For the past 18 years, Dr. Sherman has been learning very basic principles of research and their potential to become cures for human diseases. She graduated from the Vitebsk Veterinary Academy in Belarus in 1994, where she studied the biology of farm animals, and after moving to the US, became very interested in science and animal models of human diseases.
Since joining Dr. Roland Herzog’s laboratory in 2011, the primary focus of Dr. Sherman's work has been to develop and optimize protocols for oral tolerance induction in the hemophilia mouse and dog models. The scope of her research in hemophilia includes novel methods such as gene and cell therapies, in addition to evaluating mechanisms of immune responses and developing protocols for immune tolerance induction by inducing regulatory T cells (Tregs).
The concept of inducing tolerance via oral route originates from treating/tolerizing people with food allergies. Small doses of antigens (egg or peanut protein) are fed to patients over prolonged periods until the immune system recognizes them as “self” proteins. The lab applied this concept to the genetic disease hemophilia. They successfully tolerized mice to systemically administered proteins, clotting factors FVIII and FIX. This was a very exciting finding because the group's clotting factors FVIII and FIX were incapsulated in the plant cells and not chemically synthetized. The lab's collaborator from UPenn created a transgenic lettuce plant containing human clotting factors. Investigators in the Herzog Lab hope that this method can be used as a part of treatment regimen for patients with hemophilia.
Prior to Dr. Sherman's work in the Herzog Lab, she spent a decade studying neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurodegenerative diseases and neurotrauma. In her work, she studied brain anatomy, memory, and plasticity, where she learned that scientists are just scratching the surface of understanding the complexity of the brain.