Ben Afzali, MD, PhD, MRCP, is an Earl Stadtman Investigator and a consultant nephrologist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), NIH. He received his medical and doctoral training in the United Kingdom at the medical schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London, respectively. He undertook fellowship training on the South Thames Nephrology training program and post-doctoral training in immunology with John O’Shea at the NIH. His laboratory studies how environmental signals in tissues are integrated via networks of transcription factors to direct the basic mechanisms of tissue inflammation, its resolution and healing. Currently, the main focus of this research program is the role of the complement system and the BACH2 transcription factor. Research contributions in the last five years include the following: 1) description of BRIDA syndrome, a primary immunodeficiency disease mediated by haplo-insufficiency of the BACH2 transcription factor; 2) description of the CD161+ sub-population of human regulatory T cells as a BACH2-dependent Treg population with wound healing properties in the gastrointestinal mucosa; 3) identification of infected lung epithelial cells as a local source of complement in SARS-CoV-2 infection; and 4) description of a complement-induced cell-intrinsic BACH2-dependent Vitamin D signaling system involved in the shut-down program of inflammatory T cells.
Behdad Afzali Khoshkbijari, MD, PhD, FRCP (UK)