Julia K. Bohannon, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology Assistant Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
Ph.D., University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TexasB.S., Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky
Research Description
The Bohannon Laboratory studies innate immune responses to infection in immunocompromised hosts. Specifically, our research is aimed at investigating immunomodulatory therapies for the prevention of infection and sepsis following a severe burn injury. Infection is the leading cause of death and prolonged hospitalization in severely burned patients that survive the acute phase of injury. Loss of the skin barrier, impaired innate immunity and the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria increase the susceptibility of burn patients to serious infection, leading to a great need for immunomodulation strategies aimed at priming the host response in these patients. Priming with Toll-like receptor 4 agonists have been shown to augment neutrophil antimicrobial responses and enhance resistance against infection after severe burn injury in mice. However, the role of the classical MyD88- and TRIF-dependent TLR signaling cascades in mediating this protection, are not fully understood. Preliminary studies support a primary role for MyD88-signaling in mediating antimicrobial responses, potentially through augmentation of leukocyte metabolism, but the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved are unclear. The Bohannon lab utilizes multiple post-burn murine infection models, including a Pseudomonas aeruginosa burn wound infection as well as Staphylococcal aureus and Candida albicans systemic infections, to assess the effect of various TLR agonists on mediating protection against infection. The information gained from this project will advance current knowledge by elucidating the role played by the two primary TLR signaling pathways in mediating resistance to infection in burn patients, and by investigating the potential of harnessing these pathways for therapeutic benefit in these patients. These studies will also fill important gaps in knowledge by improving our understanding of how TLR agonists modulate innate immune responses.
Research Keywords
immunomodulation, toll-like receptor, agonist, endotoxin, burn injury, sepsis, burn wound infection
Stothers CL, Luan L, Fensterheim BA, Bohannon JK. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1a regulation of myeloid cells. J. Mol. Med [print-electronic]. 2018 Dec; 96(12): 1293-306. PMID: 30386909, PMCID: PMC6292431, PII: 10.1007/s00109-018-1710-1, DOI: 10.1007/s00109-018-1710-1, ISSN: 1432-1440.

Bohannon JK, Sherwood ER. What's New in Shock, July 2018?. Shock. 2018 Jul; 50(1): 1-4. PMID: 29889806, PII: 00024382-201807000-00001, DOI: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000001153, ISSN: 1540-0514.

Fensterheim BA, Young JD, Luan L, Kleinbard RR, Stothers CL, Patil NK, McAtee-Pereira AG, Guo Y, Trenary I, Hernandez A, Fults JB, Williams DL, Sherwood ER, Bohannon JK. The TLR4 Agonist Monophosphoryl Lipid A Drives Broad Resistance to Infection via Dynamic Reprogramming of Macrophage Metabolism. J. Immunol [print-electronic]. 2018 Jun 6/1/2018; 200(11): 3777-89. PMID: 29686054, PMCID: PMC5964009, PII: jimmunol.1800085, DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1800085, ISSN: 1550-6606.

Guo Y, Patil NK, Luan L, Bohannon JK, Sherwood ER. The biology of natural killer cells during sepsis. Immunology [print-electronic]. 2018 Feb; 153(2): 190-202. PMID: 29064085, PMCID: PMC5765373, DOI: 10.1111/imm.12854, ISSN: 1365-2567.

Patil NK, Luan L, Bohannon JK, Hernandez A, Guo Y, Sherwood ER. Frontline Science: Anti-PD-L1 protects against infection with common bacterial pathogens after burn injury. J. Leukoc. Biol [print-electronic]. 2018 Jan; 103(1): 23-33. PMID: 29345058, DOI: 10.1002/JLB.5HI0917-360R, ISSN: 1938-3673.

Fensterheim BA, Guo Y, Sherwood ER, Bohannon JK. The Cytokine Response to Lipopolysaccharide Does Not Predict the Host Response to Infection. J. Immunol [print-electronic]. 2017 Apr 4/15/2017; 198(8): 3264-73. PMID: 28275139, PMCID: PMC5380530, PII: jimmunol.1602106, DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1602106, ISSN: 1550-6606.

Bae L, Bohannon JK, Cui W, Vinish M, Toliver-Kinsky T. Fms-like tyrosine kinase-3 ligand increases resistance to burn wound infection through effects on plasmacytoid dendritic cells. BMC Immunol. 2017 Feb 2/22/2017; 18(1): 9. PMID: 28228109, PMCID: PMC5322596, PII: 10.1186/s12865-016-0188-2, DOI: 10.1186/s12865-016-0188-2, ISSN: 1471-2172.

