Thomas Nutman, M.D.

Thomas Nutman, M.D.

Lab Chief, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases
Chief, Helminth Immunology Section
Chief, Clinical Parasitology Section

Major Areas of Research

  • Regulation of the host immune response to parasitic helminth infection (primarily filarial infections and those caused by soil-transmitted helminths)
  • Influence of helminth infection on expression of non-parasitic infections, atopy, and asthma
  • Molecular characterization of tissue-invasive helminth parasites
  • Type 2-associated responses and their control in parasitic helminth infections and related disorders
  • Clinical definition and pathogenesis underlying parasitic diseases
  • New therapeutic interventions and methods of diagnosis in parasitic infections

Program Description

Surface expression of a filarial parasite-encoded molecule

Surface expression (in red) of a filarial parasite-encoded molecule responsible for immune evasion in humans. Actin filaments are stained in green and nuclei in blue.

Credit
NIAID

The focus of the Helminth Immunology Section is the study of host resistance and immune regulation in parasitic helminth infections of global importance. The ultimate goal of this work is prevention of infection and disease. Our work focuses on both the host response to helminth infection and the molecular basis for parasitism in helminths and the prototypical responses they induce.

Much of our work involves the analysis of host-parasite interaction using in vitro systems and studies of cells from infected patients ex vivo. Current activities include 1) functional mapping of the earliest host-parasite interaction that influences the polarized immune responses that are the hallmarks of these infections; 2) genomic and proteomic definition of each of the filarial parasites to identify parasite-encoded therapeutic, diagnostic, and vaccine-related targets; 3) studies of pathogenesis underlying disease manifestations (e.g., elephantiasis) in filarial infections; 4) studies of immunologic bystander effects of chronic helminth infection on non-parasitic infections (HIV, tuberculosis, malaria), atopy, and autoimmune diseases; 5) the regulation of igE and eosinophilia in the context of human helminth infections.

The Clinical Parasitology Section is an interdisciplinary group of clinically trained LPD staff members who oversee the clinical research portfolio ad provide clinical care, consultations, and training in tropical medicine and parasitology.

The overriding goals of this program are

  • To gain insight into the clinical syndromes associated with parasitic infections
  • To understand and help define the pathogenesis underlying clinical disease
  • To identify better ways of treating individual infections and to prevent secondary consequences of treatment
  • To develop better diagnostic tools for the species-specific diagnosis of active parasitic infection

Although the section has protocols to see patients with any parasitic infection, the majority of patients have neurocysticercosis, filarial infections (lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, loiasis, mansonellosis), strongyloidiasis, hookwork infections, ascaraisis, giardiasis, echinococcosis, and leishmaniasis. We occasionally see patients with gnathostomiasis, African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease, and malaria, among others.

Biography

Dr. Nutman received his A.B. from Brown University and his M.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He did an internal medicine residency at New York University (Bellevue) and postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases (LPD). He is board certified in internal medicine and allergy and immunology. He also holds a diploma/certificate in tropical medicine and travelers’ health. He has been at NIH in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases since 1982, where he is currently LPD's chief, as well as chief of both the Helminth Immunology Section and the Clinical Parasitology Section. In addition, he is the director of the NIAID International Center for Excellence in Research (ICER) located in Chennai, India, as well as director of the filariasis unit at the NIAID ICER in Mali. He is on numerous advisory committees and editorial boards and holds patents related to parasite diagnosis and vaccine development. He is the author or coauthor of over 600 papers and book chapters and has received multiple awards for his work in tropical medicine and immunology.

Research Group

Helminth Immunology Section Research Group Picture

Top Row, L-R: Robert Thompson, William Sears, Thomas Nutman, Joseph Kubofcik, Sasisekhar Bennuru, Marisa Salazar

Bottom Row, L-R: Pedro Gazzinelli Guimaraes, Elise O’Connell, Aissatou Bah, Gayatri Sanku, Madilynn Corda, Jonah Kupritz

Credit
NIAID

Publications

Queiroz Prado R, Ricciardi A, Sciurba J, Kupritz J, Moser M, Kamenyeva O, Nutman TB. House dust mite sensitization drives cross-reactive immune responses to homologous helminth proteins. PLoS Pathog. 2021 Mar 2;17(3):e1009337.

Ricciardi A, Nutman TB. IL-10 and Its Related Superfamily Members IL-19 and IL-24 Provide Parallel/Redundant Immune-Modulation in Loa loa Infection. J Infect Dis. 2021 Feb 3;223(2):297-305. 

Easton A, Gao S, Lawton SP, Bennuru S, Khan A, Dahlstrom E, Oliveira RG, Kepha S, Porcella SF, Webster J, Anderson R, Grigg ME, Davis RE, Wang J, Nutman TB. Molecular evidence of hybridization between pig and human Ascaris indicates an interbred species complex infecting humans. Elife. 2020 Nov 6;9:e61562. 

Bennuru S, Oduro-Boateng G, Osigwe C, Del Valle P, Golden A, Ogawa GM, Cama V, Lustigman S, Nutman TB. Integrating Multiple Biomarkers to Increase Sensitivity for the Detection of Onchocerca volvulus Infection. J Infect Dis. 2020 May 11;221(11):1805-1815. 

Ricciardi A, Bonne-Année S, Sciurba J, Karmele EP, Fujiwara RT, Nutman TB. Allergen presensitization drives an eosinophil-dependent arrest in lung-specific helminth development. J Clin Invest. 2019 Aug 5;129(9):3686-3701. 

Kamgno J, Pion SD, Chesnais CB, Bakalar MH, D'Ambrosio MV, Mackenzie CD, Nana-Djeunga HC, Gounoue-Kamkumo R, Njitchouang GR, Nwane P, Tchatchueng-Mbouga JB, Wanji S, Stolk WA, Fletcher DA, Klion AD, Nutman TB, Boussinesq M. A Test-and-Not-Treat Strategy for Onchocerciasis in Loa loa-Endemic Areas. N Engl J Med. 2017 Nov 23;377(21):2044-2052. 

Visit PubMed for a complete publication list.

Patents & Clinical Trials

Patents

Nutman TB, Bennuru S, Drame PM, inventors; The United States of America as represented by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Compositions and methods for detecting Loa loa. United States patent US 10,598,655. 24 Mar 2020.

Mitre EE, Morris C, Bennuru S, Nutman TB, inventors;  The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc., The United States Government, as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, assignees. Immunogenic compositions and vaccines for preventing or treating filarial disease. United states patent US 10,441,642. 15 Oct 2019.

Nutman TB, Fink DL, Burbelo PD, Kubofcik J, inventors; The United States of America as represented by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Diagnostic assays and methods of use for detection of filarial infection. U.S. application 61/410,239. 04 Nov 2010.

Nutman TB, Abraham D, inventors; The United States of America as represented by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Vaccine and methods of use against Strongyloides stercoralis infection. World patent WO/2011/097216. 11 Aug 2011.

Lazzerio MESL, Nutman TB, Weiss N, inventors; The United States of America, assignee. Nucleotide molecule encoding a specific Onchocerca volvulus antigen for the immunodiagnosis of onchocerciasis. United States patent US 5,416,009. 16 May 1995.

Clinical Trials

Dr. Nutman works on a number of clinical trials with the Clinical Parasitology Section.

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