Dr. Jean Marshall

Dr. Jean Marshall

Dr. Jean Marshall

Inflammation, Infection & Immunity, Molly Appeal

Manipulating immunity:
Dr. Jean Marshall explores ways to prevent allergies, cancers and inflammation

Immunologist Dr. Jean Marshall is working with colleagues to explore immune modulating strategies for preventing and treating chronic diseases where the immune system has an important role, including allergies, arthritis and cancer.

Dr. Marshall and a team of researchers and clinicians at Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax and New Brunswick, together with collaborators in Finland and the United States are studying how some people are able to recover well following a heart attack or treatment for rheumatoid arthritis—while others are not. "We want to learn what's different in the immune systems of the people who respond well to treatment and heal, versus those who do not," explains Dr. Marshall, lead researcher of the $2.4 million study. "Our team has studied over 100 patients with early rheumatoid arthritis or who have recently had a heart attack analyzing their immune systems and charting their recovery. We are studying human immunology during successful healing to find immune targets to promote this process."

In separate studies Dr. Marshall and collaborators across Canada are examining the development of allergies. "Babies who are breast fed have a lower risk of developing food allergy," says Dr. Marshall, a professor in Dalhousie's Department of Microbiology & Immunology. "This led us to analyze the immune-modulating elements in breast and cow's milk with a view to finding new ways to prevent food allergy development."

Dr. Marshall and colleagues, Dr. Lisa Barrett and Dr. Paola Marignani, also discovered that exposure to certain common over-the-counter medications prevents breast cancer in preclinical models of the disease. The researchers are now examining how these medications affect the immune systems of healthy humans.

The efforts of Dr. Marshall, her team and all of her collaborators will be enhanced by the advanced cell analysis capacity provided by the ImageStreamX Mark II, to be purchased with proceeds from Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation's 2018-19 Fall Molly Appeal.

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