Peck receives international research award

Published: September 24th, 2012

Category: Features, Honors, Awards & Appointments, News, Oral Biology

Ammon B. Peck, Ph.D., recently received the 2012 International Association of Dental Research (IADR) Distinguished Scientist Award for Salivary Research. Peck was a jointly appointed professor in the University of Florida College of Dentistry Department of Oral Biology and the UF College of Medicine Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine and on Sept. 1, 2012, became the associate dean for research and graduate studies in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

Peck is an internationally recognized expert on murine models of Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) and received his award during the annual IADR research conference.  The award, sponsored by the Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Company, recognizes outstanding and innovative achievements that contributed to the basic understanding of salivary gland structure, secretion and function, or salivary composition and function.  Over the past decade, Peck’s laboratory published more than 50 manuscripts on SS in humans and SS-like disease in animal models pertaining to the genetic susceptibility, glandular pathophysiologic changes and possible environmental factors leading to this autoimmune disease characterized by dry mouth and dry eye syndromes.

His laboratory was the first to report the importance of the TH17/IL23/IL17 system in SS and SS-like disease with follow-up gene therapy studies to confirm the role of TH17 cells and the IL17A cytokine.  More recent work, and perhaps the first of its kind in any autoimmune disease model, has used temporal global transcriptome analyses to define on-going changes in biological and molecular processes underlying both development and onset of clinical disease.

The work identified the sequential changes in glandular homeostasis, the onset of innate immunity, the transition period to adaptive immunity and finally the loss of immune regulation with subsequent onset of a destructive glandular autoimmunity. These molecular profilings have led to extensive disease modeling at the glandular level that can now be examined, in part, in human SS and potentially predict future intervention therapy outcomes.  These studies have been supported by NIH, the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation and UF’s Center for Orphan Autoimmune Diseases.

Congratulations Dr. Peck!