Department of Internal Medicine
Zuhair K. Ballas, M.D.
Director, Division of Immunology
Dr. Ballas's clinical interests place major emphasis on the evaluation of immune dysfunction. In particular, he examines patients with possible abnormalities in distinct components of the immune system such as NK cells, CD8, CD4 or B lymphocytes as well as neutrophil deficiency. He is also interested in patients with impaired wound healing. Other clinical interests include allergic problems, drug reactions in particular, and the clinical use of biological response modifiers. Dr. Ballas's research examines the role of lymphokines in cell-mediated immune responses and transplantation, the role of killer cells in tumor immunity and the modulation of in vivo immune responses with particular emphasis on inflammatory and malignant disease. The research focus is placed on the role of NK cells in health and disease. This topic is explored in bench research endeavors, in translational research and in clinical research. Current research projects are as follows: 1) Augmentation of NK cell activity by CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) and their use in tumor immunotherapy; 2) NK cell activity in alcoholism; 3) Role of NK cells in asthma; 4) Clinical spectrum of patients with NK cell deficiency; and 5) Assessment of normal antibody responses in particular Dr. Ballas is also involved in examining the therapeutic potential of DNA vaccines in asthma.
Dr. Ballas established and directs the Cellular Immunology Diagnostic lab and runs the Adult Immune Disorders Clinic. This lab offers state-of-the-art examination of cellular immunity. He is the Director of the Flow Cytometry Facility which is a fee-for-service Carver College of Medicine Core Facility. Dr. Ballas is also a member of the Interdisciplinary Immunology Graduate Program and serves as Program Leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa.
Honors, Awards, and Organizations
- Alpha Omega Alpha
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Fellow
- American Association of Immunologists
- Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine, Board of Allergy and Immunology, and Board of Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
- American College of Physicians, Fellow
- American Society for Clinical Investigation
- Society of Natural Immunity
- Clinical Immunology Society
- Clinical Investigator Career Awardee, Research Associate Career Awardee
- Cook, R.T., Schlueter, A.J., Coleman, R.A., Tygrett, L., Ballas, Z.K., Jerrell, T.R., Nashelsky, M.B., Ray, N.B., Haugen, T.H., and Waldschmidt, T.J.: Thymocytes, Pre-B Cells, and Organ Changes in a Mouse Model of Chronic Ethanol Ingestion-Absence of Subset-Specific Glucocorticoid-Induced Immune Cell Loss. Alcoholism Clin Exp Res 31:1-13, 2007. (Oct)
- Ballas, Z.K.: Modulation of NK Cell Activity by CpG Oligodeoxynucleo-tides. Immunol Res 39:15-21, 2007.
- Shey, M.R., and Ballas, Z.K.: Assessment of Natural Killer (NK) and NKT Cells in Murine Spleens and Livers. Methods Mol Biol 447:259-276, 2008.
- Svensson, R.U., Shey, M.R., Ballas, Z.K., Dorkin, J.R., Goldberg, M., Akinc, A., Langer, R., Anderson, D.G., Bumcrot, D., and Henry M.D.: Assessing siRNA Pharmacodynamics in a Luciferase-Expressing Mouse. Mol. Ther 16:1995-2001, 2008. EPub Sep 9, 2008.
- Hare, N.D., Smith, B.J., and Ballas, Z.K.: Antibody Response to Pheumococcal Vaccination as a Function of Preimmunization Titer. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 123:195-200, 2009.