Research

I. The identification of molecular sub-phenotypes of asthma and COPD:
These studies are funded by:
1) An R01 from the NIH/NHLBI, entitled “Molecular Phenotyping of Asthma” (R01 HL-095372) which has applied genomic analyses to airway samples from patients with asthma to distinguish Th2-driven and non-Th2-driven sub-phenotypes of asthma that have distinct clinical, pathological and treatment-related characteristics.

2) A seven-year NIH contract to apply similar methods to study COPD as part of the NHLBI Spiromics Project (N01 HR-08-08). The goal of the Spiromics project is to identify molecular phenotypes of COPD and to develop intermediate outcome measures for clinical trials.

II. Mechanisms of airway inflammation and remodeling in lung diseases:
These studies apply innovative methods for quantitative morphometry and gene expression analyses to human tissue samples obtained at fiberoptic bronchoscopy. In work to date, we have applied these methods to study mechanisms of disease in asthma, COPD and sarcoidosis. Ongoing work in this area is supported by the NIH (R01 HL-095372). Our approaches combine the application of gene expression profiling methods (microarrays, qPCR, laser capture microdissection) and design–based stereology (for quantitative measurement of tissue remodeling in human samples).

III. Development of blood-based diagnostic tests for lung disease using genomic approaches:
These studies apply gene expression profiling and miRNA profiling in blood cells and plasma/serum to develop diagnostic tests in asthma, COPD and sarcoidosis.

IV. Sample analysis and support for Clinical Trials:
Finally, the Woodruff Laboratory supports sample analyses for clinical trials in asthma and COPD in both NIH and industry-supported studies. These sample analyses include measurement of changes in airway remodeling in response to specific therapeutic interventions, assessment of inflammation and the application of biomarkers to enhance the interpretation of clinical trials.