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Research Projects

Biomass Smoke

Biomass SmokeAccording to the World Health Organization, over 4 million premature deaths every year are attributed to biomass smoke inhalation, which is the leading environmental risk-factor for mortality. Animal dung is a biomass fuel that is used by vulnerable individuals in developing countries who cannot afford or access more efficient sources of energy, like wood or gas. Epidemiological studies associate biomass smoke with an increased risk for inflammatory lung diseases and respiratory infections.

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Pulmonary Fibrosis and Lung Scarring

Pulmonary Fibrosis and Lung ScarringLung scarring, or pulmonary fibrosis is a devastating disease with poor prognosis. We are particularly interested in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, which is a scarring disease of unknown origin. One of the hallmarks of pulmonary fibrosis is the accumulation of scar forming myofibroblasts, which differentiate from lung fibroblasts during fibrosis. Myofibroblasts secrete extracellular matrix proteins such as collagen, which leads to scarring.

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Resolution of Inflammation

Resolution of InflammationAcute pulmonary inflammation is a programmed response to inhaled injury that is intended to protect the host. The inflammatory response coordinates the entry of innate immune cells into injured tissue in order to mitigate the damage and initiate repair. On the other hand, failure to resolve inflammation can lead to a chronic inflammatory state, which in turn underlies important lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and cancer.

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Smoking and Respiratory Infection

Smoking and Respiratory InfectionThe lung is the target for a number of inhaled pathogens including numerous viral and bacterial species. In those with underlying diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), infections can lead to exacerbations of disease symptoms which lead to hospitalization, lung function decline, and death. Our lab is interested in studying the impact of the inhalation of smoke, generated from cigarettes or other biomass sources, on the immune response to pathogen challenge.

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