Meet Our Experts

Traditionally, food allergy research has been understudied and under-resourced. The original vision for the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center was to bring together basic science and clinical researchers representing a broad range of fields and specialties under one umbrella to tackle the rising epidemic of food allergy. This strategy is already paying off in fostering true collaboration, not only by sharing expertise among our talented faculty but also by combining resources, equipment and experiments.

Team Work

Our partnerships extend beyond our group to include patients, families, advocates and donors, too. Access to these individuals through our work in the center is a big part of what inspires us every day.

“I am a big believer in team science as I think collective minds are more productive and more rapidly change outcomes. MHWFAC is internationally renowned for having a great group of scientists, physician scientists and clinicians all working towards the common goal of better treatments for food allergy sufferers. I am excited to see what we can do!”

Simon Hogan, Ph.D., Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center

Q&A With Our Faculty

James R. Baker, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Baker is the director of the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center. Under his guidance, the center continues to assemble world-class physicians and scientists who are taking the lead in food allergy research to provide better answers for the patients and families who live with this deadly disease.

Nicholas Lukacs, Ph.D., scientific director of the Weiser Food Allergy Center

Nicholas W. Lukacs, Ph.D., is an immunologist and scientific director of the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center. His position gives him a bird’s-eye view of the all research at the center while allowing him to pursue his own investigations, which are primarily focused on exploring prenatal and neonatal connections to how and why food allergy develops.

Simon Hogan, Ph.D.

Simon Hogan, Ph.D., is the Askwith Research Professor of Food Allergy at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center and an experimental pathologist. He conducts research with other investigators in the center and also heads up his own studies on the most serious — and possibly deadly — reaction to food allergy: anaphylaxis.

Gary Huffnagle

Gary Huffnagle, Ph.D., the Nina and Jerry D. Luptak Research Professor at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center, spent most of his career as an immunologist and microbiologist focused on asthma before switching to studying the microbiome and how allergic immune responses develop, specifically how bacteria and yeast in our bodies participate in making us healthy or making us sick.

Chang Kim, Ph.D.

Award-winning senior investigator Chang Kim, Ph.D., is the Kenneth and Judy Betz Family Research Professor at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center. Dr. Kim is a leading scientist in the areas of lymphocyte biology and mucosal immunology, which inform his study of food allergy immune responses.

Jessica O'Konek, Ph.D.

Jessica O’Konek, Ph.D., a research professor at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center, studies the immune mechanisms of food allergy: determining what they are and how we can change them, and what those changes mean, and which of those changes would result in protection.

Catherine Ptaschinski, Ph.D.

Catherine Ptaschinski, Ph.D., seeks to understand how food allergy can sometimes trigger an inflammatory response in the esophagus called eosinophilic esophagitis or EoE.

Georgiana Sanders, M.D.

Georgiana Sanders, M.D., M.S., is a clinical researcher at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center. In this, role she manages a clinical research group, conducting food allergy immunotherapy trials as the principal investigator.