W. Henry Boom, MD
Director of the Tuberculosis Research Unit Professor of Medicine
W. Henry Boom, MD is a professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Director of the Tuberculosis Research Unit (TBRU), based at CWRU. Dr. Boom was raised in the Netherlands before attending Amherst College where he received a BA in 1975. He received an MD from the University of Rochester in 1979 followed by clinical training in internal medicine and chief residency at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington D.C. This was followed by clinical and research training in infectious diseases and immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham & Women's Hospital before joining the faculty at CWRU in 1988.
Dr. Boom's basic research is focused on the biology of T cells in the immune response to M. tuberculosis. Recent studies have focused on molecular mechanisms used by M. tuberculosis to evade T cell immunity. His lab discovered that mycobacterial lipoproteins through TLR-2 inhibit MHC-II antigen processing in macrophages and thus CD4+ T cell function, and that M. tuberculosis glycolipids affect T cell function by interfering with T cell receptor signaling and activating VLA-5 on T cells. TBRU is the only NIH-funded multi-disciplinary research program focused in TB research in TB endemic settings, and brings together investigators at research institutes in the US and Europe with investigators at Makerere University in Kampala (Uganda), South African TB Vaccine Initiative at Univ. of Cape Town (South Africa) and Tropical Diseases Foundation in Manila (Philippines). TBRU combines well-designed clinical trials, observational and epidemiologic studies of M. tuberculosis infection and disease with state of the art microbiology, immunology and human genetics in the Philippines, S. Africa and Uganda. Basic developmental research in immunology and microbiology is conducted in the U.S. and Europe and their application to tuberculosis conducted in the context of TBRU Phase I-III clinical trials and epidemiologic studies.
He has authored over 120 publications, and receives grant support from the NIH and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He serves on editorial boards, grant review panels and national and international advisory boards.