Barbara J. Vilen

Associate Professor
UNC-Chapel Hill

Area of interest

Our lab focuses on the mechanisms underlying immune dysfunction in autoimmune disease. We identified that in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), defects in lysosome acidification reduce degradation of IgG-immune complexes that enter myeloid cells by phagocytosis. This defect leads to multiple pathologies associated with murine SLE. Current studies focus on translating our murine findings to human SLE through cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, studies to assess whether restoring lysosome function prevents onset or attenuates progression of disease in mice, studies to define the molecular and genetic events that drive lysosome dysfunction, and studies address how lysosome defects in B cells contribute to lymphoid cell involvement in SLE. Detailed research information is available on our websites: .

Awards and Honors

  • 2018 RoseMarie K. Witter Foundation Lupus Research Award
  • 2017 Intellectual Property; Method for Treating SLE (UNC170011 national phase)
  • 2014 Intellectual Property; Compositions and Methods for Repressing B cell Autoantibody Secretion and for Treating Autoimmune Disease. ┬áPatent # 8,795,653; Issued 2014