Message from the Director

Dr. William C. Gause
Dr. William C. Gause,

The CII is RECRUITING new faculty with expertise in the investigation of cancer research. Early investigators who have first author publications in high-impact journals as well as current NIH funding are strongly encouraged to apply. In an effort to attract new and exceptional scientists, Rutgers has created a Chancellors Scholars Fund to help develop and support research programs of the highest quality faculty. Positions are full-time, tenure-track.

The CII at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Cancer Center is a multidisciplinary and highly collaborative center with laboratories dedicated to researching allergies; chronic autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis; fungal pathogens; pain management; sepsis; toxoplasmosis; and Vitamin D. An exciting emerging area of investigation includes inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.

Cores Facilities include Biostatistics Core; Center for Genome Informatics; Experimental Histology & Confocal Imaging Core; Flow Cytometry and Immunology Core Laboratory; Molecular Resource Facility; and the Transgenic Core Services among others.

The CII is an integral part of the Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases (i3D) a Chancellor level institute on the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) campus. Infection and Inflammation has been selected as a signature area of strategic development and the i3D is already poised to become a national leader in this specialized area.

Administrator: Jennifer Yaney

New Faculty Profiles.............


Darin L. Wiesner, PhD
Nicholas J. Bessman, PhD

Darin L. Wiesner, PhD

Dr. Wiesner performed his doctoral training at the University of Minnesota in the Microbiology, Immunology & Cancer Biology graduate program. His PhD dissertation focused on the induction, suppression, and detrimental consequences of helper T cell responses to pulmonary fungal infections. During his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, he expanded this interest in T cells and fungi to examine how proteolytic allergen damage to the airways is sensed and responded to by lung epithelial cells to drive allergic T cell sensitization and asthma. Dr. Wiesner joined faculty at Rutgers-NJMS in the Fall of 2021 where his lab will investigate how stromal tissues in the lung impact T cell responses to fungal pathogens and allergens.


Nicholas J. Bessman, PhD

Dr. Bessman completed undergraduate training in biochemistry at Iowa State University, where his interest in the molecular foundations of health and disease took hold. After working briefly as a lab technician at Duke University, he undertook graduate training in biochemistry & molecular biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania. There, he discovered that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) can tailor a signaling response to the identity of the activating ligand. Dr. Bessman sought to apply his molecular background to the emerging field of host-microbiota interactions in his post-doctoral research at Weill Cornell Medical School. He subsequently uncovered a novel mode of interaction between immune cells, iron, and the microbiota, with a critical impact on tissue repair after inflammation.

Dr. Bessman opened his research lab in the Center for Immunity and Inflammation at Rutgers NJMS in 2021. The Bessman lab focuses on developing novel in vivo models to probe the interactions between iron, the immune system, growth factor signaling, and the microbiota in the context of inflammatory diseases. The goal of the lab is to discover novel biology with potential for therapeutic impact in diseases like intestinal infection, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This work is generously supported by DP2 and K01 awards from the National Institutes of Health.


IN THE NEWS.............

In November 2021, Dr. Karen Edelblum, Assistant Professor and Chancellor Scholar in the Department of Pathology, Immunology & Laboratory Medicine, and colleagues published a study in Gastroenterology demonstrating a novel role for gd intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) in facilitating the shedding of apoptotic intestinal epithelial cells into the gut lumen, which when dysregulated is correlated with relapse in inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Madeleine Hu, first author on the study demonstrated that gd intraepithelial lymphocytes make extended contact with shedding apoptotic enterocytes and facilitate this process through CD103 (aEb7integrin)-mediated release of extracellular granzymes. The frequency of gd IELs interactions with apoptotic epithelial cells is increased in biopsies from Crohn’s disease patients, suggesting that targeting CD103 or using a pan-β7inhibitor may be a viable approach to control excessive TNF-induced cell shedding and prevent relapse in Crohn’s disease patients.


The i3D and CII received a $1 million grant from the MCJ Amelior Foundation that will support a comprehensive research program in the field of acne and rosacea, including the recruitment of an up-and-coming researcher.