J. Erby Wilkinson, DVM, PhD, DACVP

J. Erby Wilkinson


IVAC Pathology
ULAM Faculty

Job Title

Associate Professor of Comparative Pathology

Additional Titles

Adjunct, Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School
Adjunct, Michigan State University


Dr. Wilkinson's primary research interest is in the pathology of animal models of human disease and other experimental studies using animals, mainly mice and especially transgenic mice. He was trained as a veterinary pathologist and has been involved in experimental studies for over 25 years. During that time, as both a Principal Investigator and as a collaborator, Dr. Wilkinson has done extensive studies in general pathology, transgenic animal pathology, genetic pathology, rodent pathology, experimental pathology, immunology, and genetics. In addition to gross pathology and histopathology, he has extensive experience with immunohistochemistry.

In his role as Phenotyping Core Director and veterinary pathologist for research animals at the University of Michigan, Dr. Wilkinson has had the opportunity to see a vast spectrum of pathology. Recently, he has been involved in studies of genetic models of cancer, pathology of aging mice and rats, tissue ablation studies, muscular dystrophies, tissue injury and regeneration, RNA mis-plicing, tumor suppressor genes, and others.

Selected significant contributions include:

  1. Characterized the scurfy mouse and cloned the Foxp3 gene – the gene that regulates Treg cells
  2. Involved in the identification and characterization of the first polycystic kidney gene
  3. Defined the role of the agouti gene in diabetes and obesity (first obesity gene cloned)
  4. Analyzed the cause of death in mice treated with rapamycin to prolong life (Science Top 10 Breakthroughs 2009)

