The Duke Center for Research in Autoimmunity and Multiple Sclerosis (DREAMS) is a multidisciplinary group of basic and clinical researchers dedicated to improving our understanding of, and patient care for, MS and autoimmune disease (AI).
DREAMS allows researchers throughout Duke to collaborate, facilitate novel research by the provision of seed funding, and improve education awareness and outreach of MS and auto-immune (AI) diseases. Established in 2015, the nascent DREAMS center includes 31 faculty members from 10 departments within the Duke School of Medicine.
Investigators from the basic sciences are studying AI- and MS-related topics including model systems of disease pathology, immune cell regulation, and function, re-myelination, and the role of environmental factors such as diet on MS and AI diseases. Our clinical research includes the neuroimmunological mechanisms associated with diseases including paraneoplastic syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and pediatric infectious disease, while further characterizing the pathoetiology of MS and its subtypes. An additional underpinning of DREAMS is its investment in clinical and patient education, as well as the initiation of a dedicated LP clinic that will collect cerebrospinal fluid for future MS and AI research.
Simon Gregory, PhD, Director of Research
Christopher Eckstein, MD, Co-Director of Research
Mark Skeen, MD Director of Clinical Research and Education
F. Lee Hartsell, MD, MPH, Director of Connected Health
As directors of clinical research, Mark Skeen, MD, and Chris Eckstein, MD collaborate with researchers within DREAMS, the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and other organizations. They help to identify and recruit study participants, establish new directions for research, and act as an ambassador for DREAMS by convincing researchers within Duke to join the project.
- Bryan Walker, PA-C (Neurology) - Clinical teaching and research
- John Yi, PhD (Surgery) – Myasthenia gravis immune profiling Rehabilitation/Traumatic brain injury
Traumatic Brain Injury and Neurorehabilitation
- Joel Morgenlander, MD (Neurology) - Sports concussion and traumatic brain injury
- Jodi Hawes, MD (Neurology) - Stroke, traumatic brain injury, neurorehabilitation neuro-
- Mays Antoine El-Dairi, MD (Opthamology):
- MS and ophthalmic manifestations
monitoring ophthalmic manifestations in adult and pediatric intracranial hypertension
monitoring eye deformation in high intracranial pressure (ICP)
monitoring vision and optic nerves in babies with neurologic disease from prematurity or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy
- James Provenzale, MD - design and implementation of nanoparticles
- Heather Van Mater, MD, MS - Pediatric AI diseases (RA)/Autoimmune encephalitis
DREAMS' basic research seeks to improve our understanding of the origins and progression of multiple sclerosis, as well as the body's response to the condition and treatment, examining new imaging techniques, specific elements of the body's immune response, the condition of neuronal myelin over time, and how nutrition affects disease progression.
- Glen Jaffe, MD (Opthamology) – OCT/MVEP
- Mari Shinohara, PhD (Immunology) – Model systems of EAE and inflammation
- Maria Ciofani, PhD (Immunology) – Th17 lineage, fate mapping and regulation
- Thomas Tedder, PhD (Immunology) – B-cells and EAE, Lymphoma, NMO spectrum disorder
- Kent Weinhold, PhD (Surgery) - Immunologic signatures of disease, monitoring of immune checkpoint blockade
- Dennis Ko, MD, PhD (Molecular Genetics and Microbiology) – Immunology of host response
- Eric Benner, MD, PhD (Pediatrics) – White matter injury
Nutrition and Immunity:
- Nancie MacIver, MD, PhD (Pediatrics) – Diet and Inflammation
To facilitate research and patient education, DREAMS provides funding for monthly journal clubs and quarterly dinners, bursaries for trainee education, and seed funding for novel high-risk, high-reward research ($100,000 annually) that will transform our understanding of MS and AI, and which will be translated into larger government and foundation-sponsored research.