Konstantinos Ritis

Democritus University of Thrace, Komotiní, Anatoliki Makedonia kai Thraki, Greece

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Publications (38)161.9 Total impact

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  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) associated vasculitis (AAV) is characterised by neutrophil activation. An elevated prevalence of venous thromboembolic events has been reported in AAV. Because of the critical role of neutrophils in inflammation associated thrombosis, we asked whether neutrophil tissue factor (TF) may be implicated in the thrombotic diathesis in AAV. Neutrophils from four patients and sera from 17 patients with ANCA associated vasculitis with active disease and remission were studied. TF expression was assessed by immunoblotting and confocal microscopy. Circulating DNA levels were evaluated. TF expressing microparticles (MPs) were measured by flow cytometry and thrombin-antithrombin complex levels by ELISA. Peripheral blood neutrophils from four patients with active disease expressed elevated TF levels and released TF expressing neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and MPs. TF positive NETs were released by neutrophils isolated from the bronchoalveolar lavage and were detected in nasal and renal biopsy specimens. Elevated levels of circulating DNA and TF expressing neutrophil derived MPs were further observed in sera from patients with active disease. Induction of remission attenuated the aforementioned effects. Control neutrophils treated with sera from patients with active disease released TF bearing NETs and MPs which were abolished after IgG depletion. Treatment of control neutrophils with isolated IgG from sera from patients with active disease also resulted in the release of TF bearing NETs. TF implication in MP dependent thrombin generation was demonstrated by antibody neutralisation studies. Expression of TF in NETs and neutrophil derived MPs proposes a novel mechanism for the induction of thrombosis and inflammation in active AAV.
    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 07/2013; · 8.11 Impact Factor
  • Ioannis Mitroulis, Konstantinos Kambas, Konstantinos Ritis
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    ABSTRACT: Gout is a prototype crystal-induced inflammatory disorder, characterized by neutrophil infiltration into inflamed joints. The identification of the role of NLRP3 inflammasome in the recognition of monosodium urate crystals and the subsequent release of IL-1β was a milestone in the elucidation of the pathogenesis of this disorder. IL-1β signaling is considered nowadays as the initiatory event that induces gouty inflammation and promotes the recruitment of vast numbers of neutrophils at the sites of inflammation. Crystal-induced neutrophil activation results in apoptosis inhibition, degranulation, superoxide production, cytokine release and, as recently described, formation of neutrophil extracellular traps, further amplifying the inflammatory process. Finally, neutrophil apoptosis and uptake of apoptotic material by macrophages drive the resolution of acute inflammation. In this review, we discuss the recent experimental data regarding the crosstalk between IL-1β and neutrophils in the pathogenesis of acute gout.
    Seminars in Immunopathology 01/2013; · 5.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Colonic epithelial cells and adjacent subepithelial myofibroblasts are important counterparts in the pathogenesis of intestinal inflammation and fibrosis. We investigated the possible crosstalk between them, whilst focusing on the mucosal inflammation pathways that potentially trigger intestinal fibrosis. METHODS: We studied the effects of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1α, TNF-α, IFN-γ) on human colonic epithelial cell lines and the effects of epithelial cell-conditioned media on primary human colonic subepithelial myofibroblasts isolated from normal controls or patients with inflammatory Crohn's disease along with the corresponding 18CO cell line. Readouts included production of TGF-β and TIMP-1, total collagen synthesis, matrix metalloproteinases MMP-2 and MMP-9 and myofibroblast migration/mobility. RESULTS: Proinflammatory cytokines upregulated TGF-β and TIMP-1 in colonic epithelial cells. Conditioned medium from these epithelial cell cultures induced production of MMP-9 and collagen and inhibited the migration/mobility of subepithelial myofibroblasts. MMP-9 production depended on endothelin receptor A signalling on responding myofibroblasts. Collagen up-regulation was independent of TGF-β, CTGF, TF and endothelin. Subepithelial myofibroblasts isolated from Crohn's disease patients had similar responses to those isolated from normal controls, with the exception of higher basal collagen production. CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that colonic epithelial cells may respond to an inflammatory milieu by inducing myofibroblast functions similar to those observed during intestinal fibrosis.
