Epigenetic Determinants of Asthma and Environmental Asthma Protection

  • "Asthma and related allergic diseases are significant sources of morbidity in the southwest." - Donata Vercelli

  • Click here for more information on Asthma.

Relevance to SWEHSC: 

Asthma and related allergic diseases are significant sources of morbidity in the southwest. Our environment is associated with unique pathogenic factors, for example the prevalence of allergy to airborne fungi that include Alternaria. Native American people suffer a disproportionate burden from this condition. Understanding how particular environments can either contribute to, or offer protection from asthma offer the promise of risk mitigation as well as new therapeutics.

Cluster of Efforts: 

Investigators/Funding: Vercelli (RFG2), Lau (RFG3), Martinez (RFG1, IHSFC), Futscher (RFG1), Billheimer (IHSFC-Biostats) NHLBI/HL66391, HL100800, NIEHS/ES 018328

Donata Vercelli     Dr.Futscher

  • Recent award RC1-HL100800 (Vercelli, PI), Epigenetic Predictors of Asthma in Neonates will study This study will examine DNA methylation in cord blood cells taken from children who have been longitudinally studied from birth, and seek to correlate epigenetic events capable of altering gene expression with the development of asthma.
  • Recent award RC1-ES018328 (Lau, PI), Proteomic Signatures of an Early Life Asthma-Protective Exposure will measure gene expression changes at the protein level to identify protein biomarkers of protection from development of asthma by studying a well-defined population (children who live on farms) that have reduced incidence of asthma and is comparing epigenetic changes (DNA methylation) with a separate population with high incidence.