Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
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Focus Areas Asthma and Allergies

Asthma and Allergies

Asthma, food allergy, allergic rhinitis (hayfever), and atopic dermatitis (Eczema) are common diseases in both adults and children. They cause significant morbidity and expense. For asthma alone, for example, every day in the United States, 44,000 people have an asthma attack, 36,000 kids miss school due to asthma, 27,000 adults miss work due to asthma, and 4,700 people visit the emergency rom for asthma. The prevalence of asthma and allergies continues to grow. 

Asthma and allergic disorders affect genetically susceptible individuals exposed to particular environmental conditions. At the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, we use a multifaceted approach that combines tools in epidemiology, genetics, genomics, and transcriptomics to study these diseases. Our goal is to better understand and identify risk factors, mechanisms, and potential therapies for asthma and allergies. This work is led by the Bunyavanich laboratory.

Current areas of research include epidemiologic studies in well-characterized cohorts; genome-wide association studies; transcriptional analysis in relevant immune system compartments; gene-by-environment studies; and the integrated analysis of genomic data.


Some of our work and findings include:

Our examination of maternal dietary habits during pregnancy in over 1000 mother-child pairs supports that pregnant women should not avoid specific foods during pregnancy to reduce the risk of their children developing asthma and allergies. Click here for the full text. 

Our study of a large epidemiologic cohort showed that peanut allergy is highly prevalent among US school-age children. Read More

We have identified distinct effects for indoor and outdoor allergens on hay fever. Click here to read the article. 

We have also found sex-specific effects for genetic variants associated with innate immune system function in allergic individuals. Click here for the full text. 

Our gene-by-environment studies have shown that exposure to environmental allergens such as dust causes airway hyperreponsiveness only in asthmatics harboring distinct genetic polymorphisms. Read More 

We have additionally examined the relative roles of genes and environment in early childhood asthma through a twin study of early life asthma. PLOS: "A Twin Study of Early-Childhood Asthma in Puerto Ricans"

Through integrated genome-wide association study and integrated network analysis of hay fever in over 500 Americans, we identified genetic loci linked to mitochondrial pathways. Click here to read the article.