    Journal of Crohn s and Colitis 05/2012; · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    Autophagy 04/2012; 8(4):1-100. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
    Autophagy 04/2012; 8(4):445. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
    Autophagy 04/2012; 8(4):445-544. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sepsis is associated with systemic inflammatory responses and induction of coagulation system. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) constitute an antimicrobial mechanism, recently implicated in thrombosis via platelet entrapment and aggregation. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time the localization of thrombogenic tissue factor (TF) in NETs released by neutrophils derived from patients with gram-negative sepsis and normal neutrophils treated with either serum from septic patients or inflammatory mediators involved in the pathogenesis of sepsis. Localization of TF in acidified autophagosomes was observed during this process, as indicated by positive LC3B and LysoTracker staining. Moreover, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibition with 3-MA or inhibition of endosomal acidification with bafilomycin A1 hindered the release of TF-bearing NETs. TF present in NETs induced thrombin generation in culture supernatants, which further resulted in protease activated receptor-1 signaling. This study demonstrates the involvement of autophagic machinery in the extracellular delivery of TF in NETs and the subsequent activation of coagulation cascade, providing evidence for the implication of this process in coagulopathy and inflammatory response in sepsis.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e45427. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    Konstantinos Kambas, Ioannis Mitroulis, Konstantinos Ritis
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    ABSTRACT: The production of TF by neutrophils and their contribution in thrombosis was until recently a matter of scientific debate. Experimental data suggested the de novo TF production by neutrophils under inflammatory stimuli, while others proposed that these cells acquired microparticle-derived TF. Recent experimental evidence revealed the critical role of neutrophils in thrombotic events. Neutrophil derived TF has been implicated in this process in several human and animal models. Additionally, neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) release has emerged as a major contributor in neutrophil-driven thrombogenicity in disease models including sepsis, deep venous thrombosis, and malignancy. It is suggested that NETs provide the scaffold for fibrin deposition and platelet entrapment and subsequent activation. The recently reported autophagy-dependent extracellular delivery of TF in NETs further supports the involvement of neutrophils in thrombosis. Herein, we seek to review novel data regarding the role of neutrophils in thrombosis, emphasizing the implication of TF and NETs.
    Frontiers in Immunology 01/2012; 3:385.
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    ABSTRACT: Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an autoinflammatory disease, characterized by MEFV gene mutations and self-limited recurrent episodes of fever and localized serositis. Complement system is a key regulator of the inflammatory process. The aim of this study was to investigate the genetic alterations and mRNA expression pattern of C5aR and C5L2 genes in neutrophils from attack-free FMF patients. No mutations were observed in the two receptors' genes, while the genetic alteration observed in the C5aR1 gene was identified as N279 K polymorphic variant. Furthermore, lower mRNA expression of C5L2 gene was observed in neutrophils from FMF patients compared to control subjects. The binding capacity of rhC5a and the ability to produce reactive oxygen species was similar in neutrophils from healthy subjects and FMF patients and independent of the presence of N279 K polymorphism or mRNA expression of C5L2.
    Molecular Biology Reports 12/2011; 39(5):5503-10. · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activin-A is up-regulated in various respiratory disorders. However, its precise role in pulmonary pathophysiology has not been adequately substantiated in vivo. To investigate in vivo the consequences of dysregulated Activin-A expression in the lung and identify key Activin-A-induced processes that contribute to respiratory pathology. Activin-A was ectopically expressed in murine lung, and functional, structural, and molecular alterations were extensively analyzed. The validity of Activin-A as a therapeutic target was demonstrated in animals overexpressing Activin-A or treated with intratracheal instillation of LPS. Relevancy to human pathology was substantiated by demonstrating high Activin-A levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples from patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Overexpression of Activin-A in mouse airways caused pulmonary pathology reminiscent of acute lung injury (ALI)/ARDS. Activin-A triggered a lasting inflammatory response characterized by acute alveolar cell death and hyaline membrane formation, sustained up-regulation of high-mobility group box 1, development of systemic hypercoagulant state, reduction of surfactant proteins SpC, SpB, and SpA, decline of lung compliance, transient fibrosis, and eventually emphysema. Therapeutic neutralization of Activin-A attenuated the ALI/ARDS-like pathology induced either by ectopic expression of Activin-A or by intratracheal instillation of LPS. In line with the similarity of the Activin-A-induced phenotype to human ARDS, selective up-regulation of Activin-A was found in BAL of patients with ARDS. Our studies demonstrate for the first time in vivo the pathogenic consequences of deregulated Activin-A expression in the lung, document novel aspects of Activin-A biology that provide mechanistic explanation for the observed phenotype, link Activin-A to ALI/ARDS pathophysiology, and provide the rationale for therapeutic targeting of Activin-A in these disorders.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 12/2011; 185(4):382-91. · 11.04 Impact Factor
  • Arthritis & Rheumatism. 11/2011; 63(11).
