Lung Disease: COPD, Lung Scarring, and Infection
We are studying diseases of the lung including scarring diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema (called COPD). These diseases are caused by smoking and/or by exposure to damaging environmental/occupational toxicants. We identify and characterize human and mouse subsets of lung fibroblasts that are responsible for the wound repair in the lung. Fibroblasts also produce large amounts of immunoregulatory cytokines and mediators that control inflammation. We are focusing on strategies to prevent fibroblast overgrowth in lung scarring conditions and to prevent inflammation in smoking-induced COPD. A new project studies how fibroblastic stem cells can be controlled to differentiate to either scar cells or to fat cells. We are also investigating how environmental chemicals called obesogens induce cells to become fat cells. Techniques and areas of investigation: Cell sorting, cytokine assays, surface markers, cell and molecular biology, preclinical animal models and human Immunology. Research funded by NIH and CTSI grants.
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