Michael Whitfield, PhD
Institution: Department of Genetics, Dartmouth Medical School
Academic rank: Associate Professor
Graduate school: University of North Carolina/Ph.D./1999
Mailing address: HB7400, Department of Genetics, Hanover, NH 03755
Summary of academic interest: Clarifying the molecular heterogeneity in scleroderma using high throughput gene expression profiling to define diagnostic biomarkers and deregulated pathways.
The goal of my research is to capture the heterogeneity in scleroderma at the molecular level with gene expression profiling and NextGen sequencing. We have demonstrated systematic differences in the gene expression of scleroderma skin (Whitfield et al. PNAS 2003) and identified gene expression based subsets in the skin of scleroderma patients (Milano et al. PLoS ONE 2008). The labs goal is to map the molecular pathways underlying each subset and developing diagnostic test to stratify patients based on their different molecular pathways. We recently demonstrated that deregulation of the TGFbeta pathway underlies a subsets of patients (Sargent et al. J. Invest. Derm. 2010), while IL13/IL4 deregulation underlie the inflammatory subset of patients (Greenblatt et al, 2011). We have mapped each subset to appropriate mouse models and defined novel pathways contributing to disease pathogenesis.