Research Briefs


 
Below are short descriptions written in layman's terms of some of the research being conducted at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.  
 
 

 

Select the name of the investigator:

  • Steven Belinsky, PhD, showed that leafy green vegetables, folate, and some multivitamins could serve as protective factors against lung cancer in current and former smokers, according to a study that is a first step in understanding the complex association between lung cancer and diet.

 

  • Janet Benson, PhD, DABT, examined the health effects of inhaled Florida Red Tide that may slow recovery from influenza infections. The marine algae responsible for this Florida Red Tide produces a family of extremely potent neurotoxins, called brevetoxins, that can be aerosolized by the action of wind and surf and then inhaled.

 

  • Hitendra S. Chand, PhD, studied the mechanism of airway epithelial cells, focusing on that which could be useful to enhance their repair process or act as a type of intervention in the inflammatory response. These findings will help in development of therapeutics for chronic airway diseases.

 

  • Kevin S. Harrod, PhD, found that the “swine flu” was able to replicate faster and cause more disease when compared to previous seasonal influenza strains. The 2009 outbreak of the swine-origin influenza virus is the first great influenza pandemic of the twenty-first century.

 

  • Raymond J. Langley, PhD, developed animal models with strong similarities to the human disease of silicosis, a respiratory disease caused by breathing in silica or mineral dust. Silicosis is a major health concern in developing countries. This work is in collaboration with scientists from South Africa toward the development of therapeutics.

 

  • Amie K. Lund, PhD, studied atherosclerosis and determined that key vascular factors are associated with the increased occurrence of heart attacks and strokes in humans. These findings are significant because cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States.

 

  • JeanClare Seagrave, PhD, discovered how the cold medicine guaifenesin works. The results showed that guaifenesin had three effects. Specifically, guaifenesin suppressed the synthesis of the mucus proteins, increased the speed with which the mucus moved on the surface of the cells and reduced the viscosity of the mucus.

 

  • Al Senft, PhD, studied the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common respiratory pathogen that infects the naive lung in infancy. RSV re-infection in the elderly has been implicated in exacerbation of pre-existing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma. 

 

  • Robert Sherwood, PhD, developed the nonhuman primate (NHP) model of tularemia for the testing of new vaccines being developed to prevent this terrible disease. Tularemia in NHPs was characterized by lethargy, weight loss, and malaise. Tularemia is highly infective and causes a protracted disease in humans.

 

  • YuanYuan Shi, PhD, discovered the mechanism by which cells function for those with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Dr. Shi developed genetically modified mice on which further studies may demonstrate the process towards the development of treatments. IPF has largely been unresponsive to treatment and has a mean survival of 50% at 3-5 years.

 

  • Mohan Sopori, PhD, studied environmental factors important in lung development. The incidence of childhood asthma is steadily increasing in the Western world; however, reasons for this rise are unclear. Dr. Sopori has shown how parental smoking strongly increases the risk of childhood allergic asthma.

 

  • Heather Stout-Delgado, PhD, investigated the impact of aging on secondary bacterial infections in those with influenza. The elderly have higher, and often lethal, occurrences of additional infection such as pneumonia when experiencing influenza viral infections. This work will allow new therapies to be investigated.

 

  • Carmen Tellez, PhD, developed a model to enhance lung cancer diagnosis by understanding the role of individual genes. These findings can identify biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer in those at high risk or in very early stages.

 

  • Yohannes Tesfaigzi, PhD, studied the relationship between smoking and respiratory disease among Hispanic versus non-Hispanic white (NHW) women and revealed that NHW women smokers were at greater risk of developing airflow obstruction and diminished lung function than Hispanic women who smoke.