Curtis Henry, PhD
Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
Department of Pediatrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Dr. Curtis J. Henry received his Bachelor of Science degrees from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. He then matriculated into the graduate program at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and conducted research focusing on understanding how cytokines regulate CD8+ T-cell mediated protective immunity. As a postdoctoral fellow and Research Instructor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Dr. Henry’s researched focused on dissecting how aging-associated inflammation regulated hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis. Dr. Henry then joined the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University where he seeks to determine how chronic inflammation shapes hematopoiesis, immunity, and leukemogenesis. Results from these studies will be applied to improving therapeutic responses in at risk populations including children who are overweight or obese and aged populations.
The ability of the immune system to eliminate pathogenic and oncogenic threats are “fine-tuned” through the actions of cytokines. When the body detects a threat, these soluble mediators can promote cellular proliferation, upregulate effector responses in immune cells, and attenuate immune responses by promoting cell death to prevent detrimental effects to the host. Under normal conditions, inflammation is tightly controlled; however, dysregulation of this process is associated with many diseases including various cancers.
Chronic inflammation manifests in children who are overweight or obese, and in aged individuals. Those with these conditions have higher incidence of leukemia, respond less effectively to treatment, and relapse more frequently relative to young populations who fall within the normal body mass index range. Due to these striking observations and supportive data, research conducted in my laboratory will dissect: 1) how chronic inflammation in these contexts regulates the function of normal and malignant hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells; 2) how chronic inflammation alters immune responses; and 3) how to optimize therapeutic efficacy in individuals afflicted with chronic inflammatory conditions. Results generated from these studies will lead to a better understanding of the long-term impacts of chronic inflammation on hematopoiesis, immunity, and leukemogenesis.