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Immuno-matrix: case study

Rebuilding the lungs: investigating how respiratory tissue is remodelled after lung infection and injury.

Principal investigators:
Professor Judi Allen
Dr Tara Sutherland

We use models of lung migrating helminth infection and allergic asthma to understand how repair and tissue remodelling occurs in the lungs following infection and injury.

Working very closely with several investigators in the Wellcome Centre for Cell Matrix Research (WTCCMR) our research has an emphasis on the cellular dynamics of both immune and structural cells and their interplay with the extracellular matrix (ECM).

Collaboration with WTCCMR allows us to focus our research on the following questions:

  • How does the early inflammatory response to infection and injury dictate subsequent tissue repair?
  • How does the type 2 immune response that is induced by helminth infection and allergy regulate collagen deposition in the tissue?
  • How does a family of sugar binding proteins (the chitinase like binding protein) that are produced in enormous abundance in the lung during injury, interact with the ECM, and what are the consequences of this interaction?
  • What is the contribution of the adaptive immune response to tissue remodelling in the lung?
  • How do inflammatory events alter the epithelium and composition of the ECM in chronic pathology?

Our collaborations allow us to use exciting new research tools to visualise key changes in the lung ECM under different conditions and stages of injury and repair.

The underlying mechanisms we discover will have relevance to both healthy lung repair and regeneration, and to many common but severe chronic diseases of the lung such as asthma and COPD.