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The Impact of Tobacco Exposure on the Lung's Innate Defense System (UNC TCORS)

Principal Investigator:  Robert Tarran

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health- TCORS Grant

ID number: 1P50HL120100-01

Award Date: 9/19/2013

Institution: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill


This Center will study the potential adverse impact of tobacco alternatives (e.g., little cigars and hookah/waterpipe tobacco) on the lung's innate defense system; using human and mouse in vivo and in vitro models, this project will identify novel biomarkers associated with tobacco-induced changes in lung innate defense, which can be applied to understand the potential toxicity of new and emerging tobacco products. Projects I and 2 will determine the impact of tobacco products on specific aspects of this system (i.e., airway surface liquid homeostasis and mucin/mucus); investigators will use an innovative in vitro smoke exposure system to measure specific biomarkers of innate lung defense and will obtain airway samples from smokers of alternate tobacco. In Project 3, investigators will develop a novel mouse model of smoke exposure that more closely mimics the chronic bronchitis phenotype seen in humans with COPD. This model will be used to validate tobacco exposure biomarkers seen in Projects 1 and 2 as well as to determine epigenetic changes following in vivo exposure to alternative tobacco. Project 4 will determine genomic biomarkers of smoke exposure associated with tobacco products from samples obtained from human volunteers; focusing on changes in antiviral host defense in these subjects, this model will be used to integrate observations made in the other projects with findings obtained from humans infected with live attenuated influenza virus.


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