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Asthma and allergic diseases are a serious public health
burden and affect over 40% of the population worldwide. The central goal of our
research is to identify the environmental and genetic factors that promote
disease, delineate the mechanisms by which these factors act, and develop
strategies for the most optimal strategies for prevention, diagnosis and
management of childhood asthma and related allergic diseases. Environmental and
genetic factors do not exist in isolation but rather as complex individual
exposomes and genomes that in combination lead to diverse host responses
including epigenetic modifications and inflammation. Considerable evidence
supports that exposures during critical periods early life can pre-determine
disease outcomes in childhood and adulthood. We utilize 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. Our current
projects include a spectrum of basic, translational and clinical research that investigate
the role of these factors in promoting disease development and activity. We
have several ongoing clinical intervention studies including drug trials
designed to evaluate combinations of new and existing medications to combat
these disorders that integrate molecular phenotyping. 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.
Reprint from figure 7 published in PLoS One (August 30,
2011, Vol. 6, p. 8) showing genetic association with childhood asthma. Copyright 2011 Butsch Kovacic et al. and Plos One.
This study demonstrates that KIF3A a member
of the kinesin superfamily microtubule is a novel candidate gene for childhood
asthma. Information on the study and findings were published in PloS One.
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