Janet A. Fairley, MD, FAAD


Chair, John S. Strauss Professor and Head
Professor of Dermatology

Contact Information

Office: 40040 Pomerantz Family Pavilion
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-356-3609



BS, Zoology, Michigan State University
MD, Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School

Internship, Hennepin County Medical Center
Residency, Dermatology, University of Michigan
Fellowship, NIH Research, Cell Physiology, Dermatology, University of Michigan

Licensure and Certifications

State of Iowa Medical License, Iowa Board of Medicine
Board Certified, American Board of Dermatology
Board Certified, National Board of Medical Examiners
State of Michigan Medical License, Michigan Board of Medicine

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine

Research Summary

The overall goal of the current research in my laboratory is to better understand the pathogenesis of the organ-specific autoimmune blistering diseases, such as bullous pemphigoid. Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is an blistering skin disease skin characterized by development of autoantibodies against BP180, a cell-substrate attachment protein. Early studies of the pathogenesis of BP were focused on autoantibodies of the IgG class; however, findings from our work and others have made it clear that IgE class autoantibodies also play a critical role in this disease process. We have shown that 90% of BP patients produce IgE autoantibodies that target the same small antigenic region of BP180 (termed NC16A) that is recognized by IgG autoantibodies. Further, BP IgE, when passively transferred into a xenograft murine model, can replicate the early phase of BP lesion development. This was the first demonstration of the pathogenicity of human IgE in an autoimmune disease. Treatment of basophils isolated from BP patients with the NC16A peptide was shown to induce specific degranulation of the cells, suggesting one mechanism by which IgE may contribute to lesion development. Recently we have utilized our research on IgE for the basis of a clinical trials of anti-IgE therapy in BP. Our future goals are to further delineate the role of IgE autoantibodies and effectors cells such as eosinophils and mast cells in BP and to utilize this information to identify additional novel therapies for autoimmune diseases.

As a physician-scientist one of my major goals is to translate findings from the laboratory into improved diagnostics and or therapies for patients.

Selected Publications

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Kelchen M, Holdren G, Farley M, Zimmerman M, Fairley J, Brogden N.  Optimization of Impedance Spectroscopy Techniques for Measuring Cutaneous Micropore Formation after Microneedle Treatment in an Elderly Population.  Pharm Res.  2014 December. 31(12):3478-86.

Messingham K, Holahan H, Frydman A, Fullenkamp C, Srikantha R, Fairley J.  Human Eosinophils Express the High Affinity IgE Receptor, FcεRI, in Bullous Pemphigoid.  PLoS One;  2014. 

Yu L, Crew A, Messingham K, Fairley J, Woodley D.  Omalizumab therapy for bullous pemphigoid.  J Am Acad Dermatol.  2014 September. 71(3):468-74.

Messingham K, Holahan H, Fairley J.  Unraveling the significance of IgE autoantibodies in organ-specific autoimmunity: lessons learned from bullous pemphigoid.  Immunol Res.  2014 August. 59((1-3)):273-8.

Fairley J, Krueger G, Lessin S, Leyden J, McBurney E, Orlow S, Tharp M, Voorhees J, Wintroub B, Yancey K.  The Dermatology Foundation: partnerships and programs focused on the future.  J Invest Dermatol.  2013 April. 133(4):861-2.

Fairley J, Bream M, Fullenkamp C, Syrbu S, Chen M, Messingham K.  Missing the target: characterization of bullous pemphigoid patients who are negative using the BP180 enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay.  J Am Acad Derm.  2013 March. 68(3):395-403.

Wilson T, Legler A, Madison K, Fairley J, Swick B.  Erythema migrans: a spectrum of histopathologic changes.  AM J Dermatopath.  2012 December. 34(8):834-7.

Asarch A, Swick B, Fairley J.  Cryptic esophageal pemphigus vulgaris despite apparent clinical remission.  J Am Acad Dermatol.  2012. 67(5):e213-4.

Messingham K, Frydman A, Roewe R, Fairley J.  FA role for IgE receptor expression on eosinophils in BP.  J Invest Derm.  2012. 132(4):S1-S18.

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48