The Pulmonary Injury and Repair Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has produced a major return on investment in its six years of existence. The Center, begun in 2008 with an initial investment of $140,000 from the UAB School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology and Southern Research Institute, has since received nearly $10 million in research funding from government and industry sources.
Those funds have spurred scientific research, recruited new faculty and produced new knowledge in treating lung injury, especially from chemical agents such as chlorine, ammonia and bromine.
Chlorine, ammonia and bromine are commonly used in various industrial applications and are routinely shipped across the country. Exposure to these agents could come as a result of a deliberate terror attack or from an inadvertent leak from a transportation mishap.
“Inhalation of these gases can cause extreme, possibly fatal injury to the lungs,” said Sadis Matalon, Ph.D., distinguished professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Anesthesiology, and director of the center. “Our research is geared toward finding countermeasures that could be employed to minimize pulmonary injury in the event of a chlorine, ammonia or bromine release, whatever the cause may be.”
The UAB center is part of the federal government’s CounterACT Program. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, CounterACT is a translational research program aimed at the discovery and/or identification of better therapeutic medical countermeasures and technologies against chemical threat agents. CounterACT was launched following the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, as awareness grew of potential threats from chemical agents.
UAB is one of the few research institutions in the nation involved in countermeasure research against chlorine and ammonia, and it is the only site looking for agents that would be effective against bromine, according to Matalon.
“We are investigating multiple strategies to respond to lung injury in the event of exposure to these agents,” Matalon said. “We have identified compounds that in preliminary studies have been shown to prevent death after chlorine exposure, for example. Compounds such as antioxidants and nitrites also have promise in reducing or reversing the toxic effects of these agents.”
Matalon says one of the center’s strengths is its reach across the breadth of UAB. Investigators involved in the major projects come from multiple disciplines and include Victor Darley-Usmar, Ph.D., and Jianhua Zhang, Ph.D., pathology; Tim Ness, M.D., anesthesiology; Chad Steele, Ph.D., and Veena Antony, M.D., pulmonary medicine; Rakesh Patel, Ph.D., molecular and cellular pathology; Mohammad Athar, dermatology; and Anupam Agarwal, M.D., nephrology. Other prominent investigators include Edward Postlethwait, Ph.D., Michelle Fanucchi, Ph.D., and Giuseppe Squadrito, Ph.D., in the School of Public Health; as well as James and Diana Noah, Ph.D.s, with Southern Research Institute.
Matalon and Darley-Usmar received a grant to test the role of mitochondrial injury in the initiation and propagation of chlorine injury to the lungs. Matalon is also collaborating with Sven Eric Jordt, Ph.D., of Yale University, to test the effectiveness of a new class of anti-inflammatory agents to decrease chlorine injury.
Patel was recently funded by the CounterACT Program to test the efficacy of nitrites to decrease mortality and lung injury in chlorine-exposed animals. Athar is funded by CounterACT to develop therapeutic interventions of lewisite-mediated injury to the skin, which could contribute to lung injury. Ness was also funded to investigate whether local anesthetics administered post-exposure reduce pain.
“This is a critical issue because people who experience pain have decreased ability to walk away from the epicenter of a chemical attack,” Matalon said.
The center also played a role in the recruitment of prominent new faculty to UAB, says Matalon, including Victor Thannickal, M.D., chair of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, and Jean-Francois Pittet, M.D., professor of anesthesiology.
“The Pulmonary Injury and Repair Center has enhanced collaborations among basic and clinical investigators at UAB and has driven translational research in lung injury and repair,” Matalon said. “It has also strengthened existing interactions among researchers from UAB and Southern Research Institute. These interactions continue to improve our ability to attract new faculty interested in pulmonary research at UAB and to compete for extramural awards.”
Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis is reduced in a rat model using a cell-signaling inhibitor drugResults show that JAK/STAT pathway inhibitors may be a new class of therapeutic treatments for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Acting by reducing inflammation, they prevent neurodegeneration in animal models and may be an important new approach to slow progression of the disease.posted yesterday 241 viewsUAB driving simulator lab has national debut live on TODAYCutting-edge technology and research brings national attention to UAB.posted 5 days ago 2279 viewsStudy shows how different people respond to aspirin — an important cardioprotective drugUnderstanding how people respond to aspirin is key in terms of knowing who will benefit from it.posted 6 days ago 767 viewsDepartment of Ophthalmology to host 2016 Clinical and Research SymposiumThe University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and Department of Ophthalmology will host the 2016 Annual Clinical and Research Symposium on May 13-14 at the Westin Birmingham.posted 6 days ago 323 viewsStudy to test ways to improve cognitive functioning of older adults with HIVUAB School of Nursing Professor David Vance, Ph.D., received a five-year, $2.86 million R01 grant to test ways of improving cognitive function in older adults with HIV.posted 8 days ago 669 viewsFirst-of-its-kind driving simulator lab at UAB powered by donation from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama and ALDOTThe facility will enable new distracted-driving research, addressing a major public health issue that is a leading cause of highway and traffic-related injuries and death.posted 13 days ago 2400 viewsUAB looking for healthy adults to participate in study on blood pressureThe UAB Division of Rheumatology and Immunology and the Division of Cardiovascular Disease look at effects of Allopurinol in healthy adults age 18-40.posted 14 days ago 683 viewsUAB observational study of Zika virus infection during pregnancy begins in BrazilUAB professor leads study in Brazil to help further understand the effects of Zika virus during pregnancy.posted 19 days ago 1909 viewsUAB Medical Genomics Laboratory refines its genetic testing technologyCustomized deep-coverage, next-generation sequencing will replace the current state-of-the-art approach.posted 20 days ago 1164 viewsUAB REACT aims to catalyze high-impact clinical trials in medical rehabilitationUAB’s new REACT Center is the national coordinating center for six centers designed to promote research and train scientists and clinicians in the medical rehabilitation field.posted 21 days ago 1532 viewsUAB to hold 11th annual MHRC Health Disparities SymposiumThe 11th annual UAB Health Disparities Research Symposium, April 21, will showcase compelling workshops and the groundbreaking findings of eminent researchers in the health disparities field.
UAB cleared for design stage of new Collat School of Business and Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship buildingBoard approval provides authorization for stage three planning to proceed for new Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Collat School of Business building.posted 23 days ago 3100 viewsPersonality may dictate how distracted you are while drivingUAB researchers uncover new information about drivers’ likelihood to participate in risky roadway behavior.posted 23 days ago 2097 viewsLawson receives ADA investigator awardNathaniel Lawson, DMD, assistant professor at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Dentistry, is the recipient of the 2015 John W. Stanford New Investigator Award given by the American Dental Association.posted 23 days ago 941 viewsUAB awarded $19.5 million grant for new xenotransplantation programGift from United Therapeutics will establish Xenotransplantation Institute and bring additional resources to support the endeavor with a goal of genetically modified kidney transplants taking place by 2021.posted 26 days ago 4419 viewsAlabama Vaccine Research Clinic recruiting for new clinical trial for preventive antibody for HIVAn international clinical trial for a new HIV antibody, VRC01 begins in late spring at UAB as part of the Antibody Mediated Prevention study.posted 28 days ago 840 viewsCardiac arrest study showed benefit from antiarrhythmic drugsA resuscitation study found another small step to help improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival.posted 29 days ago 1548 viewsFertility Care Network provides infertility resources to families throughout stateInfertility choices for women are expanded with UAB Fertility Care Network.posted 29 days ago 1662 viewsNew study explores patient navigator effect for those with diabetesRole of mentors for patients with diabetes is the focus of a $30,000 grant.posted a while back 1461 viewsAlumnus and Rhodes Scholar Josh Carpenter to speak at UAB EXPOThe event celebrates excellence in research, creative activity and scholarship from UAB undergraduate students. This year's theme is “Becoming Confident in Curiosity: Live the Questions.”posted a while back 1628 views
- Event Date April 21