Welcome to the Fleming Lab

Division of Biology, Kansas State University


Finding the drama queen of the immune response.

During a heart attack, stroke or organ transplant, blood does not reach a part of the body. Stopping the blood flow, means the tissue and cells do not receive oxygen. The lack of oxygen damages the cells and will lead to death if blood flow is not restored. However, return of blood flow causes even more damage. This damage is caused by the immune response.

Normally, the immune response protects the body from disease.  But when the immune response becomes a drama queen and over-reacts, tissue injury occurs. The Fleming lab’s primary goal is to identify the drama queen components of the immune response. We stop blood supply to the intestine (ischemia) and then restore the blood flow (reperfusion) for a couple of hours before we examine the components of the immune response to identify the drama queen.

The Fleming lab studies the role of innate immune molecules such as complement, toll like receptors and natural antibodies in multiple forms of tissue injury. These molecules which aid in forming the first line of defense influence subsequent adaptive immune responses. When activated excessively, these critical proteins which are meant to protect the body, induce tissue damage. Understanding the interactions between the innate response and tissue injury is the primary focus of the laboratory. We use cellular, molecular and histological analyses of tissue damage in mouse models of mesenteric ischemia/reperfusion, hemorrhagic shock and autoimmune disease. Please explore the next few pages for additional information.

Sham Intestine

Intestine after 30 min ischemia and 2 hr reperfusion