I have always been interested in the immune system. Allergic diseases and the immune response are particularly fascinating to me.
In allergic diseases, the immune system responds to things that it shouldn't, like dust or an allergen from a pet. While everyone is exposed to these substances in our homes or workplaces, not everyone is allergic. Determining why some people are allergic and others are not was the hook that got me interested in this field.
In my lab, we are working on determining what causes the development of severe allergic asthma as opposed to mild or moderate forms of the disease, which are more amenable to therapeutic interventions. We are focused on establishing how exposure in early life (including in utero) influences allergic asthma development.
Notably, we have demonstrated that the production of additional factors associated with severe allergic asthma synergizes with factors produced in mild/moderate disease.
Using a mouse model of allergic asthma in which one strain develops a phenotype characteristic of mild asthma (C3H/HeJ) and others develop a phenotype characteristic of severe disease (A/J), we have identified several novel mechanisms through which asthma severity is regulated.
The National Institutes of Health has continuously funded my research since 2012.