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Alexandra McCubbrey
e-mail address: amccubbr@umich.edu

Mentor: Jeffrey Curtis, MD

Research Description

Apoptotic cell clearance is an essential, highly conserved process in which phagocytic cells recognize, engulf and digest dead cells.  I study 1) how this process is impacted by glucocorticoids and how that affects the innate immune response, as well as 2) the basic biology involved in negatively regulating apoptotic cell uptake.

I am interested in how the combination of inhaled glucocorticoids and apoptotic cells within the lung (such as can be found in the lungs of many COPD and severe asthma patients) changes bacterial phagocytosis and immunopathology after Streoptococcal pneumoniae infection.

In addition, I am interested in how miRNA are involved in the negative regulation of apoptotic cell clearance and in identifying the target genes through which this regulation occurs.


McCubbrey AL, Curtis JL.  2013.  Efferocytosis and lung disease.  Chest.  Jun 1;143(6):1750-7

Todt JC, Freeman CM, Brown JP, Sonstein J, Ames TM, McCubbrey AL, Martinez FJ, Chensue SW, Beck JM, Curtis JL.  2013.  Smoking decreases the response of human lung macrophages to double-stranded RNA by reducing TLR3 expression.  Respir Res.  Mar 9;14:33

Freeman CM, Martinez FJ, Han MK, Washko GR Jr, McCubbrey AL, Chensue SW, Arenberg DA, Meldrum CA, McCloskey L, Curtis JL.  2013  Lung CD8+ T cells in COPD have increased expression of bacterial TLRs.  Respir Res.  Feb 1;14:13

Marcoe JP, Lim JR, Schaubert KL, Fodil-Cornu N, Matka M, McCubbrey AL, Farr AR, Vidal SM, Laouar Y.  2012.  TGF-β is responsible for NK cell immaturity during ontogeny and increased susceptibility to infection during mouse infancy.  Nat Immunol.  Sep;13(9):843-50

McCubbrey AL, Sonstein J, Ames TM, Freeman CM, Curtis JL.  2012.  Glucocorticoids relieve collectin-driven suppression of apoptotic cell uptake in murine alveolar macrophages through downregulation of SIRPα.  J Immunol. Jul 1;189(1):112-9


AL McCubbrey, JD Nelson, PK Blakely, CM Freeman, JL Curtis: “Novel role for miR-34a in controlling apoptotic cell clearance in the lung and brain” Gordon Research Seminar – Apoptotic Cell Recognition and Clearance, Biddeford, Maine, June 2013. (Oral and Poster)

AL McCubbrey & JL Curtis: “Corticosteroids Increase Murine Alveolar Macrophage Efferocytosis with Innate Immune Consequences”. Gordon Research Conference - Apoptotic Cell Recognition and Clearance, Lewiston, Maine, July 2011. (Poster)

AL McCubbrey, CM Freeman, FJ Martinez, T Ames, MLK Han, SW Chensue, DA Arenberg, C Meldrum, C Getty, D Thompson, L McCloskey, JL Curtis: "Decreased cytokine production by lung CD4+ T cells in advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease". Keystone Symposia - Lymphocyte Activation and Gene Expression, Denver, Colorado, February 2010. (Poster)


Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2013-14

Rackham Conference Travel Grant, University of Michigan, 2013

Rackham Conference Travel Grant, University of Michigan, 2011

Monte V. Hobbs Student Award, 2011


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