Chronic airway diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) constitute the major burden of lung disease in Australia. While current treatments are effective in controlling symptoms of asthma or COPD, they do nothing to halt the progression of disease and the premature decline in lung function.
The aim of this research stream is to understand the genetic and environmental factors involved in the initiation and progression of chronic airways disease so that preventative or curative therapies can be developed.
Currently, the team is investigating the mechanisms by which environmental triggers (like allergens, smoke, pollutants) activate innate immune receptors known as pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs); as we believe this is critically involved in the initiation and progression of chronic airways disease. Of particular interest to our research is the PRR known as RAGE (receptor for advanced glycation end products), and its endogenous ligands; one of which is the nuclear protein high-mobility group box-1 (HMGB1).
Dr Maria Sukkar
Dr Sukkar supervises research students in the areas of: Immunopathology of chronic airways disease (asthma, COPD).
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