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    ABSTRACT: The extrinsic coagulation cascade is involved in the fibrotic process, via thrombin-dependent induction of CCN2 (connective tissue growth factor) expression. Given the previously reported activation of the coagulation system in systemic sclerosis (SSc), we undertook the present study to investigate the involvement of cross-talk between the tissue factor (TF)-thrombin axis and endothelin 1 (ET-1) signaling in the fibrotic activity of SSc. Human colonic myofibroblasts (HCMFs) from 6 patients with SSc and gastrointestinal symptoms and from 6 control subjects were isolated and cultured under various conditions. Messenger RNA and protein levels of TF, CCN2, and endothelin receptor A (ET(A) ) were investigated. Collagen production and migratory activity of HCMFs were further assessed. HCMFs from SSc patients demonstrated increased basal CCN2 production, collagen deposition, and migration rate, in a thrombin-dependent manner. Increased TF expression was also observed in SSc HCMFs. Subsequent activation of the extrinsic coagulation system resulted in thrombin-dependent enhancement of ET(A) expression. ET(A) overexpression led to further increases in both TF expression and fibrotic activity in HCMFs. Moreover, inhibition of ET-1 signaling by bosentan abolished the TF-mediated fibrotic capacity of HCMFs. Tissue factor-thrombin signaling is involved in the increased fibrotic activity of HCMFs from patients with SSc. Moreover, the up-regulation of ET(A) expression by thrombin and the effect of ET-1 in the induction of TF expression indicate an amplification loop for enhanced collagen deposition. Therapeutic interventions targeting the extrinsic coagulation system or ET-1 signaling may provide clinical benefit by breaking this vicious circle.
    Arthritis & Rheumatology 08/2011; 63(11):3586-97. · 7.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome can progress to bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a serious pulmonary fibrotic disorder. Given the involvement of the extrinsic coagulation cascade in animal models of lung fibrosis, we examined its role in BPD. We observed a higher number of neutrophils expressing tissue factor (TF) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from infants with BPD than from those with uncomplicated respiratory distress syndrome together with a parallel decrease in TF and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) in BALF supernatants during the disease course. The involvement of coagulation in the fibrotic process associated with BPD was further evaluated by treating primary human colonic myofibroblasts with BALF supernatants from infants with BPD. These human colonic myofibroblasts demonstrated an enhanced C5a- and thrombin-dependent migration. Moreover, they expressed TF in an endothelin-1-dependent manner, with subsequent activation of the extrinsic coagulation cascade and CTGF production mediated by protease-activator receptor-1 signaling. These data provide a novel mechanism for the development of BPD and indicate that endothelin-1 signaling contributes to fibrosis by upregulating a TF/thrombin amplification loop responsible for CTGF production, and offer novel and specific therapeutic targets for pulmonary fibrotic disease.
    The Journal of Immunology 06/2011; 186(11):6568-75. · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Annals of the rheumatic diseases 02/2011; 70(7):1347-8. · 8.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gout is a prevalent inflammatory arthritis affecting 1-2% of adults characterized by activation of innate immune cells by monosodium urate (MSU) crystals resulting in the secretion of interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Since neutrophils play a major role in gout we sought to determine whether their activation may involve the formation of proinflammatory neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in relation to autophagy and IL-1β. Synovial fluid neutrophils from six patients with gout crisis and peripheral blood neutrophils from six patients with acute gout and six control subjects were isolated. MSU crystals, as well as synovial fluid or serum obtained from patients with acute gout, were used for the treatment of control neutrophils. NET formation was assessed using immunofluorescence microscopy. MSU crystals or synovial fluid or serum from patients induced NET formation in control neutrophils. Importantly, NET production was observed in neutrophils isolated from synovial fluid or peripheral blood from patients with acute gout. NETs contained the alarmin high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) supporting their pro-inflammatory potential. Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling or phagolysosomal fusion prevented NET formation, implicating autophagy in this process. NET formation was driven at least in part by IL-1β as demonstrated by experiments involving IL-1β and its inhibitor anakinra. These findings document for the first time that activation of neutrophils in gout is associated with the formation of proinflammatory NETs and links this process to both autophagy and IL-1β. Modulation of the autophagic machinery may represent an additional therapeutic study in crystalline arthritides.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e29318. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic viral hepatitis display increased expression of Foxp3 in liver, suggesting that Tregs expansion contributes to persistent infection. The purpose of this study was to elucidate whether the expression of Foxp3 relates not to the viral infection but to the resulting liver inflammation. Liver biopsies obtained from 69 individuals (26 chronic HBV hepatitis, 14 chronic HCV hepatitis, 11 nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, 8 autoimmune diseases, 2 methotrexate-related toxicity, and 8 controls) were examined, by qRT-PCR, for the mRNA expression of Foxp3, IL-10, TGF-β1, Fas, FasL, TRAIL, caspase-3, TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-1β. Significant increase of Foxp3 was observed in all disease groups compared to controls, which was positively correlated with the intensity of inflammation. The expression of the apoptosis mediators Fas, FasL, and TRAIL, but not of IL-10 and TGF-β1, was also significantly elevated. Our findings indicate that, independently of the initial inducer, liver inflammation is correlated with elevated expression of apoptosis mediators and is followed by local Treg accumulation. Further research towards the elucidation of the underlying casual relationships is required, in order to clarify whether our results signify the existence of a uniform Treg-mediated regulatory mechanism of apoptosis-induced inflammation.
