Faculty and Staff

JOHN F. ALCORN, PhD

Dr. Alcorn received his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Duke University in 2003. During this time he worked with Dr. Jo Rae Wright on the host defense properties of lung surfactant proteins in the context of bacterial pneumonia. Following his training, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont Lung Center with Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger.

Dr. Alcorn's projects were focused on inflammatory signaling in mouse models of asthma and acute lung injury. His expertise includes immunology, cell biology, molecular biology, lung physiology, and disease modeling. His current position is in the Division of Pulmonology, Allergy, and Immunology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where he is focused on the immunologic mechanisms of severe and steroid insensitive asthma, a significant source of morbidity and mortality in the western world. He is particularly focused on T cell immunity and epithelial cell biology.

 

SHEAN AUJLA, MD

Dr Shean Aujla is a pediatric pulmonologist at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. She completed her pediatric pulmonary fellowship at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2007, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

Her current interest is in pediatric asthma and in asthma clinical trials through the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's AsthmaNet program. Dr Aujla sees a variety of pulmonary patients however her clinical focus is children with asthma, and specifically, difficult to treat asthma. She also is heavily involved in several pediatric asthma clinical research studies both at the Children's Hospital and in collaboration with Dr Sally Wenzel. Dr Aujla participates in several outreach and asthma education events for surrounding primary care providers, schools and families in the community.

 

NADIA BOUTAOUI, PhD

Dr. Boutaoui obtained her PhD in genetics from the University of Reading (England) and trained as a postdoctoral associate at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (Harvard), where she later became an epigenetics specialist. She joined the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh as a Laboratory Director in July 2010.

Dr. Boutaoui has extensive experience in genetics/epigenetics and has implemented and managed genome wide genotyping and methylation platforms for multiple studies. She is interested in using genetics and epigenetics tools to understand the effect of nutrition and environmental exposures on respiratory diseases such COPD and asthma. She has established a quality control pipeline for Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).Dr. Boutaoui and colleagues have identified FAM13A as a COPD susceptibility locus and showed that variable DNA methylation is associated with COPD and lung function.

 

JOHN BREHM, MD

Dr. Brehm obtained his MD degree from the Ohio State University College of Medicine, and completed further training in internal medicine (Northwestern) and subspecialty training in pulmonary and critical care medicine (Harvard). He joined the faculty of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh as a research instructor in pediatrics in 2010, with a secondary clinical appointment in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Brehm's research focuses on the epidemiology and genetics of airway diseases such as asthma and COPD. He is particularly interest in the role of vitamin D in childhood asthma. Along with his mentor Dr. Celedón, he has shown that insufficient vitamin D levels are associated with increased asthma severity in two separate populations (one in Costa Rica, and another in the United States and Canada). Dr. Brehm is also interested in the separate effects of racial ancestry and poverty on the severity of childhood asthma, and how genetic variants and racial ancestry affect lung function in asthmatic children.

 

JUAN C. CELEDON, M.D., Dr.P.H.

Dr. Celedón is the Niels K. Jerne Professor of Pediatrics and the Division Chief of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Celedón completed medical school at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana School of Medicine in his native Colombia. He trained in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in New York City and in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Brown University School of Medicine. In 1999, he became a research fellow/instructor at Channing Laboratory. There he developed a research program into the epidemiology of lung disease. Since that time, his research has focused on the effects genetic variants, environmental exposures and behavioral factors have—working independently and together—on the origin and development of lung disease. He is also a Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Director of the Pediatric Environmental Medicine Center of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Dr. Celedón's research goals are to identify genetic and environmental influences on the development of airway diseases in general and in ethnic minorities in particular. He leads research studies of the genetics and epidemiology of asthma in Puerto Rican children, as well as a study of the genetics of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Costa Rica.

 

PIERRE-ALAIN DAUBY, MD

Dr. Dauby is a board-certified adult / pediatric allergist and clinical immunologist. He received a BA with a major in Biology from Hiram College, Hiram Ohio, and his M.D. from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, F. Hébert School of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. After medical school, he underwent five years of additional training in Internal Medicine and adult / pediatric Allergy & Immunology at the Wilford Hall United States Air Force Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

During his time with the USAF he has served as Chief of Allergy and Immunology clinic at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland and as the Allergy/Immunology consultant to the USAF European command Surgeon General while stationed at RAF Lakenheath in England. He joined the division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2011. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (FAAAAI) and a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

 

MERRITT FAJT, MD

Dr. Merritt Fajt attended college at Duke University in Durham, NC where she earned a Bachelor of science in Biology and graduated cum laude. She attended medical school at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA followed by an Internal Medicine Residency at the Pennsylvania State University Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA. She did her Allergy-Immunology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center/ Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, is board certified in Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Internal Medicine and is now an Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Fajt's clinical interests include asthma, environmental, food or drug allergies and immunologic disorders. She also conducts translational research on severe asthma through the University of Pittsburgh Asthma institute and enjoys participating in various asthma community outreach programs.

 

DEBORAH GILLMAN, PhD

Dr. Gillman is a clinical psychologist who recently joined the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Gillman received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from The City University of New York and completed her advanced clinical training at the St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, also in New York City. She is available to provide consultation and psychotherapy to patients with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Dr. Gillman offers services to patients experiencing anxiety, depressed mood, or general distress related to their illness, or other life circumstances that, in the context of illness, are impacting their health and well-being. Dr. Gillman also is available to meet with family members and other care partners who have a need for additional support, or who wish to consult on the many challenges that arise in families throughout the course of illness and treatment. Please visit Clinical Services for additional information.

