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Andrew Baird

Title(s)Professor In Residence, Surgery
SchoolHealth Sciences
Phone619-471-9027
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    Salk InstitutePost-doctoral Fellow1982Neuroendocrinology
    McGill UniversityPh.D. 1980Biochemistry
    University of OttawaHons. B.Sc. 1976Biochemistry
    University of OttawaB.Sc.1975Biochemistry

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    Although it is widely accepted that the presence of taxonomically-restricted genes in different species make those genomes unique from all other species, it is not known if, or how, these species-specific genes might confer species-specific biological responsiveness to fundamental processes like inflammation and fibrosis.

    Our laboratories have shown how the emergence of uniquely-human genes during hominid evolution may contribute to the appearance and progression of complex human inflammatory diseases.

    First, we showed that uniquely-human genes are over-represented and regulated in immune cells like monocytes, lymphocytes and progenitor cells of bone marrow.

    Second, we showed how the open reading frames encoded by these genes (once thought to be “pseudogenes”) can produce species-specific ligands (e.g. c2orf40TRG), receptors (e.g. CHRFAM7A), signal transduction molecules (e.g. TBC1D3) and even candidate transcription factors (e.g. TPTEP1).

    Finally, we also showed how each of these genes can be implicated in human inflammatory disease, from injury and regeneration to cancer and tissue repair.

    Having shown that these genes can have new biological activities unto themselves, gauge the activities of genes common to all species or compensate for the activity of their “parental” gene(s), we are evaluating how they arise and what they do in the hominid genome.

    The mechanisms that explain their appearance in the human genome are common to all species. They include
    (1) mutagenesis,
    (2) partial gene duplication and rearrangement,
    (3) differential mRNA splicing and,
    (4) the endogenization of foreign DNA.

    Their effects on human biology include modulating human monocytes, lymphocytes and epithelial cell migration and trafficking, altering responsiveness to secretogogues, changing the drug sensitivity of human cells, alter resilience and inhibiting colony formation.

    Because uniquely-human genes have the potential to create uniquely human signaling pathways that, by definition are absent in other species, we propose that their identity, their expression and their contributions to human disease need to be better understood so as to fully understand the development, progression and resolution of human inflammatory disease and the mechanisms that govern human tissue repair and regeneration.

    1: Baird A, Costantini T, Coimbra R, Eliceiri BP. Injury, inflammation and the emergence of human-specific genes. Wound Repair Regen. 2016 May;24(3):602-6. doi: 10.1111/wrr.12422. Epub 2016 Apr 4. PubMed PMID: 26874655.
    2: Costantini TW, Dang X, Coimbra R, Eliceiri BP, Baird A. CHRFAM7A, a human-specific and partially duplicated a7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene with the potential to specify a human-specific inflammatory response to injury. Leukoc Biol. 2015 Feb;97(2):247-57. doi: 10.1189/jlb.4RU0814-381R. PubMed PMID: 25473097
    3: Costantini TW, Dang X, Yurchyshyna MV, Coimbra R, Eliceiri BP, Baird A. A Human-Specific a7-Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Gene in Human Leukocytes: Identification, Regulation and the Consequences of CHRFAM7A Expression. Mol Med. 2015 Apr 3;21:323-36. doi: 10.2119/molmed.2015.00018. PubMed PMID: 25860877
    4: Baird A, Coimbra R, Dang X, Eliceiri BP, Costantini TW. Up-regulation of the human-specific CHRFAM7A gene in inflammatory bowel disease. BBA Clin. 2016 Jan;5:66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2015.12.003. eCollection 2016 Jun. PubMed PMID:27051591
    5: Dang X, Eliceiri BP, Baird A, Costantini TW. CHRFAM7A: a human-specific 7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene shows differential responsiveness of human intestinal epithelial cells to LPS. FASEB J. 2015 Jun;29(6):2292-302. doi: 10.1096/fj.14-268037. Epub 2015 Feb 13. PubMed PMID: 25681457
    6: Costantini TW, Meads M, Dang X, Coimbra R, Torbett BE, Baird A, Eliceiri BP. The Response to Burn Injury in Mice With Human Hematolymphoid Systems. Ann Surg. 2016 Jan;263(1):199-204. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000001123. PubMed PMID:25575256.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Targeting the choroid plexus for drug translocation into CSF
    NIH/NEI R21EY018479Jun 1, 2009 - May 31, 2010
    Role: Principal Investigator
    A Combinatorial Approach to Wound Healing for Protein, Gene and Cell Therapeutics
    NIH/NIGMS P20GM078421Aug 1, 2006 - Jul 31, 2011
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Directed Delivery of Growth Factors to the CNS
    NIH/NINDS R43NS051896Jul 15, 2005 - Jun 30, 2006
    Role: Principal Investigator
    SMALL INSTRUMENTATION GRANT
    NIH/NIDDK S15DK049155Aug 1, 1994 - Jul 31, 1995
    Role: Principal Investigator
    BRAIN PEPTIDES IN PITUITARY FUNCTIONS AND DIABETES
    NIH/NIDDK P01DK018811Jun 30, 1975 - Nov 30, 1990
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator

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