Abbe N. De Vallejo, PhD

Abbe N. De Vallejo, PhD

Contact

9118 Rangos Research Center
4401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Ph: 412-692-8455

Fax: 412-692-5565

andv26@pitt.edu

Education

  • Postdoctoral (Rheumatology) - Mayo Graduate School of Medicine
  • Postdoctoral (Molecular Immunology) - Mayo Graduate School of Medicine
  • PhD in Microbiology & Immunology, University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • SC.M. in Pathobiology, University of Stirling

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Associate Professor, Department of Immunology

Associate Professor, Division of Rheumatology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Member, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Director, Flow Cytometry Core Facility

Member, Tenure and Academic Freedom Committee, University Senate

Affiliated Investigator, Pittsburgh Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center

Member, Graduate Program in Microbiology and Immunology (PMI)

About Research

Immunobiology of Aging.  Aging has two faces. One face pertains to age-related physiologic damage; hence we are investigating the immunology of frailty, a discrete clinical syndrome in which affected elders (defined as 65 years and older) are functionally dependent on others for their activities of daily living. The other, less studied face of aging is successful aging, exemplified by community dwelling elders who are highly functional despite long history of diseases and/or concurrent co-morbid conditions. We are interested in the fundamental question: What are the immunologic determinants of long-term survivorship? Seeking answer(s) to this question requires a research paradigm shift from the usual young-vs-old comparisons to cursory evaluation of clinically-defined groups of elders. To complement these human studies, we also are examining a mouse model of successful aging, the PAPPA-/- mouse, a novel strain that has 40% extension in lifespan, has low levels of midlife/late life pathology, and is resistant to age-associated thymic atrophy. 

Immunobiology of inflammatory syndromes. We focus on juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and adult-onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We are pursuing the role of premature immune aging as an etiology of these rheumatic diseases. This is based on our findings about telomere erosion and in vivo accumulation of senescent or pre-senescent T cells disproportionate with age. Hence, we are of the opinion that RA and JIA are suitable models of immune aging. We interested in three questions: What drives immune cell senescence in JIA and RA?  Are prematurely senescent immune cells the cause of disease, and be targets for therapy?

Selected Publications

Metti AL, Aizenstein H, Yaffe K, Boudreau RM, Newman A, Launer L, Gianaros PJ, Lopez OL, Saxton J, Ives DG, Kritchevsky S, Vallejo AN, Rosano C. 2015. Trajectories of peripheral interleukin-6, structure of the hippocampus, and cognitive impairment over 14 years in older adults. Neurobiol Aging 36:3038-3044.

Fitzpatrick ME, Singh V, Bertolet M, Lucht L, Kessinger C, Michel J, Logar A, Weinman DR, McMahon D, Norris KA, Vallejo AN, Morris A. 2014. Relationships of pulmonary function, inflammation, and T cell activation and senescence in an HIV-infected cohort. AIDS 28:2505-2515.

Dvergsten JA, Mueller RG, Griffin P, Abedin S, Pishko A, Michel JJ, Rosenkranz ME, Reed AM, Kietz DA, Vallejo AN. 2013. Premature cell senescence and T cell receptor-independent activation of CD8T cells in juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 65:2201-2210.

Griffin P, Michel JJ, Huysman K, Logar AJ, Vallejo AN. 2012. Integration of immunity with physical and cognitive function in definitions of successful aging. Aging Dis 3:34-50.

Vallejo AN, Michel JJ, Bale LK, Lemster BH, Borghesi L, Conover CA. 2009. Resistance to age-dependent thymic atrophy in long-lived mice that have deficiency in pregnancy-associated plasma protein A. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 106:11252-11257

Lemster BH, Michel JJ, Montag DT, Paat JJ, Studenski SA, Newman AB, Vallejo AN. 2008. Induction of CD56 expression and TCR-independent activation of T cells with aging. J Immunol 180:1979-1990.

Michel JJ, Turesson C, Lemster B, Atkins SR, Iclozan C, Bongartz T, Wasko MC, Matteson E, Vallejo AN. 2007. CD56-expressing T cells that have features of senescence are expanded in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 56:43-57