Susan Jackman, Ph.D.

Susan Jackman, Ph.D.Professor
Department: Biochemistry and Microbiology
Research Cluster: Infectious and Immunological Diseases
Office: BBSC 336-L | Laboratory: BBSC 331
Phone: (304) 696-7342 | Fax: (304) 696-7207


Research Interests

My current research interest is in medical education in Microbiology and Immunology. To be successful in Marshall’s medical school, students need to pass all their courses, which often include comprehensive subject exams provided by the National Board of Medical Examiners. Students frequently do not know their level of knowledge in a subject and therefore want to have opportunities for self-assessment. Multiple choice practice questions are a good source for self-assessment for medical students, particularly those questions that provide explanations for the different answer choices. In addition, this type of question can educate the student in peripheral content items associated with the answer choice explanations. An ongoing research project is focused on the relationship between the use of practice questions and the outcome on course and national exams.

Past research has been in the study of an autoimmune response directed to the skin in mice which targets the epidermal cell antigens called Skn. We have found that after inducing skin lesions in our mouse model of autoimmunity, we can suppress the autoimmune response by introducing spleen cells obtained from a “normal” mouse. The result is that the mice have significantly reduced lesion severity,. which, correlated with expression of the cytokine, interleukin-7 (IL-7) and that IL-7 gene therapy, can suppress the development of skin lesions.

A second focus of past research has been the study of Streptococcus agalactiae, group B streptococcus (GBS), the primary agent associated with life-threatening bacterial infections in the neonatal period. Neonates with GBS sepsis have elevated plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6. In preliminary in vitro studies, we found that IL-6 enhanced GBS growth at high, but physiologically relevant, concentrations and increased expression of a set of genes (heat shock genes), which have been associated with virulence.

Selected Publications

Staton, P.J., A.B. Carpenter and S.H. Jackman. 2006. IL-7 is a critical factor in modulating lesion development in Skn-directed autoimmunity, J. Immunol. 176:3978-3986.

Jackman, S.H., S. Keerthy, G. Perry. 2002. Murine epidermal cell antigen (SKN)-directed autoimmunity induced by transfer of CD4+ T cells. Ann. Clin. Lab. Sci. 32:171-180.

Smith, J.M., J.A. Rexroth, D.G. Chaffin, S.H. Jackman. 2002. Serotyping of group B streptococcus in a small community hospital: an analysis of distribution and site of isolation. Infect. Dis. Obstet. Gynecol. 10:165-169.

Smith, J.M., R.H. Respess, D.G.Chaffin, and S.H. Jackman. 2001. Differences in the innate immunologic response to group B streptococcus between colonized and noncolonized women. Infect. Dis. Obstet. Gynecol. 9:125-132.

Jackman, S.H., E.A. Boyse and E.H. Goldberg. 1992. Adoptive transfer of skin selective autoimmunity by Skn alloantigenic disparities. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA). 89:11041-11045.