Category Archives: Lung Injury and Infection

Lung Injury and Infection Theme: The respiratory system is exposed to many environmental insults throughout life that can result in acute or chronic injury to the lungs. Both infectious and non-infectious agents can trigger inflammation, which is essential to combat infections but also requires exquisite regulation to avoid counterproductive lung damage. In addition to major respiratory pathogens such as tuberculosis (TB), dysregulated inflammation triggered by bacteria and viruses is a major contributing factor to numerous respiratory diseases (e.g., cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This theme investigates the key molecular signaling pathways underlying pulmonary inflammation under these conditions, with the goal of developing new targeted therapies and biomarkers predictive of disease responses. Our researchers are also leaders in the performance of large-scale diagnostic and treatment studies involving patients infected with TB.

Major scientific objectives for the lung injury and infection theme include: (1) Identify the key molecular effectors of innate and adaptive immunity required for an integrated response to respiratory pathogens such as influenza, TB, and cryptococcus neoformans. (2) Dissect host-pathogen interactions driving chronic infections versus acute infectious pulmonary exacerbations in chronic lung diseases (eg. Pseudomonas in cystic fibrosis). (3) Investigate the molecular underpinnings of beneficial versus pathological responses by different components of lung mucosal immunity. (4) Explore the mechanistic links between cellular metabolism and fibrogenic processes in the lung.

View posts, news, and publications related to this research theme below.

biofilm formation in bacteria

Pseudomonas aeruginosa and biofilms: new insights on antibiotic tolerance

Dr. Dao Nguyen investigated the behavior of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common bacteria in patients with Cystic Fibrosis. Her research identified that when bacteria are starved, they develop a starvation-signaling stringent response, which allows them to better adapt and survive. This research showed that inactivating this protective mechanism can sensitize biofilms to various antibiotics, thus providing new insights on the mechanisms of antibiotic tolerance.

View the full publication here: Active starvation responses mediate antibiotic tolerance in biofilms and nutrient-limited bacteria. Nguyen D, Joshi-Datar A, Lepine F, Bauerle E, Olakanmi O, Beer K, McKay G, Siehnel R, Schafhauser J, Wang Y, Britigan BE, Singh PK. Science. 2011 Nov 18;334(6058):982-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1211037. PMID: 22096200

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