Marilyn Halonen PhD is a senior investigator at the Arizona Respiratory Center funded by NHLBI; Dr. Halonen is not currently a member of SWEHSC but is being mentored to expand her research to incorporate environmental factors. Thus, in collaboration with Dr. Vercelli, Dr. Halonen is seeking to identify early protein biomarkers of asthma related to specific protective environments (e.g., pets).
Combined with Dr. Lau’s expertise in proteomics approaches, the team is taking an integrated approach to understand gene-by-environment interactions in asthma development and protection. This research was launched using the SWEHSC Proteomics Facility and was initially funded by the Arizona Initiative for the Biology of Complex Diseases (ABCD). Multiple proteomics technologies, including protein separation and enrichment, top-down MALDI analysis on proteome profiling, LC-MS/MS peptide sequencing and ion count quantitation were applied and preliminary data were collected. An RC1 Challenge application 1RC1ES018328-01 “Proteomic signatures of an early life asthma-protective exposure” [PI: Lau (Center Director and CDC co-director); Co-I: Vercelli (CDC co-director); Halonen; Billheimer (IHFSC Biostatistics Unit Director)] was submitted to support this project (April 2009), and was scored at the 6th percentile, subsequently receiving funding. We plan to recruit Dr. Halonen as a SWEHSC member in the future.