Professional Background

  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists
  • BSBME, Duke University
  • MS, University of Tennessee
  • DVM, Cornell University
  • PhD, Cornell University
  1. Wilkinson JE, Smith CA, Suter MM, Falchek W, Lewis RM: Role of plasminogen activator in pemphigus vulgaris. Am J Pathol. 134:561-569, 1989.
  2. Godfrey VL, Wilkinson JE, Russell LB: X-linked lymphoreticular disease in the scurfy (sf) mutant mouse. Am J Pathol. 138:1379-1388, 1991.
  3. Godfrey VL, Wilkinson JE, Rinchik EM, Russell LB: Fatal lymphoreticular disease in the scurfy (sf) mouse requires T cells that mature in a sf thymic environment. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 88:5528-5532, 1991.
  4. Dressler GR, Wilkinson JE, Rothenpieler UW, Williams L, Westphal H: Deregulation of PAX-2 expression causes kidney abnormalities in transgenic mice. Nature 362:65-67, 1993.
  5. Moyer J, Tischler ML, Kwon HY, Schrick JJ, Avner ED, Sweeney WE, Godfrey VL, Cacherio NLA, Wilkinson JE, Woychik RP: Candidate gene associated with a mutation causing recessive polycystic kidney disease in mice. Science 264:1329-1333, 1994.
  6. Blair P, Godfrey VL, Wilkinson JE: CD4+CD8-T cells are the effector cells in disease pathogenesis in the scurfy (sf) mouse. J Immunol 153:3764-3774, 1994.
  7. Klebig ML, Wilkinson JE, Woychik RP: Ectopic expression of the agouti gene in transgenic mice causes obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and yellow coat color. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 92:4728-4732, 1995.
  8. Kannaut S, Blair PJ, Godfrey VL, Rouse B, Wilkinson JE: Overexpression of multiple cytokine genes in scurfy mice. Eu J Immunol 26:161-165, 1996.
  9. Munson L, Wilkinson JE, Reiziss S, Flaikas-Boltz V: Transforming growth factor in bovine placentas. Biol Reprod 55:748-755, 1996.
  10. Richards WG, Yoder BK, Isfort RJ, Detilleux PG, Foster C, Nielson N, Woychik RP, Wilkinson JE: Oval cell proliferation associated with the murine insertional mutation TgN737Rpw. Am J Pathol 149:1919-1930, 1996.
  11. Richards WG, Yoder BK, Isfort RJ, Detilleux PG, Foster C, Nielson N, Woychik RP, WiIlkinson JE: Isolation and characterization of liver cell lines from wild type and mutant TgN737Rw mice. Am J Pathol 150:1189-1197, 1997.
  12. Isfort JI, Cody DB, Doersen CJ, Richards WG, Yoder BK, Wilkinson JE, Kier LD, Woychik RP: Characterization of the tetratricopeptide repeat containing Tg737 gene as a tumor suppressor gene altered in multiple neoplasia. Oncogene 15:1797-1803, 1997.
  13. Wu M, Rinchik EM, Wilkinson JE, Johnson DK: Inherited somatic mosaicism caused by an intracisternal A particle (IAP) insertion in the mouse tyrosinase gene. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94:890-894, 1997.
  14. Yoder BK, Richards WG, Sommardahl C, Sweeney WE, Michaud EJ, Wilkinson JE, Avner ED, Woychik RP: Differential rescue of the renal and hepatic disease in an autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease mouse mutant. A new model to study the liver lesion. Am J Pathol 150:2231-41, 1997.
  15. Mynatt RL, Miltenberger RJ, Klebig ML, Zemel MB, Wilkinson JE, Wilkinson WO, Woychik RP: Combined effects of insulin treatment and adipose tissue-specific agouti expression on the development of obesity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94:919-922, 1997.
  16. Richards WG, Sweeney WE, Yoder BK, Wilkinson JE, Woychik RP, Avner ED: Epidermal growth factor receptor activity mediates renal cyst formation in polycystic kidney disease. J Clin Invest 101: 935-939, 1998.
  17. Hansen LA, Malarkey DE, Wilkinson JE, Rosenberg M, Woychik RE, Tennant RW: Effect of the viable-yellow (A(vy)) agouti allele on skin tumorigenesis and humoral hypercalcemia in v-Ha-ras transgenic TGxAC mice. Carcinogenesis 19:1837-45, 1998.
  18. Clark L, Wilkinson JE, Appleby M, Ramsdell F: Cellular and molecular characterization of the scurfy mutant mouse. J Immunol 162:2546-2554, 1999.
  19. Brunkow ME, Jeffrey EW, Hjerrild KA, Paeper B, Clark LB, Yasayko SA, Wilkinson JE, Galas D, Ziegler SF, Ramsdell F: Disruption of a new forkhead/winged-helix protein, scurfin, results in the fatal lymphoproliferative disorder of the scurfy mouse. Nat Genetics 27(1):68-73, 2001.
  20. Eitzman DT, Westrick RJ, BI X, Manning SL, Wilkinson JE, Broze GJ, Ginsburg D: Lethal perinatal thrombosis in mice resulting from the interaction of tissue factor pathway inhibitor deficiency and factor V Leiden. Circulation 105:2139-2142, 2002.
  21. Zahorsky-Reeves JL, Wilkinson JE: A transgenic mouse strain with antigen-specific T cells (RAG1KO/sf/OVA) demonstrates that the scurfy mutation causes a defect in T-cell tolerization. Comp Med 52: 58-62, 2002.
  22. Cha KB, Karolyi IJ, Hunt A, Wenglikowski AM, Wilknson JE, Dolan DF, Dootz G, Finnegan AA, Seasholtz AF, Hankenson KD, Siracusa LD, Camper SA: Skeletal dysplasia and male infertility locus on mouse chromosome 9. Genomics 83:951-60, 2004.
  23. Moore ML, Mckissic EL, Brown CC, Wilkinson JE, Spindler KR: Fatal disseminated mouse adenovirus type I infection in mice lacking B cells or Bruton’s tyrosine kinease, J Virol 78:5584-90, 2004.
