Emeritus Professor, Microbial Infection and Immunity
776 Biomedical Research Tower (BRT)
460 W 12th Ave, Columbus OH 43210
Dr. Whitacre's research focused on immune tolerance, CNS, autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, animal models for the study of multiple sclerosis, gender differences in autoimmune disease, neuroendocrine-immune interactions, and immune effects in spinal cord injury. Her laboratory used cellular and molecular approaches to devise therapeutic regimens for multiple sclerosis focusing on the animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The primary focus of her research was to understand the mechanisms underlying gender differences in autoimmune diseases, specifically differences in the immune response to explain why women tend to get autoimmune diseases more often than men, yet men often exhibit a more rapidly progressive course of disease. Her lab also studied the effect of pregnancy on disease progression in MS. A more recent area of investigation was the role of microRNA in the pathogenesis and treatment of MS and EAE.