Fabeha Fazal, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, has received a 4-year, $1.9M grant to identify viable therapies that will limit acute lung injury (ALI). ALI, a major cause of respiratory failure in critically ill patients, is responsible for approximately 75,000 deaths annually. ALI occurs when capillary-alveolar barriers in the lung are disrupted, resulting in a variety of dangerous symptoms that can lead to respiratory failure. Currently, there is no treatment for ALI, which has a mortality rate between 25 and 40 percent.
However, Fazal’s research has shown that the endoplasmic reticulum chaperone protein BiP (binding immunoglobulin protein) and mitochondrial chaperone mortalin play a role in ALI due to their ability to promote inflammation and capillary barrier disruption and that inhibiting both proteins in tandem can protect against ALI. Fazal’s current study aims to understand how BiP and mortalin control the proinflammatory and leaky phenotype of the lung, and potentially understand and develop a therapy that targets these proteins. Early results have shown promise.
Her research team includes co-principal investigator Arshad Rahman, Ph.D., and co investigators David Dean, Ph.D., Michael O’Reilly, Ph.D., Minsoo Kim, Ph.D., and David Yule, Ph.D.