April 2, 2020

New PAR-2 paper now online

A study done by Ryan Carey, Jenna Freund, and Ben Hariri from the lab is now online at Journal of Biological Chemistry.  In it, we show that changes in epithelial composition during deciliation driven by type 2 inflammation, cigarette smoke exposure, or retinoic acid deficiency result in altered polarization of PAR-2 receptor signaling.  Normally, the receptor resides on the basolateral side of the membrane in polarized ciliated cells.  When these cells are replaced with squamous cells, PAR-2 signaling from the apical membrane of these cells may enhance inflammatory responses to inhaled proteases produced by fungi, dust mites, or other organisms.  This may contribute to the pathophysiology of inflammatory airway diseases, many of which are characterized by alterations of airway cell composition and loss of airway cilia. 


March 18, 2020

COVID-19 temporary closure

Our lab is currently closed for the COVID-19 epidemic.  We and other labs are on a strict “work from home only” directive from Penn. This is the right call for the health and safety of all lab members and for other researchers at Penn. I hope that all grad student and postdocs as well as all other researchers are reminded, now more than ever, that their health and safety is more important than generating data. 

We will return to the lab as soon as we can to continue trying to better understand airway biology, but until then we hope everyone stays safe and healthy. Please follow the advice of the public health professionals and epidemiologists. Please practice social distancing and good hygiene to reduce the spread of this devastating virus. We hope everyone gets through this difficult time as smoothly as possible. 

Our thanks go out to the virologists and physicians working on the front lines to treat patients and develop new treatments for this virus. Out hearts go out to those suffering. Please be kind to one another and let’s all do our part to reduce virus transmission through our communities. We wish you all the best.



March 17, 2020

Macrophages use bitter taste receptors to "eat" bacteria

Our macrophage paper is online at Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. We show that macrophages use bitter taste receptors to detect bacterial products and stimulate phagocytosis. The paper includes work from Indi and Jenna. 

Macrophages use a signal transduction pathway downstream of T2Rs similar to airway cells, but with a different physiological output (phagocytosis vs cilia beating in the airway). Targeting T2Rs in macrophages might be beneficial in certain types of bacterial infections.  Moreover, activation of T2Rs in macrophages by bitter plant products or bitter pharmaceuticals might explain some effects of homeopathic remedies or off target effects of clinical drugs.   


January 17, 2020

Congrats Indi!

Congrats to Indi for receiving a Travel Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics to present her work at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2020 in San Diego, CA. 

This award is presented to outstanding young scientists to enable them to present their research at one of the largest biological scientific meetings in the world. The Experimental Biology meeting is a gathering of more than 12,000 scientists from over 65 countries representing the fields of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, and pharmacology. 

Great work!

January 9, 2020

New PAR-2 preprint on bioRxiv



We have a new preprint online at bioRxiv.  Data from Ryan, Jenna, and Ben show that squamous metaplasia and loss of cilia changes the polarity of protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR-2) signaling in nasal epithelial cells.  Altered PAR-2 polarization in dedifferentiated or remodeled epithelia may contribute to increased sensitivity to inhaled protease allergens in inflammatory airway diseases.  We also confirmed previous studies that PAR-2 can be activated by the common airway fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus.  This study reveals some new insights into changes in airway biology that may contribute to type II inflammatory airway diseases like chronic rhinosinusitis.      

November 8, 2019

Congrats Ryan!

Ryan's recent review article in Nutrients was recommended on F1000.  Many thanks to Dr. J.-M. Schröder for reading our article and recommending it.  

October 9, 2019

Congrats Indi!

Congratulations to Indi, whose Cystic Fibrosis Foundation postdoctoral research fellowship on AKT-dependent regulation of airway epithelial barrier functions in CF was approved for funding!  That's a great accomplishment for her, and we are very grateful to CFF for supporting her work. 

September 27, 2019

New preprint on T2Rs in macrophages

We have a new preprint up online at BioRxiv looking at bitter taste receptor signal transduction in human macrophages and impact on phagocytosis.  We also look at how airway epithelial cells can "talk" to macrophages via nitric oxide.    

August 28, 2019

New airway T2R review online


A new review on taste receptors in upper airway immunity, written with Penn ENT resident Ryan Carey, is online at the journal Nutrients.  This is part of a special issue on bitter taste receptors and the microbiome.  This is an open access article, which means it is available free to read or download.    

August 13, 2019

FASEB Cilia Conference

We had a great time presenting our work at the 2019 FASEB Biology of Cilia and Flagella Conference in Snowmass Village Colorado.  There's tons of exciting work going on in the cilia world.  


January 13, 2019

Congratulations, Indi!

Congratulations to Indi for being awarded a 2019 Postdoctoral Travel Award from ASBMB to attend the ASBMB 2019 meeting held in conjunction with the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting in Orlando.  This award will not only help to sponsor her travel to the meeting to present her results on Akt signaling in airway cells, but will also give her access to special career networking events.  Great work!  

October 22, 2018

Welcome Li Eon!

We're delighted to welcome Li Eon Kuek to the lab, who is starting a postdoc position.  Li Eon comes to us from the University of Melbourne, where he worked with Dr. Graham Mackay in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.  Li Eon has a strong background in in cilia biology that will help him explore the chemosensory functions of airway motile cilia during his time in the lab.  We're excited to have him join our team and look forward to working with him.    

September 27, 2018

CORSICA meeting

I really enjoyed learning about the ColeReagins Registry for Sinonasal Cancer (CORSICA) program, which was the topic of a small conference/discussion group here at Penn this past weekend, hosted by Drs. Jim Palmer and Nithin Adappa from the Division of Rhinology in our department.  CORSICA is a prospective, longitudinal, observational registry based on a secure cloudbased computing platform designed to prospectively capture data of sinonasal malignancies, including patient characteristics, treatment, quality of life, and oncologic outcomes.  This is a very promising initiative to combine observations and learn more about rare types of sinonasal cancer to generate better empirical data and determine more effective therapies.  It was a very interesting seminar and there were some great discussions not only about CORSICA itself but also about harnessing patient data to identify biomarkers and therapeutic targets.




     

June 27, 2018

This week's JBC issue

This week's JBC issue has Jenna's paper in it.  Check out the full text online.





June 15, 2018

Farewell Jenna

It’s bittersweet that Jenna is leaving our lab to join the Biomed PhD program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.  She will be focusing on neuroscience, and she was awarded a Tishman Scholarship as one of their top applicants.  

We are sad to see her go but wish her well on this next step of her career and appreciate her many contributions to the lab over the last 2 years.  Einstein is a great PhD program, and we look forward to hearing about the great research she does there.  Congrats and farewell, Jenna.