Receptors for steroid hormones (estrogens, androgens and progesterone) are broadly expressed and regulate gene transcription in target cells. Our lab studies how these pathways operate in immune cells, particularly how they contribute to the balance between immune homeostasis and chronic inflammation & autoimmunity. Particular areas of interest include mucosal tissues (i.e. intestinal mucosa) and maternal-fetal interface tissues (decidua). Our approach utilizes both preclinical mouse models and primary human cells/tissues.
As an an early-stage investigator in the Department of Pathology, my focus is on the cellular and molecular regulation of mucosal immune responses. I have a particular interest in the non-classical roles of steroid sex hormones (i.e. estrogens, progestins, and androgens) in modulating immune responses. Signaling via steroid hormones is a critical mechanism of transcriptional regulation in target cells and contributes to sex differences in immune responses. A major area of research in my laboratory is the role of altered estrogen signaling in human and experimental inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We use complementary ex vivo, in vivo, and translational approaches to interrogate the role of estrogen signaling in lymphocytes and epithelial cells from IBD patients and mouse models (Goodman and Garg, et al., Mucosal Immunol 2014, Goodman et al., CMGH 2017, and Goodman et al., under revision at PNAS). I have more than 15 years of experience studying mechanisms of chronic inflammation and autoimmunity, beginning with my graduate work in the Department of Dermatology at CWRU (2005-2010, laboratory of Kevin D. Cooper, M.D., Professor and Chair), continuing with my postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Theresa Pizarro, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Pathology, CWRU; 2012-15), and in my current independent faculty role (2015-). During this time, I have obtained independent funding in the form of an NIH/NIDDK K01 award (2015-2020) and Foundation support (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Career Development Award, 2015-2018, and Senior Research Award, 2019-2022).
- Regulatory T cell differentiation and function.
- Role of steroid hormone signaling in chronic inflammation.
- Protective and pathogenic functions of IL-33 in intestinal inflammation.
- Myeloid cell biology.