Professional Bio

Education

  • Ph.D., Immunology, University of Colorado-Denver, 2011
  • B.S., Microbiology and minor in Chemistry, University of Arizona, 2000

Research & Scholarship

Research Interests

A healthy immune system is a vital component to our physiology and essential for our ability to fight off infection. Studies have shown that nutritional insufficiency can lead to decreased immune responses, though these mechanisms are largely not understood. My primary research interest is to understand the role of nutritional stress on cells of the immune system. Several studies have established that low levels of the divalent cations calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) can dramatically impact immune responses. My previous research focused on the effects of low levels of extracellular Mg2+ on the ability of immune cells to proliferate and respond to external stimuli when grown in culture. I intend to further pursue these studies with a specific focus on how changes in the availability of Mg2+ impacts immune cell signaling pathways and the outcome of immune responses.

Publications

Brandao K, Deason-Towne F, Zhao X, Perraud AL, Schmitz C. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 Dec;71(24):4853-67.  TRPM6 kinase activity regulates TRPM7 trafficking and inhibits cellular growth under hypomagnesic conditions. Epub 2014 May 25. PMID: 24858416


Samantha F Friend, Francina Deason-Towne, Lisa K Peterson, Allison J Berger, Leonard L Dragone.  Regulation of T cell receptor complex-mediated signaling by ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like modifications. Am J Clin Exp Immunol 2014;3(3):107-123. 

Deason-Towne F, Perraud AL, Schmitz C.  Identification of Ser/Thr phosphorylation sites in the C2-domain of Phospholipase C Gamma 2 (PLCg2) using TRPM7-kinase. Cell Signal. 2012 Nov; 24(11):2070-5. Epub 2012 Jul 1. PMID: 22759789

Brandao K, Deason-Towne F, Schmitz C. The Role of Mg2+ in Immune Cells. Immunol Res. 2013 Mar;55(1-3):261-9. PMID: 2299045

Deason-Towne F, Perraud AL, Schmitz C.  The Mg2+ Transporter MagT1 Partially Rescues Cell Growth and Mg2+ Uptake in Cells Lacking the Channel-Kinase TRPM7. FEBS Lett. 2011 Jul 21;585(14):2275-8. Epub 2011 May 27. PMID 21627970

Schmitz C, Deason F, Perraud AL. Molecular Components of Vertebrate Mg2+- Homeostasis Regulation. Magnes Res. 2007 Mar;20(1):6-18. PMID 17536484.

Presentations & Posters

2012 University of Colorado Postdoctoral Research Day, Denver, CO Poster: The emerging role of Mg2+ availability on B cell receptor signaling.

2012 National Jewish Health Recruitment Poster Session Poster: The emerging role of Mg2+ availability on B cell receptor signaling.

2011 AAI Conference, San Francisco, CA Poster: The emerging role of Mg2+ availability on B cell receptor signaling.

2011 Colorado Immunology Conference, Estes Park, CO Poster: The emerging role of Mg2+ availability on BCR signaling.

2010 Student Research Forum, University of Colorado Medical Campus, Aurora, CO Poster: Got Mg2+? The emerging role of Mg2+availability on B cell receptor signaling.

2010 Colorado Immunology Conference, Glenwood Springs, CO Poster: The effect of Mg2+ availability on B cell receptor signaling.

2010 National Science Foundation, Conference on Communicating Science: Tools for Scientists. Boulder, CO

2009 Colorado Immunology Conference, Estes Park, CO Poster: Got Mg2+? The emerging role of Mg2+availability on B cell receptor signaling.

2008 Gordon Research Conference, Magnesium in Biochemical Processes and Medicine. Ventura, CA

2008 Colorado Immunology Conference. Breckenridge, CO Poster: The effect of Mg2+ availability on B cell receptor signaling.

2007 Colorado Immunology Conference, Glenwood Springs, CO Poster: Magnesium homeostasis in B cells. Oral Presentations:

2012 Faculty invited MS seminar series, Regis University, Denver, CO

2011 The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Conference, San Francisco, CA

2009 Colorado Immunology Conference. Conference Poster Winners Session, Estes Park, CO

2008 Immunology Student Conference, Mt. Evans, CO

2006-2010 Annual Immunology Research in Progress Seminar, University of Colorado at National Jewish Health, Denver, CO

Awards & Recognition

Awards

American Association of Immunologists Trainee Travel Award

Poster Winner, 10th Annual Colorado Immunology Conference

NIH Pre-doctoral Traineeship in Immunology

Ray Cowden Full Tuition Scholarship

Research Training Group Fellowship

Robert Byrd Four-Year Full Academic Scholarship