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Laboratory of Allergic Diseases

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Dean D. Metcalfe, M.D.

Photo of Dean D. Metcalf, M.D. 

Chief, Laboratory of Allergic Diseases
Chief, Mast Cell Biology Section, LAD

Major Areas of Research

  • Identification of mutations and polymorphisms in human disease that affect the mast cell compartment
  • Characterization of key signaling pathways in human mast cells that control mast cell responses
  • Application of this information to the diagnosis and treatment of anaphylaxis and other allergic and immunologic diseases

Program Description

The mast cell is the focus of the Mast Cell Biology Section (MCBS) research effort. This multifunctional inflammatory cell is involved in both innate and acquired immunity and plays a central role in the induction of allergic inflammation. An integrated program investigating mast cell biology includes studies into the growth and differentiation of mast cells, mast-cell signal transduction, and the products generated by mast cells that lead to disease. The MCBS program emphasizes basic research that may be translated into the clinic, where protocols include studies on the pathogenesis of urticaria, anaphylaxis, and mastocytosis. Research efforts have contributed to the identification of mutations in clonal mast cell disorders, understanding signaling through KIT and the high affinity IgE receptors, and how alterations in the control of mast cell mediator production affect human disease.


Dr. Metcalfe received his M.D. at the University of Tennessee and an M.S. in microbiology at the University of Michigan, where he also did a residency in internal medicine. Dr. Metcalfe then trained in allergy and immunology during a fellowship at NIAID, followed by training in rheumatology while a fellow in immunology at the Robert Brigham Hospital in Boston. In 1995, he was appointed as the first chief of the newly created Laboratory of Allergic Diseases at NIAID. He is a past president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and a past chair of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. Dr. Metcalfe is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and a member of the Association of American Physicians, Collegium Internationale Allergologicum, and American Clinical and Climatological Association.

Research Group

Dean Metcalfe, M.D., Section Chief
Melody Carter, M.D., Staff Clinician
Hirsh Komarow, M.D., Staff Clinician
Calman Prussin, M.D., Staff Clinician
Geethani Bandara, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate
Yun Bai, M.S., Senior Research Associate
Yuzhi Yin, M.D., Ph.D., Biologist
Avanti Desai, M.S., Biologist
Glenn Cruse, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow
Michael Beaven, Ph.D., Scientist Emeritus
Arnold Kirshenbaum, M.D., Special Volunteer
Rosa Munoz-Cano, M.D., Ph.D., Visiting Fellow
Do-Kyun Kim, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow
Ana Olivera, Ph.D., Staff Scientist
Joseph Kulinski, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of the Metcalfe group
Back row, left to right: Glenn Cruse, Do-Kyun Kim, Geethani Bandara, Joseph Kulinski, Yuzhi Yin, Avanti Desai, Linda Scott
Front row, left to right: Roza Munoz-Cano, Hirsh Komarow, Melody Carter, Dean Metcalfe, Calman Prussin, Ana Olivera, Arnold Kirshenbaum ​

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Selected Publications

Chan EC, Bai Y, Kirshenbaum AS, Fischer ER, Simakova O, Bandara G, Scott LM, Wisch LB, Cantave D, Carter MC, Lewis JC, Noel P, Maric I, Gilfillan AM, Metcalfe DD, Wilson TM. Mastocytosis associated with a rare germline KIT K509I mutation displays a well-differentiated mast cell phenotype. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 Feb 27. Epub ahead of print.

Meyer JA, Gorbach M, Liu WM, Medic N, Young M, Nelson C, Arceo S, Desai A, Metcalfe DD, Komarow HD. Mast cell dependent vascular changes associated with an acute response to cold immersion in primary contact urticaria. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56773.

Cruse G, Beaven MA, Bradding P, Gilfillan AM, Metcalfe DD. A truncated splice-variant of FceRIB is critical for microtubule formation and degranulation in mast cells. Immunity. 2013 May 23;38(5):906-17.

Medic M, Desai A, Olivera A, Rivera J, Birnbaumer L, Abramovitz J, Beaven MA, Gilfillan AM, Metcalfe DD. Knockout of the Trpc1 gene reveals that TRPC1 can promote recovery from anaphylaxis by negatively regulating mast-cell TNF-a production. Cell Calcium. 2013 May-Jun;53(5-6):315-26.

Jung MY, Smrz D, Desai A, Bandara G, Ito T, Iwaki S, Kang JH, Andrade MV, Hilderbrand SC, Brown JM, Beaven MA, Metcalfe DD, Gilfillan AM. IL-33 induces a hyporesponsive phenotype in human and mouse mast cells. J Immunol. 2013 Jan 15;190(2):531-8.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

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Last Updated January 21, 2015