Shannon Margaret Wallet, PhD

Associate Dean for Research Discovery and Innovation

Interim Chair, Oral and Craniofacial Health Sciences

Education

  • PhD, UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Summary

My research interests are focused on mechanisms associated with altered innate immune functions, which lead to dysregulated adaptive immunity. Specifically, our laboratory focuses on the contribution of epithelial cell biology and signaling to innate and adaptive immune homeostasis and dysfunction. We study the contribution of what I term ‘epithelial cell innate immune (dys)function’ to four major conditions: pancreatic cancer, type 1 diabe tes (autoimmunity), periodontal disease (autoinflammation), and burn injury. In these conditions, our laboratory focuses on the contribution of epithelial cell biology and signaling to innate and adaptive immune homeostasis and dysfunction.

We study the contribution of what I term ‘epithelial cell innate immune (dys)function’ to three major disease conditions: pancreatic cancer, type 1 diabetes (autoimmunity), and periodontal disease (autoinflammation). While appearing to be a diverse research program, we have found that many of the mechanisms and systems in play are surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) similar allowing for rapid translation of our findings.

Importantly, previous investigations into the role of epithelial cells in immunobiology have been hindered by a lack of robust primary cell culture techniques, which our laboratory has been able to overcome using both animal and human tissues. Thus, using our novel and unique tools we are able to evaluate our findings in the human conditions, again making translation of our findings that much more feasible.

In addition, our laboratory has been a training home for pre-doctoral fellows in pursuit of their PhD, and I have served on over 45 graduate student committees. We also have a long history of providing resources and mentorship to junior faculty and dual trained individuals, including DMD, PhD and MD, PhD. Using tools, skills and resources gained from my past capacity as the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at University of Florida and my current position as Associate Dean of Research in the Adams School of Dentistry our group strives to meet the needs of all individuals wishing to part-take in research intensive experiences.

A complete list of publications can be found here.