McGaw Pavilion Suite M-316
240 E Huron
Chicago IL 60611
Description of Interests
The question of primary interest in my lab is why only select individuals, despite being genetically similar and living in the same allergen environment, are prone to developing allergic disease, and which processes drive this predisposition? To address this, we employ a systems biology approach and bioinformatics to explore whether there is underlying unity in the pathogenesis of seemingly disparate allergic diseases. By synthesizing large volumes of biological data, we link departures from homeostatic conditions (including changes in metabolic, developmental, and endocrine systems) at the epithelial barriers of the skin, gut, and airways with innate immune system responses as a possible suite of mechanisms driving initiation of allergic disease. Specifically, we are asking the following questions: Are allergic diseases at different barrier sites caused by common systemic processes? Do hormones (estrogen, androgen, growth hormones) maintain homeostasis of the mucosal barriers? Why are developmental pathways for maintenance of tissue homeostasis linked to early susceptibility of asthma? What is the impact of environmentally relevant xenobiotics (xenoestrogens, aromatic hydrocarbons) on epithelial barriers and priming of allergic responses?
Secondarily, I keep being fascinated by a cell type that is intimately tied into mucosal biology, and plays central roles in many aspects of allergic disease - the eosinophil. I am intrigued by the fact that aside from being destructive in allergy, eosinophils play prominent roles in homeostasis and assist in normal development of tissues and maturation of other cell types – however, these alternate aspects of eosinophil biology remain largely unexplored. In my lab, we are studying the nature of reciprocal interactions between eosinophils and the mucosa in health and disease by asking the following questions: When and why are eosinophils homeostatic in the mucosa? What is their role in priming of immune responses?
Allergies; Bioinformatics; Developmental biology; Endocrine Genetics; Extracellular Matrix; Immune Regulation; Metabolism; Systems Biology
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