Sloan Lewis, Ph.D.

What if we can identify new ways of diagnosing and treating milk allergy in children?

Cow’s milk allergy is the most common food allergy in infants and young children, and the prevalence is increasing. There are no approved treatments except avoidance, which is dangerous because of the widespread use of cow’s milk in food products. To make things more challenging, we do not currently have reliable ways of diagnosing food allergy, making this research critically important. A specific immune cell, the monocyte, is known to be involved in inflammatory diseases, but the role these cells play in the causes and effects of food allergy has yet to be explored. For my SPARK project, I will analyze monocytes in a cohort of children with cow’s milk allergy and try to discover an “immune signature” or a special signal from the cell that we can detect. We could then try to use that immune signature for diagnosing cow’s milk allergy or potentially try to target these cells in treatment.

SPARKing Impact: A specific immune cell, the monocyte, is known to be involved in inflammatory diseases, but the role these cells play in the causes and effects of food allergy has yet to be explored. My goal is to discover a special immune signal that could be used to improve diagnostics and treatment of this disease.