Kelly N. Messingham, PhD


Research Associate Professor of Dermatology

Contact Information

Office: 2080C Medical Laboratories
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-353-5928



BS, Biology, Iowa State University
MS, Immunology and Preventive Medicine, Iowa State University
PhD, Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy , Loyola University

Post Doctorate, Microbiology, University of Iowa

Research Summary

My research interests focus on the regulation of immunity within the skin. These studies primarily utilize the autoimmune blistering disease Bullous pemphigoid (BP) as a model of human autoimmunity. BP is mediated by autoantibodies specific for proteins, BP180 or type XVII collagen, involved in anchoring the epidermal keratinocytes to the underlying dermis. These BP180-specific autoantibodies are thought to mediate blister formation by propagating inflammation within the skin and activating a variety of immune cells that then release proteases, which lead to tissue destruction. A main focus of this work, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Janet Fairley, is to unravel the unique contribution of IgE-class autoantibodies in the development and progression of BP lesions. Other studies focus on evaluating the direct effects of antibodies on keratinocyte structure and function. These studies will help us understand the role of keratinocytes in the regulation of immunity and inflammation within the skin. Finally, we have begun to examine the regulatory components of the skin immune system to better understand how BP develops.

Selected Publications

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Yu K, Crew A, Messingham K, Fairley J, Woodley D.  Omalizumab therapy for bullous pemphigoid.  J Am Acad Dermatol.  2014 June 20. 

Messingham K, Holahan H, Fairley J.  Unraveling the significance of IgE autoantibodies in organ-specific autoimmunity: lessons learned from bullous pemphigoid.  Immunol Res.  2014 May. 

Swick B, Srikantha R, Messingham K.  Specific analysis of KIT and PDGFR-alpha expression and mutational status in Merkel cell carcinoma.  J Cutan Pathol.  2013 July. 40(7):623-30.

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 Dermatol.  2013 March. 68(3):395-403.

Messingham K, Pietras T, Fairley J.  The Role of IgE in Bullous Pemphigoid: A Review and Rationale for IgE Directed Therapies.  G Ital Dermatol Venereol.  2012 June. 147(3):251-7 Invited Review.

Messingham K, Onoh A, Vanderah E, Fairley J.  Functional characterization of an IgE-class monoclonal antibody specific for the bullous pemphigoid autoantigen, BP180.  Hybridoma (Larchmt)..  2012 April. 31(2):111-17.

Messingham K, Srikantha R, DeGueme A, Fairley J.  FcR-independent effects of IgE and IgG autoantibodies in bullous pemphigoid.  J Immunol.  2011 July 1. 187(1):553-60.

Noe M, Messingham K, Brandt D, Andrews J, Fairley J.  Pregnant women have increased incidence of IgE autoantibodies reactive with the skin and placental antigen BP180 (type XVII collagen).  J Reprod Immunol.  2010 June. 85(2):198-204.

Messingham K, Noe M, Chapman M, Giudice G, Fairley J.  A novel ELISA reveals high frequencies of BP180-specific IgE production in bullous pemphigoid.  J Immunol Meth.  2009 July. 346(1-2):18-25.

Fairley J, Baum C, Brandt D, Messingham K.  Pathogenicity of IgE in Autoimmunity: Successful Treatment of Bullous Pemphigoid with Omalizumab.  J Allergy Clin Immunol.  2008. 123(3):704-5.

Date Last Modified: 09/20/2016 - 09:10:04