Annet Kirabo, DVM, PhD

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Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology

Research Description

The current goal of my research program is to define the molecular mechanisms underlying activation of the immune system in response to hypertensive stimuli including excess dietary salt, sympathetic nerve outflow, and oxidative stress. We are attempting to uncover the mechanisms by which hypertensive stimuli lead to accumulation of isolevuglandins (IsoLGs) in antigen presenting cells and how these may activate the immune system. We are using novel cutting-edge methods to isolate MHC-associated peptides, and use mass spectrometry and proteomics to identify IsoLG-modified peptides presented by MHCs in hypertension. Our goal is to use these modified peptides to design immunotherapeutic approaches in hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Brief Description
Dr. Kirabo is interested in understanding the role of inflammation in hypertension. She obtained her PhD from the Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics at the University of Florida College of Medicine in August 2011. During her PhD training, she was awarded an American Heart Association (AHA) predoctoral fellowship to determine the specific involvement of vascular smooth muscle cell expression of Jak2 in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. As a postdoctoral research fellow under the mentorship of Dr. David Harrison at Vanderbilt, she has investigated the role of inflammation in hypertension. Her studies have found that hypertension leads to activation of antigen presenting dendritic cells and that this is superoxide- and isoketal-mediated. She was awarded an AHA postdoctoral fellowship to complete these studies, which are now published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Dr. Kirabo’s current work involves investigating the mechanisms by which sodium promotes production of immunogenic isoketals in dendritic cells and how these isoketals act as neoantigens in hypertension.
Email
annet.kirabo@vumc.org

Education

PhD - University of Florida
M.Sc., Saint Cloud State University , Saint Cloud, Minnesota
D.V.M., Makerere University, Uganda