CoBRE Phase I Projects

Project Leader:  Tom Oomens, Ph.D. OSU CVHS

Project Summary: 

Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (HRSV) is the single largest viral cause of pediatric bronchiolitis and pneumonia. With an estimated mortality of >100,000 children per year worldwide, development of an anti-HRSV vaccine is a priority. Among the current approaches, live-attenuation is attractive because, unlike inactivated vaccines, it promises to induce a broad and balanced immune response. However, live HRSV vaccines have so far been unable to fully prevent potentially dangerous side-effects in infants and children.

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Project Leader: Heather Gappa-Fahlenkamp, Ph.D., CEAT, OSU

Project Summary: 

Influenza is a leading cause of human morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the United States, influenza is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths and 250,000 hospitalizations annually. The molecular mechanisms involved in the interaction of virus-infected resident lung cells and transmigrating antigen-presenting cell (APC) precursors that are recruited in response to viral infection have not been defined fully. Studies have shown that the highly pathogenic influenza strains lead to cytokine dysregulation and a massive infiltration of APC precursors into the lungs. The more pathogenic strains of the virus may alter cytokine/chemokine production of the alveolar epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages leading to increased migration and differentiation of activated APCs that drive an excessive inflammatory response.

Project Leader: Shanjana Awasthi, Ph.D. OUHSC

Project Summary: 

Lung infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Serious lung infections lead to respiratory distress syndrome for which there is no specific treatment available. In the wake of rise in lung infections caused by multi-drug resistant pathogens and unavailability of a “wonder-drug” to control associated inflammation, it is important to develop novel therapies. An ideal therapeutic would be the one that can suppress the inflammatory response but preserve the anti-pathogen host defense and lung homeostasis.

Project Leader: Telugu A Narasaraju, Ph.D, CVHS, OSU

Project Summary: 

Unprecedented and frequent outbreaks by influenza viruses with rapid world-wide spread portend considerable global threats and are a major public health concern. Complications of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe form of acute lung injury, remain major causes of death in influenza pneumonia. Due to high mutation rates introduced by the viral RNA polymerase and consequent resistance to antiviral drugs, controlling influenza-induced morbidity and mortality is a major challenge. Although type-specific immunization is effective, treatment of non-immunized infected patients with current antiviral agents is relatively ineffective. Because the pathology of the disease is largely mediated by the host response to infection, a therapeutic approach targeting both the virus and the host response is desirable.