The primary focus of my laboratory is to understand alterations in the immune system (natural killer cells, T cells, dendritic cells and macrophage) of smokers and COPD patients and how these alterations in immunity affect susceptibility to exacerbations. We utilize a mouse model of long-term cigarette smoke exposure, and we have an ongoing study using low-dose secondhand smoke exposure. We routinely perform immune-cell isolations, flow cytometry, cell cytotoxicity assays and adoptive transfer studies in immunodeficient mice. We have developed unique transgenic mouse models, reporter-cell lines and antibodies as part of our research. I provide training to graduate and undergraduate students, Internal Medicine residents and Pulmonary/Critical Care fellows.
I am currently collaborating with Ralph Panos, MD, in the study of immune function in COPD patients at the VA. I am collaborating with Frank McCormack, MD, and Nishant Gupta, MD, on clinical projects focusing on lymphangiomyomatosis (LAM) and basic science projects on pulmonary Langerhan’s cell Histiocytosis (PLCH). I am the associate chair of the University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and serve as a member of the department’s Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee.
My lab is focused on the effects of cigarette smoke exposure on innate and adaptive immune system function and specifically examines the mechanisms by which smoke exposed epithelium communicates with the immune system. We have extensive experience with mouse models of smoke exposure and have published several manuscripts detailing epithelial cell changes and immune function. We have specifically examined the effects of smoke exposure on the host response to influenza, RSV, and bacterial infections. As Director of the Inhalation Exposure Facility at the University of Cincinnati, my lab has conducted mouse exposures for investigators at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Cincinnati Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, Ohio State University, University of Colorado, National Jewish Hospital and University of Pennsylvania.
Potential research projects for students or pulmonary fellows:
1. Biomarkers of Lung Function Decline in LAM. Fellows would need to be in the laboratory and perform ELISA assays on serum from LAM patients. One week of training would be necessary.
2. Natural Killer Cell Function in LAM. Fellows would need to be in the laboratory and perform cell culture and immunostaining of TSC deficient cells. One week of training required.
3. Biomarkers of Natural Killer Cell Function in COPD. Fellows would need to be in the laboratory and perform ELISA assays on serum from COPD patients. One week of training would be necessary