Allergy and Immunology Research

The Division of Allergy and Immunology partnered in the 1980s with the Department of Public Health Sciences at Henry Ford Health System to form the Center for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Research (CAAIR). Co-led by allergist Edward Zoratti, M.D., and epidemiologist Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., CAAIR is focused on the primary prevention and management of allergic disorders including food allergy, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, and asthma.

Allergy and asthma research

  • Longitudinal Birth Cohort Research: A primary focus of CAAIR involves two large, NIH-funded studies to investigate the natural history of asthma and allergy
  • Microbes, Allergy, Asthma, and Pets (MAAP) Study: This 5-year federally-funded study explores exposures that may increase or decrease a child’s chances of developing allergies or asthma. The study aims to investigate the impact of childhood microbial and pet exposure on immune development. The MAAP project also includes funding for follow-up on the WHEALS cohort at age 10 years.
  • Inner City Asthma Consortium: This consortium focuses on the investigation of genetic associations with asthma and allergy using tailored, electronically-delivered asthma interventions. Additional focus includes the role of vitamin D in asthma and allergy.

Recent research-related publications

Ownby DR, Peterson EL, Wegienka G, Woodcroft KJ, Nicholas C, Zoratti E, Johnson CC. Are cats and dogs the major source of endotoxin in homes? Indoor Air 2013;23(3):219-26.

Wegienka G, Johnson CC, Zoratti E, Havstad S. Racial differences in allergic sensitization: recent findings and future directions. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 2013;13(3):255-61.

Wegienka G, Havstad S, Joseph CL, Zoratti E, Ownby D, Johnson CC. Allergic sensitization frequency and wheezing differences in early life between black and white children. Allergy Asthma Proc 2012;33(6):493-9.

Wegienka G, Havstad S, Joseph CL, Zoratti E, Ownby D, Woodcroft K, Johnson CC. Racial disparities in allergic outcomes in African Americans emerge as early as age 2 years. Clin Exp Allergy 2012;42(6):909-17.

Porter M, Wegienka G, Havstad S, Nageotte CG, Johnson CC, Ownby DR, Zoratti EM. Relationship between childhood body mass index and young adult asthma. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2012;109(6):408-411.

Havstad SL, Johnson CC, Zoratti EM, Ezell JM, Woodcroft K, Ownby DR, Wegienka G. Tobacco smoke exposure and allergic sensitization in children: a propensity score analysis. Respirology 2012;17(7):1068-72.

Wegienka G, Johnson CC, Havstad S, Ownby DR, Nicholas C, Zoratti EM. Lifetime dog and cat exposure and dog- and cat-specific sensitization at age 18 years. Clin Exp Allergy 2011;41(7):979-86.

Havstad S, Wegienka G, Zoratti EM, Lynch SV, Boushey HA, Nicholas C, Ownby DR, Johnson CC. Effect of prenatal indoor pet exposure on the trajectory of total IgE levels in early childhood. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011;128(4):880-885.

Nicholas CE, Wegienka GR, Havstad SL, Zoratti EM, Ownby DR, Johnson CC. Dog allergen levels in homes with hypoallergenic compared with non hypoallergenic dogs. Am J Rhinol Allergy 2011;25(4):252-6.

Joseph CL, Ownby DR, Havstad SL, Woodcroft KJ, Wegienka G, MacKechnie H, Zoratti E, Peterson EL, Johnson CC. Early complementary feeding and risk of food sensitization in a birth cohort. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011;127(5):1203-10.

Linden CC, Misiak RT, Wegienka G, Havstad S, Ownby DR, Johnson CC, Zoratti EM. Analysis of allergen specific IgE cut points to cat and dog in the Childhood Allergy Study. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2011;106(2):153-158.