Asthma Research

  • 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  


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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 


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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

  • The overexpression of DDHA 1


    Reproduction from Fig. 4 published in PLoS One 2014 Jan 9(1). Showing network analysis of differentially expressed genes in the lungs of PBS-treated C57BL16 wild type and PBS-treated DDAH1-transgenic mice. Copyright @ 2014, Kinker et al. and PLoS One.

    Levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase are increased in lung, sputum, exhaled breath condensate and plasma samples from asthma patients.  ADMA is metabolized primarily by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase 1 (DDAH1) and DDAH2.  We determined the effect of DDAH1 overexpression on development of allergic inflammation in a mouse model of asthma.

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  • The Role of epidermal growth factor (EGF) in Atopic Dermatitis (AD)

    Atopic Dermatitis (AD) has a prevalence of up to 25% among children.  Whereas symptoms of early- onset AD usually improve during adolescence, as many as 33% of cases, persist into adulthood.  Furthermore, nearly 80% of the children with AD also subsequently develop asthma or allergy rhinitis later in life.  In this study we use animal models to explore the role of EGF in AD.

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