• Research in the Division of Asthma

    Research Overview

    Asthma and allergic diseases are a serious public health burden and affect over 40% of the population worldwide.  In the Division of Asthma Research our overarching goal is to develop new prevention and treatment strategies for allergic diseases that are personalized and target high risk populations at the critical time periods when they are most vulnerable.

    Research Focus  

    Asthma research diagram.

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    In the Division of Asthma Research we are focused on understanding the total exposure relevant to asthma from the cell and individual level to the patient, family neighborhood and community level.  We aim to identify the factors that contribute to asthma development and symptoms, determine the mechanisms by which these factors contribute to disease, delineate how effects of environmental exposure are modified by genetics and other exposures, and identify biomarkers of exposure and disease activity and severity in an individual.   Our current projects include a spectrum of basic, translational and clinical research that investigates the role of these factor in promoting disease development and activity.

    Research Strategy 

    Our Research Strategy-SEP 14-415

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    The division utilizes transdisciplinary approaches integrating human cohorts, in vitro systems, and animal models to address these complex problems.  Numerous other factors affect disease outcomes as well including psychosocial factors, community health perceptions, and health literacy. 

  • Highlights of Recent Publications

  • Vanin-1 expression and methylation discriminate pediatric asthma corticosteroid
    treatment response

    Proposed model of the VNN1 gene at baseline & during treatment.

    Reprinted from Fig. 4 published in J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015 March 28. Proposed model of the VNN1 gene at baseline & during treatment. Copyright © 2015 with permissions from Elsevier.

    Asthma affects 25.7 million persons in the United States, including 7 million children.  Currently, systemic corticosteroid treatment is considered the most effective medication for control of chronic asthma and rescue of acute exacerbation.  In this study we sought to identify biomarkers of corticosteroid treatment response in children with asthma and evaluate the utility and mechanistic basis of these biomarkers.

    Read the abstract.
  • Exposure to allergen and DEP potentiates secondary allergen-specific memory responses, promoting asthma susceptibility

    DEPs persist in lung phagocytic cells over 3 months.

    Reprinted from Fig. E3 published in J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015 March 4. DEPs persist in lung phagocytic cells over 3 months. Copyright © 2015 with permissions from Elsevier.

    Exposures to traffic pollution particulate matter, predominantly diesel particles (DEPs), increase the risk of asthma and asthma exacerbation: however, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood.  In this study we sought to examine the effect of DEP exposure on the generation and persistence of allergen-specific memory T cells in asthmatic patients and translate these findings by determining the effect of early DEP exposure on the prevalence of allergic asthma in children.


    READ THE ABSRACT