Assistant Professor

MEMPHIS TN 381032893
Tel: (901) 287-5318


  • PostDoc, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Infectious Diseases
  • Ph.D., North Dakota State University, Molecular Pathogenesis
  • M.S., California State University, Northridge, Neuroimmunology
  • B.S., California State University, Northridge, Biotechnology

Research Description

Asthma, a disease of the airways that impacts over 200 million people globally, can often be complicated by respiratory pathogens. Analysis of records after the 2009 influenza pandemic indicated that while asthmatics were more likely to be hospitalized as a result of virus infection, they were less likely to suffer from severe morbidity and mortality compared to non-asthmatics. We developed a murine model system to study the intersection of allergic asthma and influenza in the laboratory with the aim of determining the host immune responses of an allergic host during influenza infections. We showed that the state of the allergic airways at the time of influenza infection was a determinant of the disease outcome, wherein hosts infected with influenza virus at the peak of allergic airways inflammation were protected from influenza. Our efforts are now focused on determining cells and mediators that may influence responses which may hinder influenza virus replication or enhance immunity in the asthmatic host. Additional ongoing studies include investigating the viral-bacterial synergy in asthma and parasite-allergen responses in the development of asthma.

Our laboratory mission is to investigate interactions between the allergic host and respiratory pathogens using unique model systems and cutting edge technologies. We aim to gain knowledge and expertise through which we may impact human health. Laboratory members work on independent projects in a collaborative setting.

Graduate and Post-doctoral positions available. Please e-mail for further information.

Laboratory Group

Current Members

Kim S. LeMessurier, Ph.D.

Dr. LeMessurier earned a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Adelaide, Australia, in 2007 where she focused on identifying transcriptional changes that occurred during Streptococcus pneumoniae pathogenesis. Over the next five years, she examined early immune responses to pneumococcal infection in the laboratory of Dr. Elaine Tuomanen in the department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children''s Research Hospital. Dr. LeMessurier joined the Samarasinghe group as a Research Associate/Laboratory Manager in 2012. Her studies are aimed at delineating pathways by which hosts with allergic airways disease counter respiratory bacterial infections.

Tilani M. Palipane, B.S.

Tilani earned a Baccalaureate degree from Christian Brothers University, TN, majoring in Natural Sciences and with minors in Biology and Chemistry. She joined the Samarasinghe group in 2015 as a Research Assistant. Tilani''s studies are aimed at understanding the effect of resistin-like molecules in allergic asthma.

Laura Doorley, B.S.

Laura graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Memphis, earning a Baccalaureate degree in Biology and Chemistry. She joined UTHSC as a pre-doctoral student in 2015 and is the recipient of the Tarnowski Family Scholarship. She joined the Samarasinghe group in 2016, and her studies are aimed at understanding the role of insulin-like growth factor-1 in the pathogenesis of influenza in allergic hosts.

Jennifer Armbruster-Lee, M.D.

Dr. Lee earned a medical degree from West Virginia University and completed a Residency in Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2015. She was the Chief Resident from 2014-2015. She is currently in a Fellowship program at our institute focusing on Pediatric Gastroenterology. She joined the Samarasinghe group in 2016 to complete her Research training for her Fellowship. Her research interests include eosinophilic esophagitis, vitamin D deficiency, and obesity.

Hannah Buser

Hannah is an undergraduate student at Colgate University, New York, majoring in Psychology. She is interested in neurology and the study of learning and memory. Hannah joined the Samarasinghe group in 2015 as a Summer Intern. Her research goals are to determine how cytokines are regulated in the hippocampus and cerebellum in a model of glutamate excitatoxicity and to determine the impact of lung inflammation on the brain during allergic asthma.


