Eric Pearlman, PhD, Director, Institute for Immunology


Eric Pearlman is a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. He is also director of the UC Irvine Institute for Immunology.

Research Interests

The main focus of my research is on the regulatory role of neutrophils in bacterial and fungal infections, especially corneal infections that lead to visual impairment and blindness. My lab is focused on the role of neutrophils as a primary source of IL-17A in microbial disease. Most recently, we identified and characterized a novel population of neutrophils that produce IL-17A and which also express a functional receptor, leading to autocrine activation of these cells and enhanced killing of Aspergillus fumigatus hyphae (Taylor, Pearlman et al. 2014. Autocrine IL-17A / IL-17RC neutrophil activation in fungal infections is regulated by IL-6, IL-23, RORg t and Dectin-2. Nature Immunology. 2.143-151).

A second area of interest is the role of neutrophils as a primary source of mature IL-1b at the early stage of bacterial infection. We demonstrated that neutrophils activate the NLRP3 inflammasome in response to infection with pneumolysin expressing Streptococcus pneumoniae (Karmakar, Pearlman et al. 2015. Pneumolysin induces K+ efflux and NLRP3/Caspase 1 dependent IL-1β processing by neutrophils. J. Immunol. 194.


3032 Hewitt Hall


3101 Hewitt Hall