Research & Publications
Dr. Konnikova is a Neonatologist who focuses on the development of neonatal immunity at barrier sites such as the GI tract and the maternal-fetal interface and its role in the pathogenesis of diverse diseases such as sepsis, preterm labor, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), very early onset (VEO) and pediatric IBD.
Extensive Research Description
Dr. Konnikova is an Attending Neonatologist, and an Assistant Professor/Early Stage Investigator in Pediatrics and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences as well as a member of the Human and Translational Immunology Program at the Yale School of Medicine. Her group studies mucosal immunity at barrier sites; its normal development to maintain homeostasis and its role in the pathogenesis of diverse diseases such as sepsis, preterm labor, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), very early onset (VEO) and pediatric IBD.
Dr. Konnikova's post-doctoral training, under the supervision of Dr. Scott Snapper (Harvard Medical School) focused on the development of gastrointestinal (GI) tolerance in children. During that time, Dr. Konnikova had developed methodology for cryopreserving intestinal tissue with excellent viability and cell recovery. This technique enabled her to collect and study very rare diseases by preserving affected tissue at multiple sites followed by batch analysis (Mucosal Immunology, 2018). As such, She studied the role of a number of monogenic diseases such as, IL10 deficiency, in VEO IBD (Co-first author, IBD 2017; Kotlarz D et al, Nature Genetics, 2018; Kurolap A et al, Journal of Clinical Immunology, 2019, among others). Furthermore, this innovation allowed for serial monitoring of IBD activity in drug trials (Goettel et. al, CMGH, 2019).
Using cutting edge techniques such as mass cytometry (CyTOF) and single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq), the Konnikova lab is currently focused on understanding how mucosal immunity develops and what goes awry to cause disease. To this end, her group has establish a large biorepository (over 5,000 samples) of control and disease cryopreserved tissue lasting the entire human lifespan. Using tissue from our biobank in combination with CyTOF analysis, her group has been able to study the development of mucosal immunity in utero (Stras et al., Developmental Cell, 2019). Additionally, using a combination of scRNAseq and CyTOF techniques on a large cohort of patients with IBD, in collaboration with Dr. Snappers group, Dr. Konnikova characterized immune signatures differentiating ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (Mitsialis et al., Gastroenterology, 2020). Current group interests include: (1) in utero adaptive immune development, (2) in utero intestinal development, (3) pathophysiology of necrotizing enterocolitis, a devastating disease of premature infants that is profoundly understudied, (4) pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease and (5) immune regulation at the maternal-fetal interface.
Infant Nutrition Disorders; Infant, Premature; Placenta; Inflammatory Bowel Diseases; Immunity, Mucosal; Enterocolitis, Necrotizing