 175:4543-4554 (2005); completed the Master’s program at Case Western Reserve in Bioethics, May 2006.

 

5.  Seok Chan Kim, research independent study for academic credit and research assistant, Fall 2002-Spring 2004 in my laboratory, received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, May 2004, co-author on manuscript: J. Immunol., 175:4543-4554 (2005); received a MS in Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve in 2007.

 

6.  Eric Jabart, research assistant, Fall 2003 -Spring 2004 semesters in my laboratory, received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, May 2004, completed the Master’s program at Johns Hopkins University in Chemical Engineering, May 2006, currently in the UC-Berkeley/UCSF joint Bioengineering PhD program.

 

7.  Andrew Lee, research independent study for academic credit, Fall 2004 -Spring 2005 in my laboratory, B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, May 2005, completed the Master’s program in Physiology, Johns Hopkins University, May 2006, currently a pre-CERTA fellow, NIH and applying to dental school.

 

8.  Hyeyoun Chang, research independent study for academic credit, Fall 2004 -Spring 2005 in my laboratory, B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins University, May 2005, Co-author on manuscript: J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 119:441-448 (2007).  Senior Research Technician in my laboratory (2005-2006); currently in the PhD program for Biological Sciences at George Washington University.

 

9.  Eric Lin, research independent study for academic credit, Summer 2006-Fall 2007 in my laboratory, B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, May 2008, Johns Hopkins University; currently attending Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans.

 

10. Di Chen, Final Year Project Thesis, Feb. 2007-June 2007 (full-time), B.S. in Biological Sciences, June 2007, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, currently an industry research associate in Singapore, accepted into the Master of Intellectual Property program at Franklin Pierce Law Center, NH.

 

11.  Jean-Ives Tano, Summer 2007, B.A. In Biology, University of Michigan, May 2007, currently in the PhD program in Biomedical Sciences, (Concentration in Infection, Immunity and Transplantation) University of Toledo College of Medicine.

 

12.  Tiffany Link, M.D.-Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Michael Caterina’s lab, JHU Biological Chemistry Department, Co-mentor from August 2006-present.

 

13.  Jean Suh, research independent study for academic credit, Fall 2007 – Spring 2008 in my laboratory, B. A. in Biophysics and Applied Mathematics, 2010, Johns Hopkins University; currently coordinating tutoring and after-school programs for elementary school students in an AmeriCorps VISTA position, accepted to University of Virginia Medical School for Fall 2011.

 

14.  Han Sun, Final Year Project Thesis, Jan. 2008-November 2008 (full-time), B.S. in Biological Sciences, July 2008, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and currently in the Molecular Medicine PhD program at Johns Hopkins University.

 

15.  Yu-Cherng (Channing) Chang, research independent study, Fall 2008 semester to the Dec 2010, received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, Feb. 2011; Research Assistant at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital as of Sept. 2011.

 

16.  Nicole Sansbury, career mentoring, April 2010-present, MD-Ph.D candidate, University of Maryland School of Medicine, currently a research assistant for a clinical cancer study at University of Maryland School of Medicine.

 

Post-doctoral mentoring

 

1.  Smruti Killedar, post-doctoral fellow, March 2005-August 2006, in my laboratory, Ph.D. in Zoology from M.S. University of Baroda, India, May 1990, Postdoctoral Research Associate and Instructor, Dept. of Medicine, University of Rochester, Sept. 2006 – November, 2008; currently pursing a bioinformatics position.

 

2.  Jill- Desiree Brederson, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Michael Caterina’s lab, JHU Biological Chemistry Department, Co-mentor July 2005-October 2006, Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Minnesota, 2005, currently a Senior Research Electrophysiologist at Abbott Laboratories, Chicago, IL and applying to law school.

 

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