 

TODD GREEN, MD

Dr. Todd Green is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is the training program director of the UPMC Allergy/Immunology Fellowship. He completed a fellowship in allergy and immunology at Duke University in 2006, where his research focused on oral immunotherapy for food allergy as well as clinical characteristics of food allergic children. He is board certified in allergy/immunology and pediatrics.

Dr. Green sees patients along the entire spectrum of allergic and immunologic diseases, including asthma, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, urticaria, angioedema, atopic dermatitis, food allergy, eosinophilic esophagitis, and primary immunodeficiency. His clinical research activities have involved food allergy, asthma, primary immunodeficiency, and hereditary angioedema.

 

ALLYSON LARKIN, MD

Dr. Allyson Larkin is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in the division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology. She attended medical school at the University of Pittsburgh followed by an Internal Medicine Residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She did her Allergy/Immunology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center/ Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and is board certified in Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Internal Medicine. Dr. Larkin sees a variety of allergic disorders including allergic rhinitis, eczema, food allergies, drug allergies, eosinophilic disorders and mast cell diseases as well as immunodeficiency. She has an interest in difficult to treat asthma and has a joint clinic with Dr. Aujla evaluating these patients.

 

CHITRA RAO NATALIE, MD

Dr. Chitra Rao Natalie is board certified in Allergy & Immunology and Internal Medicine. She received her medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University and then went on to complete her Internal Medicine residency and chief residency at the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her Allergy & Immunology fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. She is currently a Clinical Instructor of Medicine and joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty in 2012.

Dr. Natalie has been involved in severe asthma research specifically perimenstrual asthma; asthma that worsens in females prior to or around time of menses. Her clinical interests also include urticaria (hives), angioedema, atopic and contact dermatitis, food allergy, immunodeficiency, drug allergy, and desensitization.

 

ANDREJ PETROV, MD

Dr. Andrej Petrov is board certified in Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Internal Medicine. He graduated cum laude from University of Belgrade School of Medicine in Belgrade, Serbia. He completed residency in Internal Medicine at Harrisburg Hospital, Pennsylvania and fellowship in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. He trains allergy-immunology fellows and pulmonary fellows in adult allergy and clinical immunology.

Dr. Petrov's clinical interests include upper and lower airway allergic diseases (allergic rhinitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, asthma), paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction, adult immunodeficiencies, drug allergy and desensitization, chronic cough, urticaria ( hives) and angioedema, food allergy, and atopic and contact dermatitis.

 

ANURADHA RAY, PHD

Dr. Anuradha Ray is a Professor of Medicine and Immunology at UPMC Montefiore. She received her Ph.D. from Calcutta University in India. She underwent postdoctoral training at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and at Rockefeller University in New York. She was on the faculty at Rockefeller University and at Yale University between the years 1990 and 2001 before moving to the University of Pittsburgh.

The primary goal of Dr. Ray's research is to understand immune mechanisms involving interactions between dendritic cells (DCs), T helper cells and T regulatory cells as they relate to the regulation of chronic inflammatory diseases in the lung and the gut such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. She is also interested in mucosal defense mechanisms against infectious agents. All studies in her laboratory employ genetically altered mice and various immunological, molecular, biochemical and imaging techniques. Her research has been continuously funded by multiple grants from the NIH. Currently, she is Principal Investigator on 3 grants, 2 RO1s and a SCCOR grant Project and is also a co-investigator on additional grants. She was invited to be a member of the Faculty of 1000 Biology in the Immunology discipline.

 

PRABIR RAY, PHD

Dr. Prabir Ray is a Professor of Medicine and Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. from Calcutta University in India. He received postdoctoral training at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute in New York. He was on the faculty at Yale University between 1990 and 2001 after which he joined the faculty in Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine with a co-appointment in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Ray pioneered the development of inducible cell-specific transgenic mice in the early years of his career and using this system showed an important role for the growth factor KGF in protection from lung epithelial cell death during lung injury. His research in the area of innate immune mechanisms regulating adaptive immunity led to the identification of a central role of the c-kit-PI3 kinase axis in promoting IL-6 but inhibiting IL-12 production in dendritic cells resulting in Th17 and Th2 differentiation and development of the asthma phenotype in an animal model. Ongoing research in Dr. Ray's laboratory encompasses two major areas, which are studies of innate immune mechanisms that mediate resolution of lung inflammation and protect from lung injury after pneumonia and the impact of early life viral infections on immune mechanisms that predispose to asthma in adult life. These studies utilize animal models of disease and human samples which are analyzed using immunological, molecular, biochemical and imaging techniques. Dr. Ray's research has been continuously funded by grants from the American Lung Association and the NIH.

 

CATHY VITARI, RN, BSN, AE-C

Catherine Vitari is the clinical research nurse at the University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute at UPMC/UPSOM. She studied at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and received her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University. She is also a certified asthma educator. Her interests are in patient education and adherence.

 

MICHAEL YONAS, DrPH

Michael Yonas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Deputy Director of the Community Engagement Core within the University of Pittsburgh's Clinical and Translational Science Institute. He completed his DrPH and MPH degrees from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and post-doctoral training in community-engagement and partnered research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His mixed methods research utilizes traditional and innovative creative methodologies to understand and address social and environmental influences and stressors impacting acute and chronic disease conditions such as childhood asthma, health and well-being of individuals living within economically disadvantages settings. Dr. Yonas' active research with the Asthma Institute examines the intersection of symptoms of depression with asthma severity and disease control.