  24. Ray D, Wu A, Wilkinson JE, Murphy HS, Lu Q, Kluve-Beckerman B, Liepnieks JJ, Benson M, Yung R, Richardson B. Aging in heterozygous Dnmt1-deficient mice: effects on survival, the DNA methylation genes, and the development of amyloidosis. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 61(2):115-24, 2006.
  25. Duran-Struuck R, Hartigan A, Clouthier SG, Dyson MC, Lowler K, Gatza E, Tawara I,. Toubai T, Weisiger E, Hugunin K, et al. Differential susceptibility of C57BL/6NCr and B6.Cg-Ptprca mice to commensal bacteria after whole body irradiation in translational bone marrow transplant studies. J Transl Med 28(6):10-21, 2008.
  26. Lake AM, Xu Z, Wilkinson JE, Cain CA, Roberts WW. Renal ablation by histotripsy--does it spare the collecting system? J Urol 179(3):1150-4, 2008.
  27. Serkova NJ, Van Rheen Z, Tobias M, Pitzer JE, Wilkinson JE, Stringer KA. Utility of magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomics for quantification of inflammatory lung injury. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol295(1):L152-61, 2008. 
  28. Winterroth F, Xu Z, Wang TY, Wilkinson JE, Roberts WW, Fowlkes JB, Cain CA: Tissue fragmentation treatment by pulsed cavitational ultrasound therapy – histotripsy. J Urol 179(3):1150 -1155, 2008.
  29. Zhang J, Wilkinson JE, Gonit M, Keck R, Selman S, Ratnam M. Expression and sub-cellular localization of the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha in relation to postnatal development and malignancy of the prostate. Prostate 68(11):1206-14, 2008.
  30. Makidon PE, Bielinska AU,  Nigeveker SS, Janczak KW, Knowlton J, Scott AJ, Mank N, Cao X, Rathinavelu S, Beer MR, Wilkinson JE, Blanko LP, Landers JA, Baker JR: Pre-clinical evaluation of a novel nanoemulsion-based hepatitis B mucosal vaccine. PLoS ONE 3(8):2954, 2008.
  31. Diallo-Krou E, Yu J, Colby LA, Inoki K, Wilkinson JE, Thomas DG, Giordano TJ, Koenig RJ: Paired box gene 8 peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma fusion protein and loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog synergistically cause thyroid hyperplasia in transgenic mice. Endocrinology 150 (11):5181-90,  2009.
  32. Harrison DE, Strong R, Sharp ZD, Nelson JF, Astle CM, Flurkey K, Nadon NL, Wilkinson JE, Frenkel K, Carter CS, Pahor M, Javors MA, Fernandez E, Miller RA: Rapamycin fed late in life extends lifespan in genetically heterogeneous mice. Nature 460(7253):392-395, 2009.
  33. Harper JM, Wilkinson JE, Miller  RA. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor knockout mice are long-lived and respond to caloric restriction. FASEB J 24:2436-2442, 2010.
  34. Miller RA, Harrison D, Astle CM, Baur JA, de Cabo R, Fernandez E, Flurkey K, Javors MA, Nelson JF, Pletcher SZ, Sharp D, Sinclair D, Starnes J, Wilkinson JE, Nadon NL, Strong R: Rapamycin, but not resveratrol or simvastatin, extends lifespan of genetically heterogeneous mice. J Gerontol Biol Sci 66(2):191-201, 2011.
  35. Kim Y, Gelehrter SK, Fifer CG, Lu JC, Owens GE, Berman DR, Williams J, Wilkinson JE, Ives KA, Xu Z: Non-invasive pulsed cavitational ultrasound for fetal tissue ablation: feasibility study in a fetal sheep model. Ultrasound Obst Gyn 37:450-457, 2011.
  36. Winterroth F, Xu Z, Wang TY, Wilkinson JE, Fowlkes JB, Roberts WW, Cain CA. Examining and analyzingand analyzing subcellular morphology of renal tissue treated with histotripsy. Ultrasound Med Biol 37(1):78-86, 2011.
  37. Dobson ME, Diallo-Krou E, Grachtchouk V, Yu J, Colby LA, Wilkinson JE, Giordano TJ, Koenig RJ. Pioglitazone induces a pro-adipogenic anti-tumor response in mice with PAX8-PPARγ fusion protein thyroid cancer. Endocrinology 152(11):4455-4465, 2011.
  38. Koch LG, Britton SL, Bijma P, Kujala UM, Sarna S, Kaprio J, Gllingsen Ø, Wilkinson JE, Gilligan, LJ, van Grevenhof IM, Smith, GL, Wisløff H, Kemi OJ, Wisløff U: Aerobic capacity underlies longevity in man and rat. Circ Res 28;109(10):1162-1172, 2011.
  39. Bauler TJ, Kamiya N, Lapinski PE, Langewisch E, Mishina Y, Wilkinson JE, Feng GS, King PD. Development of severe skeletal defects in induced SHP-2-deficient adult mice: a model of skeletal malformation in humans with SHP-2 mutations. Dis Model Mech4(2):228-239, 2011.
  40. Lapinski, PE, Kwon S, Wilkinson JE, Pytowski B, Srinivasan RS, Sevick-Muraca E, King PD. Identification of p120 RasGAP (RASA1) as a critical negative-regulator of lymphatic endothelial cell growth that maintains the lymphatic vasculature in a quiescent functional state in resting animals. J Clin Invest 122(2):733-47, 2012.
  41. Oh SS, Sullivan KA, Wilkinson JE, Backus C, Hayes JM, Sakowski SA, Feldman EL. Neurodegeneration and early lethality in superoxide dismutase 2-deficient mice: a comprehensive analysis of the central and peripheral nervous systems.  Neuroscience212: 201-13, 2012.
  42. Wilkinson JE, Burmeister L, Brooks SV, Chan CC, Friedline S, Harrison DE, Hejtmancik JF, Nadon N, Strong R, Wood LK, Woodward MA, Miller RA.  Rapamycin slows aging in mice. Aging Cell  11(4):675-82, 2012.
  43. Cao SS, Zimmermann EM, Chuang BM, Song B, Nwokoye A, Wilkinson JE, Eaton KA, Kaufman RJ.  The unfolded protein response and chemical chaperones reduce protein misfolding and colitis in mice. Gastroenterology 2013 Jan 18.