Christian D Becker, MD, PhD
- ASSISTANT PROFESSOR | Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
Research Topics:Antigen Presentation, Autoimmunity, Chemokines, Chemotaxis, Dendritic Cells, Fibrosis, Immunology, Lung, Lymphocytes, Mucosal Immunology, Respiratory Tract
Dr. Christian Becker received combined MD (1999) and PhD degrees (2001, molecular genetics) from Hannover Medical School in Germany. He trained in Internal Medicine in Germany (2000-2002) and subsequently in the US (2002-2005), followed by clinical (2005-2008) and research fellowship training (2008-2009) in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He joined the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 2009 as a physician scientist with a translational research focus on human lung dendritic cell anatomic and functional diversity in the steady state and pulmonary disease, specifically lung cancer, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and sarcoidosis. In addition, Dr. Becker is involved in various immunophenotyping studies: he is the principal investigator for a clinical study on myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), which is examining the effects of physical exercise on the immune status of patients with this condition, and is conducting immunophenotyping studies on lung cancer, sarcoidosis and IPF.
He continues to see patients in both outpatient and inpatient settings.
Outstanding Medical Educator Award
Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award
Roche Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
Faculty Training Grant Award in Cancer Biology
Research Fellowship Award
Outstanding Graduating Resident Award
PhD thesis awarded 'Summa Cum Laude'
Human Lung Dendritic Cell Anatomic and Functional Diversity
The respiratory tract is one of the organ systems in the human body directly confronted with the outside world, making effective immune surveillance and defense mechanisms essential. Dendritic cells (DCs) are emerging as prominent regulators of immune responses in the lung. Historically, a large body of work has looked into the anatomic and functional properties of DCs in the respiratory system. Recent studies utilizing novel research techniques are rapidly expanding our knowledge. Most of this recent work has been done using animal models. We are characterizing the phenotypes of dendritic cells in the normal human lung and in disease states in which dendritic cells are either proven or implicated to play important roles in pathogenesis and pathophysiology, namely, but not limited to, sarcoidosis and idiopathic as well as secondary forms of pulmonary fibrosis.
Sarcoidosis is a systemic granulomatous disease that prominently affects the lungs in almost all cases. There are multiple studies suggesting an interesting functional role of dendritic cells in this disease, which – together with the fact that our medical center is a longstanding center of excellence in sarcoidosis research and a regional referral center for patients with the whole spectrum of clinical disease phenotypes - makes it a prime candidate to assess the different DC subpopulations in affected human lung and locoregionary lymph node tissue and to correlate the findings with the various different disease phenotypes we see at Mount Sinai (resolving disease vs. chronically progressive or fibrosing disease).
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronically progressive, irreversible and ultimately fatal fibrosing lung disease. The disease affects many patients worldwide without any geographical or racial predilection. The prevalence in the US is estimated at around 20 cases per 100,000 for males and 13 cases per 100,000 for females. The disease imposes both a high symptom burden and an ultimately fatal prognosis on affected patients and their families. The median survival time after diagnosis currently is only 2.5 to 3.5 years. Our understanding of this disease, its cause(s) and underlying pathogenetic mechanisms is poor. There is no effective treatment available to date. Secondary forms of pulmonary fibrosis affect a much higher number of patients, but exact numbers on prevalence, morbidity and mortality are difficult to estimate given the heterogeneity of the different underlying conditions. A characterization of how the different dendritic cell subsets are dysfunctional in pulmonary fibrosis will help to better understand the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms and may offer new insights into therapeutic options to halt the progression of the fibrotic remodeling process in patients afflicted with this condition.
Remark R, Becker C, Gomez JE, Damotte D, Dieu-Nosjean MC, Sautès-Fridman C, Fridman WH, Powell CA, Altorki NK, Merad M, Gnjatic S. The Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Immune Contexture: a Major Determinant of Tumor Characteristics and Patient Outcome. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 2014 Nov;.
Agudo J, Ruzo A, Tung N, Salmon H, Leboeuf M, Hashimoto D, Becker C, Garrett-Sinha L, Baccarini A, Merad M, Brown B. The miR-126–VEGFR2 axis controls the innate response to pathogen-associated nucleic acids. Nature Immunology 2014; 15: 54-62.
Hashimoto D, Chow A, Noizat C, Teo P, Beasley MB, Leboeuf M, Becker CD, See P, Price J, Lucas D, Greter M, Mortha A, Boyer SW, Forsberg EC, Tanaka M, van Rooijen N, García-Sastre A, Stanley ER, Ginhoux F, Frenette PS, Merad M. Tissue-resident macrophages self-maintain locally throughout adult life with minimal contribution from circulating monocytes. Immunity 2013 Apr; 38(4).
Yu CI, Becker C, Wang Y, Marches F, Helft J, Leboeuf M, Anguiano E, Pourpe S, Goller K, Pascual V, Banchereau J, Merad M, Palucka K. Human CD1c+ dendritic cells drive the differentiation of CD103+ CD8+ mucosal effector T cells via the cytokine TGF-β. Immunity 2013 Apr; 38(4).
Stanke F, Becker T, Kumar V, Hedtfeld S, Becker C, Cuppens H, Tamm S, Yarden J, Laabs U, Siebert B, Fernandez L, Macek M, Radojkovic D, Ballmann M, Greipel J, Cassiman JJ, Wienker TF, Tümmler B. Genes that determine immunology and inflammation modify the basic defect of impaired ion conductance in cystic fibrosis epithelia. Journal of medical genetics 2011 Jan; 48(1).
Becker C, Teirstein AS. Comment: The anergic state in sarcoidosis is associated with diminished dendritic cell function. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) 2009 Apr; 182(7).
Becker C, Sridhar P, Iannuzzi MC. Cardiac sarcoidosis associated with BTNL2. Cardiology 2009; 112(1).
Becker C, Gil J, Padilla ML. Idiopathic pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis: an unrecognized or misdiagnosed entity?. Modern pathology : an official journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Inc 2008 Jun; 21(6).
Becker C, Fischer RA. Acute cholecystitis caused by ceftriaxone stones in an adult. Case reports in medicine 2009; 2009.