More than 50 million Americans live and struggle with allergies to substances in the environment, such as dust mite, animal dander, ragweed pollen, and certain foods. Exposure to the triggering allergens can induce asthma, hay fever, acute and chronic skin diseases, anaphylaxis and many other troublesome and dangerous symptoms. As part of our dynamic academic mission in the Division of Allergy-Immunology, we are conducting laboratory and clinical research to gain new knowledge and improve the treatment options for millions of people who live with allergies and chronic immune system conditions. Our dedicated researchers are moving forward with exciting basic science and clinical studies that target these serious problems. As important, we are mentoring and training the next generation of graduate and postgraduate students, clinical fellows and faculty who have dedicated their talents and energies to becoming experts in allergy-immunology.
High priority research directions include the study of severe asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis, food allergy, drug allergy, occupational immunologic lung disease, improved allergen immunotherapy, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, venom anaphylaxis, chronic urticaria, also known as chronic hives, eczema and others. For the study of most of these conditions we apply a combination of basic bench research, animal models, study of patient derived materials and studies with patients or clinical data.
We have ongoing studies of asthma epidemiology, genetics, severe asthma, asthma in minorities, exacerbations and therapy. We have a leading group studying chronic rhinosinusitis supported by a NIH program project grant (P60). We have a growing consortium of faculty studying both basic mechanisms and clinical consequences of food allergies. We have a number of NIH funded studies of various important molecular entities involved in allergic disease, including chemokines, cytokines, glucocorticoids, tocopherols and others. Investigators are studying gene expression patterns involved in disease and cells and cell signaling processes driving allergic reactions. Active programs focusing on eosinophils and Siglecs, B cells and plasma cells, mast cells and basophils, mechanisms of immune tolerance, glucocorticoid receptor isoforms and specific antibody deficiency, among others, are ongoing. Many of these have direct translational components that have the potential one day to change the way we diagnose and treat allergic diseases.