Christopher C. DeNucci


     Year entered: 2003

     Degrees Received:
     Penn State University
     Premedicine major, Neuroscience/Psychology minors
     B.S., 2002

     University of Minnesota
     Ph.D., 2010, Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology PhD Program
     M.D., 2012, Medical School

Honors and Awards: 
-Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, 2011
-J. Jacob Kaplan Award for Gastroenterology research, MN Medical  Foundation, 2010
-Brandenburg Medical Research Award for exceptional thesis work, MN Medical Foundation, 2010
-NRSA Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD Fellowship (F30), NIDDK, NIH, 2008-2011
-AAAS/Science Program for Excellence in Science, 2007
-Immunology Training Grant Fellowship (T32), NIAID, NIH, 2006-2008
-Award for Outstanding Academic Performance from Medical School, 2004
-Honors Year 1 and 2 Medical School, 2003-2005
-Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Fellowship, 2002-2003

Thesis Advisor:  Yoji Shimizu, Ph.D.

Thesis Research:
In the past several years, I have spent time at the NIH and at the University of Minnesota exploring interests across several disciplines from nuclear imaging to cardiovascular physiology. For my PhD thesis, an interest in the regulation of the intestinal immune system guided my decision to study immunology.

In the lab of Yoji Shimizu, I study integrin adhesion molecules and how these control the localization of T cells throughout the body. Integrins function as cell-cell adhesion molecules and promote entry and retention of T cells into lymphoid and non-lymphoid sites. This is of medical interest, as integrins are involved in the pathogenesis of several autoimmune diseases. Of particular interest to me, antibodies targeting the gut-homing integrin alpha4 beta7 have shown clinical efficacy in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
My thesis work involves the regulation and function of alpha4 beta7 and beta1 integrin on CD4 T cells. This work can be divided into two main areas: (1) The regulation of the gut-homing integrin alpha4 beta7 on T cells and (2) the role of  beta1 integrin in the maintenance of memory CD4 T cells in the bone marrow.   

Publications (pubmed):

Denucci CC, Shimizu Y. {beta}1 Integrin Is Critical for the Maintenance of Antigen-Specific CD4 T Cells in the Bone Marrow but Not Long-Term Immunological Memory. J Immunol. 2011 Apr 1;186(7):4019-26.

DeNucci CC, Pagan AJ, Mitchell JS, and Shimizu Y. Control of alpha4beta7 integrin expression and CD4 T cell homing by the Beta1 integrin subunit. J Immunol. 2010;184:2458-2467.

DeNucci CC, Mitchel JS, Shimizu Y.  Integrins in T cell homing and non-lymphoid sites: Getting there and staying there. 2009. Crit. Rev. Immunol. 2009;29:87-109.

Thomas MS, Mitchell JS, DeNucci CC, Martin AL, Shimizu Y.The p110gamma isoform of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase regulates migration of effector CD4 T lymphocytes into peripheral inflammatory sites. J Leukoc Biol. 2008;84:814-823.

McCue JD, Swingen C, Feldberg T, Caron G, Kolb A, DeNucci CC, Prabhu S, Motilall R, Breviu B, Taylor DA. The real estate of myoblast cardiac transplantation: negative remodeling is associated with location. J Heart Lung Transplant. 2008;27:116-123.

Fujita M, Southwick SM, DeNucci CC, Zoghbi SS, Dillon MS, Baldwin RM, Bozkurt A, Kugaya A, Verhoeff NP, Seibyl JP, Innis RB. Central type benzodiazepine receptors in Gulf War veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2004;56:95-100.

Fujita M, Ichise M, van Dyck CH, Zoghbi SS, Tamagnan G, Mukhin AG, Bozkurt A, Seneca N, Tipre D, DeNucci CC, Iida H, Vaupel DB, Horti AG, Koren AO, Kimes AS, London ED, Seibyl JP, Baldwin RM, Innis RB. Quantification of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in human brain using [123I]5-I-A-85380 SPET. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2003;30:1620-1629.