Formerly serving as head of technical support for operations at Bayer Corporation, Donald Lee "Don" Pferdehirt brings more than three decades of chemical engineering experience to his role as president of the Spring, TX-based consultancy firm ChemOps Insights, LLC. Outside of his professional pursuits, Don Pferdehirt is a supporter of the Lupus Foundation of Pittsburgh.
There are four different types of Lupus, the most common of which is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This variation of the disease affects the B cells of a person's immune system and causes them to produce antibodies that react negatively against their own tissues. Common SLE symptoms include fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, and kidney problems. While there is no cure for the autoimmune disease, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine recently discovered patterns of gene activity that might serve as a precursor to the development of SLE.
The study, published in Nature Immunology, involved blood samples from 21 women, nine of which had been previously diagnosed with SLE. In examining the DNA of their B cells, researchers noticed signals of activation in "resting naïve" B cells are being stimulated via receptor pathways. This discovery should support efforts to develop new therapeutic interventions.