COBRE Center for Lung Biology Research

Lung disease is the third most frequent cause of death in this country, claiming ~360,000 Americans annually. Tragically, an additional 25 million live with chronic lung diseases, including asthma, emphysema, cancer and cystic fibrosis. Unfortunately, the number of individuals with lung disease is increasing at an alarming rate, thus, a better understanding of the etiology of lung disease and new therapeutics to treat lung disease are required.

The goals of the Dartmouth Lung Biology Center, funded by a COBRE award by the NCRR and NIGMS since 2003 (P20-RR018787/GM103413 and P30-GM106394), are to enhance the research efforts of our faculty and students by:

  1. Integration of the COBRE supported Cores (Host Pathogen Integration Core, Live Cell Imaging Core, and Translational Research Core) with shared services in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center(DHMC) and other IDeA supported Cores, including Bioinformatics and Biostatistics;

  2. Fostering synergistic scientific collaboration through the COBRE Research Projects, associated Cores, and other basic and translational infrastructure and programs at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth/DHMC, including the Immunology COBRE, the Bioinformatics COBRE, the Center for Epidemiology COBRE, and the Dartmouth INBRE programs;

  3. Mentoring and supporting the career development of all faculty in the program, and;

  4. Providing administrative support.

Pilot Projects:

Dab2 Inhibitors as Therapeutic Stabilizers of F508-CFTR

Project Leader: Dean Madden, Ph.D.

Microbiological profiles in sputum and in regions of airway damage

Project Leader: Alix Ashare, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Investigator: Deborah A. Hogan, Ph.D.

Arsenic exposure and airway remodeling after acute influenza infection

Project Leader: Mitsuo Matsuoka, MD, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator: Richard I. Enelow, M.D.

Optimization of a novel compound with activity against MRSA and P. aeruginosa

Project Leader: Ambrose Cheung, M.D.

Development of cFLIP-calmodulin interaction inhibitors for lung cancer therapy

Project Leader: Maria Pellegrini, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator: Dale F. Mierke, Ph.D.

Novel molecular methods for the analysis of cystic fibrosis (CF) sputum

Project Leader: Joseph Schwartzman, M.D.
Co-Investigator: Deborah A. Hogan, Ph.D.

The longitudinal microbiology and immunology of the airway in mechanically ventilated adults

Project Leader: Manuel Vilchez, M.D.
Co-Investigators: Richard Zuckerman, M.D., M.P.H., Harold Manning, M.D., George A O'Toole, Ph.D.

Regulation of the Fungal Hypoxia Virulence Factor SrbA

Project Leader: Robert A. Cramer, Ph.D.

Autoimmunity and Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis

Project Leader: William F.C. Rigby, M.D.

Linking Pulmonary Acidosis to Inflammation

Project Leader: Brent Berwin, Ph.D.


Lung Biology Center 2015 Pilot Awards

The Dartmouth Lung Biology Center requests applications for Pilot Project Program (P^3) Awards. We seek to fund basic, translational, and clinical research that will advance the understanding and treatment of lung disease, strengthen interdisciplinary faculty interactions, and leverage extramural funding opportunities. Deadline: April 27, 2015. For details, please see RFA announcement.

Researchers Jane Hill & Alix Ashare Receive SYNERGY Pilot Award

Researchers Jane E. Hill, PhD (PI, Engineering/Thayer) and Alix Ashare, MD, PhD (Co-PI, Medicine) recently received a SYNERGY Translational Pilot Award for the project “Biomarker Discovery and Validation for Lung Infection in CF patients”. Their project was one of eight awards made out of a total of 24 full applications that were submitted. For additional information, please see Geisel Insider.

Laura Filkins Accepted Into Postdoctoral Fellowship

Laura Filkins, a Ph.D. student in the O'Toole Lab, has been accepted into a very competitive Medical Microbiology fellowship at the Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine and ARUP Laboratories. Please see O'Toole Lab News for additional information.

O'Toole Lab Findings on Airway Health

In a recent collaborative study with collegaues at Dartmouth, led by Juliette Madan (in the Dept. of Pediatrics) and Annie Hoen (in the Dept. of Epidemiology), the O'Toole Lab investigated the upper airway and gut microflora of infants and children with CF. This group of children ranged up to almost 3 years of age. In this report, the research team demonstrates a link between the microflora in the gut and respiratory health. In particular, the researchers show an association between gut microbiota and initial Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonization and onset of exacerbation. This exciting finding suggests that oral probiotics have the potential to impact airway health. The paper recently was published online in the Journal of Pediatrics.

3rd Annual Cystic Fibrosis Retreat Held at Geisel School of Medicine

Over 100 Cystic Fibrosis (CF) researchers from New England attended the 3rd annual Cystic Fibrosis Retreat at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College on March 10, 2015. Twelve invited speakers presented a variety of talks on CF drug discovery, bacterial infections and inflammation in CF.

Karl Griswold Group Publishes Articles on Antibacterial Enzymes

February 2015

Karl Griswold and his students recently published a series of articles on developmental antibacterial enzymes. These articles describe two advances: 1. Designing human lysozyme variants that evade inhibitory proteins produced by bacterial pathogens. 2. Engineering S. aureus's own cell wall recycling machinery so as to render these endogenous enzymes potent antibacterial agents.

Links to the three articles:

Click here to read article.
Click here to read article.
Click here to read article.

Laura Filkins Receives Travel Grant, Presents Poster

February 2015

Laura Filkins, a PhD student in the O'Toole lab, received a $500 travel grant for the ASM Conference on Polymicrobial Infections. Laura presented a poster at the meeting titled "Dynamic P. aeruginosa-S. aureus inter-bacterial interactions impact community composition and s. aureus survival in the respiratory tract of patients with cystic fibrosis".

Small Fish Provide Major Insight into How Organisms Adapt to Change

February 2015

A team of scientists that includes Lung Biology Center investigators Bruce Stanton and Thomas Hampton have identified the genes and regulatory networks that enable organisms to alter themselves physically in response to changes in their environment. The paper was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution and was named one of the “papers of the month” by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. See full story.


Weekly Lung Biology Seminar Series Sponsored by Lung Biology Center

Please click here to view the weekly schedule.

8th Annual Integrative Biology Symposium: "Epigenetics"

April 21-22, 2015

This symposium on epigenetics will explore how environmental factors affect gene expression and the characteristics of organisms. Click here for more information.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Great Strides Walk

Date: May 2, 2015

The Dartmouth Lung Biology Center is walking as Team Dartmouth Lung Biology in the Hanover Great Strides walk on May 2, 2015. The Hanover Great Strides Walk is a 5k trail walk at the beautiful Storrs Pond Recreation Area. Registration is at 10:00am. The walk begins at 10:30am. Great Strides walks are the largest fundraisers organized by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Money raised will go towards research on treatment and cures for CF. Click here to join or contribute to Team Dartmouth Lung Biology. To create your own team click here.

Introduction to Applied Bioinformatics Course at MDIBL

August 1-6, 2015

The goal of the Applied Bioinformatics Course is to provide hands-on training with major bioinformatics resources while developing a conceptual framework to foster successful application of the bioinformatic skillset to biological research. We will focus on analysis of high throughput sequencing data to identify differentially expressed genes, investigate biological functions, and predict interaction networks. Topics covered include web-based gene and protein resources, genome browsers, DNA and RNA-Seq data analysis using CLC Genomics Workbench and the R statistical computing environment, Ingenuity® pathway analysis, gene set enrichment analyses and machine learning applications.

More information can be found at the course web site.