Allen Laboratory

Irving Coy Allen, MBA, PhD

Assistant Professor
Inflammatory Disease
Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology
Duck Pond Drive Research Complex

Office: 540-231-7551
Lab: 540-231-1955

Dr. Allen's faculty bio

About the Lab

Our laboratory conducts research focused on exploring the intersection between inflammatory diseases, host-microbe interactions, and cancer, specifically to address these questions:

  • What are the critical factors associated with the initiation and resolution of inflammation?
  • Overzealous inflammation is directly associated with a myriad of human and veterinary diseases. How can we control this overzealous immune response and maintain immune system homeostasis?

Research Interests

Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs)

We are interested in understanding the contribution of unique families of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) in modulating disease pathogenesis. PRRs are proteins that recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), which are present within viruses, bacteria, and other microbial species.

PRRs are also responsible for sensing damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), which are produced by host cells under a variety of pathologic conditions to coordinate the immune response to cellular damage and/or stress.

PRR figure

PAMPs and DAMPs are recognized by three major classes of PRRs:

  • The Toll-like receptors (TLRs);
  • Retinoic acid inducible gene-I (RIG-I)-like receptors (RLRs), and
  • The nucleotide-binding domain-leucine-rich repeat-containing molecules ("NOD-like" receptors; NLRs).

These three protein families and their respective signaling cascades form the foundation of the innate immune system.

The overarching goal of our research program is to elucidate the mechanisms associated with PRR regulation of immune system homeostasis in human and veterinary health and to gain greater insight into the role of these proteins in modulating disease pathobiology.