Guo Y, Luan L, Patil NK, Wang J, Bohannon JK, Rabacal W, Fensterheim BA, Hernandez A, Sherwood ER. IL-15 Enables Septic Shock by Maintaining NK Cell Integrity and Function. J. Immunol [print-electronic]. 2017 Feb 2/1/2017; 198(3): 1320-33. PMID: 28031340, PMCID: PMC5263185, PII: jimmunol.1601486, DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1601486, ISSN: 1550-6606.

Luan L, Patil NK, Guo Y, Hernandez A, Bohannon JK, Fensterheim BA, Wang J, Xu Y, Enkhbaatar P, Stark R, Sherwood ER. Comparative Transcriptome Profiles of Human Blood in Response to the Toll-like Receptor 4 Ligands Lipopolysaccharide and Monophosphoryl Lipid A. Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 1/5/2017; 7: 40050. PMID: 28053314, PMCID: PMC5215261, PII: srep40050, DOI: 10.1038/srep40050, ISSN: 2045-2322.

Patil NK, Bohannon JK, Luan L, Guo Y, Fensterheim B, Hernandez A, Wang J, Sherwood ER. Flt3 Ligand Treatment Attenuates T Cell Dysfunction and Improves Survival in a Murine Model of Burn Wound Sepsis. Shock. 2017 Jan; 47(1): 40-51. PMID: 27454384, PMCID: PMC5167662, DOI: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000000688, ISSN: 1540-0514.

Bohannon JK, Sherwood ER. Editorial: Feeling the burn: sphingolipids and infection risk after thermal injury [editorial]. J. Leukoc. Biol. 2016 Dec; 100(6): 1227-8. PMID: 27909176, PII: 100/6/1227, DOI: 10.1189/jlb.4CE0716-299R, ISSN: 1938-3673.

Hernandez A, Bohannon JK, Luan L, Fensterheim BA, Guo Y, Patil NK, McAdams C, Wang J, Sherwood ER. The role of MyD88- and TRIF-dependent signaling in monophosphoryl lipid A-induced expansion and recruitment of innate immunocytes. J. Leukoc. Biol [print-electronic]. 2016 Dec; 100(6): 1311-22. PMID: 27354411, PMCID: PMC5109999, PII: jlb.1A0216-072R, DOI: 10.1189/jlb.1A0216-072R, ISSN: 1938-3673.

Patil NK, Bohannon JK, Sherwood ER. Immunotherapy: A promising approach to reverse sepsis-induced immunosuppression. Pharmacol. Res [print-electronic]. 2016 Sep; 111: 688-702. PMID: 27468649, PMCID: PMC5026606, PII: S1043-6618(16)30685-5, DOI: 10.1016/j.phrs.2016.07.019, ISSN: 1096-1186.

Bohannon JK, Luan L, Hernandez A, Afzal A, Guo Y, Patil NK, Fensterheim B, Sherwood ER. Role of G-CSF in monophosphoryl lipid A-mediated augmentation of neutrophil functions after burn injury. J. Leukoc. Biol [print-electronic]. 2016 Apr; 99(4): 629-40. PMID: 26538529, PMCID: PMC4787290, PII: jlb.4A0815-362R, DOI: 10.1189/jlb.4A0815-362R, ISSN: 1938-3673.

Patil NK, Luan L, Bohannon JK, Guo Y, Hernandez A, Fensterheim B, Sherwood ER. IL-15 Superagonist Expands mCD8+ T, NK and NKT Cells after Burn Injury but Fails to Improve Outcome during Burn Wound Infection. PLoS ONE. 2016; 11(2): e0148452. PMID: 26859674, PMCID: PMC4747596, PII: PONE-D-15-47311, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148452, ISSN: 1932-6203.

Guo Y, Luan L, Rabacal W, Bohannon JK, Fensterheim BA, Hernandez A, Sherwood ER. IL-15 Superagonist-Mediated Immunotoxicity: Role of NK Cells and IFN-¿. J. Immunol [print-electronic]. 2015 Sep 9/1/2015; 195(5): 2353-64. PMID: 26216888, PMCID: PMC4543906, PII: jimmunol.1500300, DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1500300, ISSN: 1550-6606.

Bohannon JK, Hernandez A, Enkhbaatar P, Adams WL, Sherwood ER. The immunobiology of toll-like receptor 4 agonists: from endotoxin tolerance to immunoadjuvants. Shock. 2013 Dec; 40(6): 451-62. PMID: 23989337, PMCID: PMC3919163, DOI: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000000042, ISSN: 1540-0514.