Blake M. Warner, DDS, PhD, MPH is currently an Assistant Clinical Investigator and Chief of the Salivary Disorders Unit and the Sjögren’s Syndrome Clinic. The integrated specialty clinic, and associated research laboratory, focus on characterizing disorders affecting the salivary glands including autoimmune diseases (i.e., Sjogren’s Syndrome) and iatrogenic salivary damage by oncologic therapies (e.g., immune checkpoint inhibitor sicca, targeted radionuclide therapies). To study salivary gland disorders, the lab dissects the clinical phenotype, genetics, and immunopathology of salivary dysfunction states to inform the clinical testing novel therapeutics to improve health outcomes.
Presently, the Salivary Disorders Unit is pursuing two focused research projects: i) investigating pathogenic T cell subsets in Sjögren’s Syndrome and immune checkpoint inhibitor sicca (ICIS, Warner et al., 2019, Burbelo et al., 2019), and ii) the identification of novel mechanisms of salivary dysregulation in genetic forms of Sjögren’s Syndrome. The laboratory uses patient-derived tissues to perform integrated tissue investigations using single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) and spatially-resolved RNA-seq (srRNA-seq) and robust clinical data to understand transcriptional state of each salivary cell type. The second aim is to identify unique subsets patients which phenocopy SS but with variants in pathways central to salivary function, or in genes that modify the development of autoimmunity. In studying rare disease variants, we open a window into the biology of complex autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Blake M. Warner received his B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Miami in Oxford, OH, and his M.P.H., Ph.D., and D.D.S. at The Ohio State University. Dr. Warner subsequently completed a three-year hospital-based clinical residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and earned his Fellowship in the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and his Board Certification by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology in 2017. Dr. Warner then completed a post-doctoral Clinical Research Fellowship at NIDCR focused on basic and clinical investigations in Sjögren’s Syndrome and radiation-induced xerostomia. In May of 2018, Dr. Warner was appointed acting chief of the Sjögren’s Syndrome Clinic and in August of 2019 was appointed Chief of the Salivary Disorders Unit and the Sjögren’s Syndrome Clinic. He leads an integrated multi-specialty clinic and aligned research laboratory focused on deep characterization of disorders affecting the salivary glands including autoimmune diseases and iatrogenic salivary damage by oncologic therapies. Specifically, we interrogate the clinical phenotype, genetics, and immunopathology of salivary dysfunction states including SS and immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced (ICI) sicca and to inform the clinical testing novel therapeutics to improve health outcomes.