    Mediators of Inflammation 01/2011; 2011:827565. · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tyrosine-kinase inhibitors are very effective in patients with CML, but in most cases the disease relapses after their discontinuation. As a result, novel approaches should be considered, such as anti-survivin treatment or anti-survivin-based immunotherapy. To gain insight into the roles of survivin isoform expression and specific CD8(+) T cells in CML, we investigated 51 patients at different stages, both at diagnosis and during treatment. We demonstrated that (i) patients at advanced-stage displayed an increased expression of the standard-survivin form along with a significant decrease of survivin-2B and -ΔEx3 levels, (ii) patients in chronic phase with higher expression of the standard-survivin exhibited a 3.5-fold increased probability not to achieve an optimal response to imatinib (p=0.048), (iii) responders displayed a significant up-regulation of all survivin isoforms in bone marrow, and (iv) anti-survivin CD8(+) T cells were undetectable both at diagnosis and during treatment. Accordingly, our results question the validity of immunotherapeutic approaches targeting survivin in CML.
    Clinical Immunology 01/2011; 139(2):155-63. · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) inflammatory attacks are often triggered by metabolic or physical stress. mTOR signaling and autophagy modulate cellular responses to metabolic danger signals. In this study, we investigated the implication of mTOR inhibition and autophagy in FMF pathophysiology. mTOR inhibition induced MEFV gene expression in polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) from healthy individuals, whereas it had no effect on PMNs from attack-free FMF patients. A significant reduction in pyrin levels in PMNs from FMF patients after mTOR inhibition was also observed. Pyrin levels in control PMNs remained unaffected. Moreover, the basal autophagic status in PMNs from FMF patients was reduced, as indicated by the lower LC3B-II/I ratio and ATG mRNA expression levels. However, mTOR inhibition had similar effects on the induction of autophagy in the two groups. The differential pyrin expression after metabolic stress induction and the impaired basal autophagy suggest a potential role in the triggering of FMF attacks.
    Human immunology 11/2010; 72(2):135-8. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tissue factor (TF) is the key initiator of the coagulation cascade. The exposure of subendothelial TF after vessel injury to blood is a critical step in hemostasis and in the pathogenesis of arterial and venous thrombotic disorders. Moreover, an additional role for TF overexpression and subsequent generation of TF:FVIIa complex, FXa and thrombin have been recently emerged, contributing in non-thrombotic manifestations such as inflammation, cancer growth and fibrosis. The multivalent role of TF and the above mentioned proteases in disease is reviewed, with focus on their implication in non-thrombotic disorders, as suggested by clinical and experimental data. Moreover, potential therapeutic interventions using anticoagulation agents are discussed. A better understanding of the pathogenic role of the TF-thrombin pathway in the pathogenesis of disease and the effect of anticoagulants in the treatment of such disorders. The TF-thrombin pathway, apart from the initiation of hemostasis and thrombosis, exert intracellular signaling activity through protease-activated receptors, participating in inflammation and tumor biology. Both low-molecular-weight heparins and recently developed anticoagulants rise as candidates for the modification of biological functions associated with disorders like sepsis, ischemia-reperfusion or cancer growth and metastasis.
    Expert opinion on therapeutic targets 11/2010; 15(1):75-89. · 3.72 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

645 Citations
161.90 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2013
    • Democritus University of Thrace
      • • Department of Internal Medicine II
      • • Department of Internal Medicine I
      Komotiní, Anatoliki Makedonia kai Thraki, Greece
  • 2012
    • University of Michigan
      • Life Sciences Institute
      Ann Arbor, MI, United States