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W. Henry Boom, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University

Division Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine

Director, Tuberculosis Research Unit

Email : whb@case.edu
Office Phone : 216.368.1949
Fax : 216.368.0105
Links : Tuberculosis Research Unit, MTB ABSL3 Core Facility


  • B.A.: Amherst College College, 1971-1975
  • M.D.: University of Rochester, 1975-1979
  • Internship & Residency: Internal Medicine, George Washington University, 1979-1982
  • Chief Resident: George Washington University, 1982-1983
  • Clinical & Research Fellow, Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, 1983-1988
  • Research Fellow, Tropical Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 1984-1987

Research Interests

T cells play a critical role in the immune response to the intracellular pathogen M. tuberculosis, which is estimated to infect one third of the world's population. T cells regulate the acquired immune response which controls primary infection and provide protection against exogenous reinfection. CD4+ T cells traditionally have been considered the main T cell subset responsible for regulating protective immune responses to M. tuberculosis. However, in addition to the CD4+ T cell, both gamma-delta T cell receptor bearing T cells (gamma delta cells) and CD8+ T cells have a role in protective immunity to M. tuberculosis. The study of CD4+, CD8+ and gamma delta T cell responses to M. tuberculosis is the main interest of my laboratory.

The focus is on characterization of mycobacterial antigens recognized by CD4+ and gamma-delta T cells, the role of cytokines such as IL-2, IL-12, IFN-gamma, IL-10 and TGF-beta in modulating the T cell responses to M. tuberculosis, the functional interaction of antigen-specific T cells with macrophages infected with mycobacteria, and the mechanisms used by M. tuberculosis infected macrophages to process and present antigens from the phagosome to the cell surface to these different T cell subsets. Recent studies have focused on identifying molecules of M. tuberculosis that interfere with MHC-II antigen processing. Specifically the role of mycobacterial lipoproteins and TLR receptors in regulating MHC-II antigen processing has become a major focus.

These studies use cellular immunological and cell biologic approaches to study the biology of M. tuberculosis infected macrophages and T cells. In addition, a murine in vivo model of M. tuberculosis infection of the lung is used to study the unique micro-environment where M. tuberculosis infection occurs and immune responses are initiated.

Selected References

  • Lancioni CL, Li Q, Thomas JJ, Ding X, Thiel B, Drage MG, Pecora ND, Ziady AG, Shank S, Harding CV, Boom WH, Rojas RE. M. tuberculosis lipoproteins directly regulate human memory CD4+ T cell activation via TLR2/1. Infect Immun, 79:663-73, 2011.
  • Lancioni CL, Mahan CS, Johnson DF, Walusimbi M, Chervenak KA, Nalukwago S, Charlebois E, Havlir D,Mayanja-Kizza H, Whalen CC, Boom WH. Effects of antiretroviral therapy on immune function of HIV-infected adults with pulmonary tuberculosis and CD4+ >350 cells/mm3. J Inf Dis, 203:992-1001, 2011.
  • Nanteza MW, Mayanja-Kizza H, Charlebois E, Srikantiah P, Lin R, Mupere E, Mugyenyi P, Boom WH, Mugerwa RD, Havlir DA, Whalen CC. A Randomized Clinical Trial of a 6-Month PunctuatedCourse of Antiretorviral Therapy In Ugandan HIV Seropositive Adults with Pulmonary Tuberculosis and CD4+ T Cell Count > 350 cells/mL. J Inf Dis, in press.
  • Whalen CC, Zalwango S, Chiunda A, Malone L, Eisenach K, Joloba M, Boom WH, Mugerwa, R. Secondary attack rate of tuberculosis in urban households in Kampala, Uganda. PLoS ONE 6(2):e16137.dol10.1371/journal.pone.0016137.
  • Baker AR, Zalwango S, Malone LL, Igo RP, Nsereko M, Adams MD, Supelak P, Mayanja-Kizza H, Boom WH, Stein CM. Genetic Susceptibility to Tuberculosis Associated with Cathepsin Z Haplotype in Ugandan Household Contact Study. Human Immunology, 72:426-30.
  • Ogwang S, Nguyen HT, Sherman M, Bajaksouzian S, Jacobs MR, Boom WH, Zhang G, Nguyen L. Bacterial conversion of folinic acid is required for antifolate resistance. J. Biological Chemistry, 286:15377-90, 2011.
  • Nqoko B, Day CL, Mansoor N, Kock MD, Hughes EJ, Hawkridge T, Kaplan G, Boom WH, Hussey GD, Hanekom WA. HIV-Specific Gag Responses in Early Infancy Correlate with Clinical Outcome and Inversely with Viral Load. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2011 12:1311-6. PMID: 21476948