Project: Infectious and Microbiome Associations with Asthma
University Association: Baylor College of Medicine
Collaborator Name: David B. Corry, M.D
Dr. Corry's research is focused on immune mechanisms of human disease and specializes in modeling human disease in mice. Using an experimental model of asthma, Dr. Corry defined critical roles played by CD4+ T cells in lung inflammation and described the distinct contributions of the cytokines interleukin 4 (IL-4) and IL-13 in the immunopathogenesis of experimental allergic airway disease. These original findings led directly to development of antibodies against human IL-13, which are now being investigated in clinical trials of asthma. Dr. Corry’s laboratory has further made fundamental discoveries on the role of integrins in T cell function and the role of innate immunity in controlling allergic lung disease and the innate cellular immune response to influenza infection. A long-standing interest in the immune basis of asthma led to the discovery that organismal proteases are critical mediators of allergic inflammation.
Dr. Corry’s current projects include defining how proteases and cigarette smoke mediate allergic and other types of inflammation through activation of innate immune cells and defining how recently discovered genetic elements termed microRNAs regulate inflammation. Most recently, Dr. Corry’s laboratory has described a new human immunodeficiency syndrome and has begun to define the role of infectious agents such as fungi in asthma. He is further developing new methods of immunotherapy to treat diseases as diverse as influenza, cancer, and immune deficiency.