Pulmonary Blood & Lymphatic Vessel Biology in Settings of Inflammation
My primary interest is in how the lung vasculature-blood vessels and particularly lymphatics- operates during episodes of acute and chronic inflammation. To study these phenomena, we examine lung tissue, as well as peripheral blood mononuclear cells and plasma, from patients with pulmonary hypertension. We use two different rat models of pulmonary hypertension, and we are in the process of developing a third that we hope will allow us to test auto-immune and auto-inflammatory processes in the lung vasculature. We combine these models with genetic, pharmacologic, and immune-based modulations. In addition, we are developing 3-D co-culture models that mimic the peri-bronchovascular space. Our future plans for this system are to test the interactions of adventitial fibroblasts and immune cells under biological and pathological interstitial flow conditions. Here, we are keenly interested in both the cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, and the effect of flow on these interactions and on cell phenotype.
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