Asthma and Allergies
Asthma, food allergy, allergic rhinitis (hayfever), and atopic dermatitis (Eczema) are common childhood disorders that affect genetically susceptible individuals exposed to particular environmental conditions. We use a multiscale approach that combines tools in epidemiology, genetics, and genomics to better understand the risk factors, mechanisms, and potential therapies for these conditions.
Environmental risk factors for allergic rhinitis, identifying distinct effects for indoor and outdoor allergens on hayfever and allergen sensitization are examined alongside studying the genetic basis of allergic rhinitis. For example, in allergic rhinitis, mapping genetic variants to specific molecular pathways of the innate immune systems has helped us differentially stratify risk in boys and girls.
Another example of the importance of interaction between our genes and the environment is illustrated by modeling the interaction between house dust mite exposure and a gene involved in airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma, finding support for a potential asthma therapeutic target. Further, the relative roles of genes and environment in early childhood asthma are examined by studying twins, finding significant impact for environmental exposures in early life.
This work is lead by the Bunyavanich laboratory in close collaboration with colleagues at the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology and Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology to apply next-generation technologies and multiscale approaches toward a better understanding of asthma and allergies.