Past Members

Yanyan Lin, M.S. (Research Specialist, Aug 2014 - Apr 2016)

Kyle Cavender (Intern, Summer 2015)

Angela Walton, B.S. (Intern, Spring 2015)

Clarissa Gay, B.S. (Intern, Fall 2014)

Sarah Allan, B.S. (Medical Student Intern, Summer 2014)

Brian Gavin, B.S. (Medical Student Intern, Summer 2013)

Research Interest/Specialty

Asthma immunology

Respiratory infections

Host-pathogen interactions


Current Funding

  1. American Lung Association, Biomedical Research Grant (07/01/2015 - 06/30/2017) -- Role: PI
  2. Le Bonheur Children''s Foundation and Associate Board, Junior Investigator Award (07/01/2015 - 06/30/2016) -- Role: PI

Past Funding

  1. University of Tennessee Health Science Center, iRISE grant (01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015) -- Role: PI
  2. Le Bonheur Children''s Foundation, Junior Faculty Grant, Competitive Renewal (07/01/2014 - 06/30/2015) -- Role: PI
  3. Le Bonheur Children''s Foundation, Bea Gerber Award (07/01/2013 - 06/30/2014) -- Role: PI
  4. Le Bonheur Childten''s Foundation, Junior Faculty Grant, (07/01/2013 - 06/30/2014) -- Role: PI

Research Keywords

Allergic asthma

Respiratory infections




  1. LeMessurier, KS, Lin, Y, McCullers, JA, Samarasinghe, AE. Antimicrobial peptides alter early immune response to influenza A virus infection in C57BL/6 mice. Antiviral Res, 133, 208-217, 2016.
  2. Hrincius ER, Liedmann S, Finkelstein D, Vogel P, Gansebom S, Samarasinghe AE, You D, Cormier SA, McCullers JA.. Acute Lung Injury Results from Innate Sensing of Viruses by an ER Stress Pathway. Cell Reports, 2015.
  3. Ghosh S, Samarasinghe AE, Hoselton SA, Dorsam GP, Schuh JM. Hyaluronan deposition and co-localization with inflammatory cells and collagen in a murine model of fungal allergic asthma. Inflammation Research, 63 (6), 475-84, 2014.
  4. Alymova, IV, Samarasinghe, A, Vogel, P, Green, AM, Weinlich, R, McCullers, JA. A novel cytotoxic sequence contributes to influenza A viral protein PB1-F2 pathogenicity and predisposition to secondary bacterial infection. J Virol, 88 (1), 503-15, 2014.
  5. Samarasinghe AE, Woolard SN, Boyd KL, Hoselton SA, Schuh JM, McCullers JA. The immune profile associated with acute allergic asthma ccelerates clearance of influenza virus. Immunology and Cell Biology, 92 (5), 449-459, 2014.
  6. Samarasinghe, AE, Hoselton, SA, Schuh, JM. A comparison between intratracheal and inhalation delivery of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia in the development of fungal allergic asthma in C57BL/6 mice. Fungal Biol, 115 (1), 21-9, 2011.
  7. Samarasinghe, AE, Hoselton, SA, Schuh, JM. The absence of VPAC2 leads to aberrant antibody production in Aspergillus fumigatus sensitized and challenged mice. Peptides, 32 (1), 131-7, 2011.
  8. Hoselton, SA, Samarasinghe, AE, Seydel, JM, Schuh, JM. An inhalation model of airway allergic response to inhalation of environmental Aspergillus fumigatus conidia in sensitized BALB/c mice. Med Mycol, 48 (8), 1056-65, 2010.
  9. Dorsam, GP, Hoselton, SA, Sandy, AR, Samarasinghe, AE, Vomhof-Dekrey, EE, Dorsam, ST, Schuh, JM. Gene expression profiling and network analysis of peripheral blood monocytes in a chronic model of allergic asthma. Microbiol Immunol, 54 (9), 558-63, 2010.
  10. Samarasinghe, AE, Hoselton, SA, Schuh, JM. Spatio-temporal localization of vasoactive intestinal peptide and neutral endopeptidase in allergic murine lungs. Regul Pept, 164 (2-3), 151-7, 2010.
  11. Samarasinghe, AE, Hoselton, SA, Schuh, JM. The absence of the VPAC(2) receptor does not protect mice from Aspergillus induced allergic asthma. Peptides, 31 (6), 1068-75, 2010.
  12. Hoselton, SA, Samarasinghe, AE, Seydel, JL, Serie, KM, Schuh, JM. Creation and characterization of an IgG1-type monoclonal antibody against intact Aspergillus fumigatus conidia. Hybridoma (Larchmt), 26 (4), 251-4, 2007.