Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
Dr. Schaefer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas at Houston School of Dentistry. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from The University of Michigan and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Molecular and Cellular Biology. He completed his postdoctoral training at The University of Texas at Houston School of Dentistry. He is a Member of The American Association of Immunologists and an Associate Member of the Texas Medical Center Digestive Diseases Center. Dr. Schaefer's research deals with mucosal immunity in general and the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in particular. His research examines how the IBD disorders occur and what keeps them going. In his laboratory, genetic and biochemical techniques are being utilized to understand the regulation of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue as it relates to intestinal inflammation and immunity. The goal of these studies is to uncover important pathways or targets that are critical to or at least contributory to intestinal inflammation. In this regard, microRNAs (miRNAs), small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression, have been identified that contribute to intestinal inflammation in mouse models. Studies are in progress to identify key miRNA target genes and how miRNAs or their targets can be exploited for diagnosing or treating inflammation. In addition, studies to identify the epigenetic modifications and transcriptional pathways that control these important immune and gene expression modulators are underway.