Dr. Afshar is a Board Certified Pulmonary and Critical Care physician who routinely cares for critically ill ICU patients. His research focuses on understanding the pathophysiology of respiratory failure in the setting of trauma and burn injury. Through
his past training, he has gained extensive expertise in large data analyses for epidemiologic investigations involving critically ill patients, and has developed a collaborative network to facilitate these projects. His lab identified hazardous alcohol
use in critically ill patients via examination of direct alcohol biomarkers, including phosphatidylethanol (PEth). Further projects characterize and quantify plasma biomarkers in the setting of burn injury on the development of ARDS and respiratory failure.
Dr. Afshar will also be engaged in projects that utilize large or administrative data sets to examine the impact of AUDs on outcomes in cohorts of critically ill patients.
Dr. Bailey will contribute samples for the CoPARC biorepository that are received as part of the UNMC Lung Transplant Database and Biorepository. Her research laboratory studies the regulation of the innate immunity of the lung, particularly how alcohol intake affects lung health in terms of airway diseases such as chronic bronchitis. Dr. Bailey will oversee projects related to TLR expression in bronchial airway epithelial cells, inflammatory markers in bronchoalveolar lavage, and physiologic measures in enrolled CoPARC subjects.
Dr. Brown is a co-investigator for the Emory University site. She has extensive research experience in with laboratory models of chronic alcohol abuse, and as such will ensure that experiments with human samples are an accurate extension of animal observations to optimize utilization of this precious resource. Planned experiments by Dr. Brown and her laboratory will focus on understanding the role of glutathione availability as a mediator of the alveolar macrophage functions, and these cells’ role in acute lung injury. She will also focus research efforts towards understanding the relationship of alcohol to important thiol pairs in lung (e.g. glutathione/oxidized glutathione).
Dr. Burnham is the director (principal investigator) of CoPARC. For the past decade, she has continuously conducted clinical and translational research in patients with alcohol use disorders and controls while developing and maintaining an infrastructure to recruit these subjects. She has also served as a co-investigator for NIH-sponsored clinical trials in critically ill patients, including those with alcohol abuse. She completed a Master of Science in Clinical Research at Emory University, and was previously PI on an NIAAA/NIH K23 award. She is currently the co-director for the NCRR-sponsored KL-2 training program for the Colorado CTSI, and the medical director of the University of Colorado Hospital’s Medical ICU. Her research interests include explaining the predisposition of patients with alcohol use disorders to develop bacterial pneumonia and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Dr. Cheng is an expert in mucin biology, where he has conducted much research in glycobiology. His laboratory has begun to focus on the mechanisms of Golgi targeting and retention, and recycling of glycosyltransferases because mucin-type glycans are synthesized exclusively in the Golgi apparatus. Current projects in his laboratory study the functions of mucin-type carbohydrates in health and diseases by a) characterizing the structure of glycosyltransferases, b) studying the regulation of glycosyltransferase genes, and c) identifying roles of mucin glycans in cancer progression and metastasis. Dr. Cheng utilizes biorepository specimens and data to determine the impact of alcohol abuse and smoking on mucin glycans that may have an impact on susceptibility for pneumonia.
Dr. Fini is a physician-scientist with background in oxidant biology focusing on oxidant-mediated signaling. He has basic science and translational expertise with human subjects' samples, including measurements of XOR activity in lung and blood, along with development and conduct of experiments to understand the role of XOR, inflammation, and fibroproliferation in the setting of respiratory failure in ARDS, and in the setting of alcohol abuse. Concurrent work he is performing via separate support mechanisms in a transgenic XOR knockout system will help inform translational experiments in human subjects' samples.
Dr. Kovacs the Director of Burn Research in the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado Denver. For more than two decades, her laboratory has been studying models of tissue injury and repair with a focus on the role of leukocytes and inflammatory mediators. She has worked with leukocyte subsets isolated from the blood and lung of burn patients with inhalation injury, smokers, drinkers and lung transplant recipients, as well as the blood, lungs, liver, intestine and skin obtained from mice subjected to injury. Much of her recent work revolves around immune and inflammatory responses in the context of aging. Further, she has been studying the combined insult of binge alcohol and injury, exploring the role of leukocyte subsets, fibroblasts, and endothelial and epithelial cells in end organ damage. The laboratory is actively examining both mechanisms of action and therapeutic interventions designed to manipulate the inflammatory milieu and restore normal tissue architecture.
Dr. Lowery is a Board Certified Pulmonary and Critical Care physician with substantial expertise in care of lung transplant patients. She serves as a Data and Sample Sharing Committee member for the Loyola site, and regularly participates in biorepository teleconferences, in-person meetings, and other planned educational events. Cytokine assays assessing the levels of inflammatory mediators in plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage samples will be performed in the Lowery Lab. Experiments involved in this proposal include measuring inflammatory responses, both systemically and in the airways of heavy alcohol use lung donors in comparison to lung donors who did not use alcohol or used alcohol minimally. She participates in burn-injured patient screening and enrollment at Loyola University Medical Center to populate the CoPARC biorepository. Biospecimen collection from this site includes blood and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.
Leveraging his professional collaboration with the VA Substance Abuse and Treatment Program (SATP), Dr. Mehta will supply bronchoscopy samples (bronchoalveolar lavage) and blood (serum, plasma) from subjects with AUDs to biorepository members, including longitudinal samples from patients enrolled in an on-going randomized clinical trial (supported through VA funding). The COPARC biorepository will assist his animal model studies in understanding the role of zinc deficiency and oxidative stress in the lung on the development of pneumonia and respiratory failure.
Dr. Sharma has an extensive knowledge of respiratory epidemiology, genetics, and integrative genomics, along with skills in the analysis of high-throughput genomic data. Dr. Sharma is tasked with ensuring that biomaterials to be subjected for differential genomic expression in the CoPARC biorepository are of high quality, and that specified protocols in their analysis are followed correctly. She will interface with the Genomics and Microarray Core at UCD to conduct experiments related to the planned projects, and oversee projects related to alveolar macrophage, nasal epithelium, and bronchoalveolar airway cell gene expression.
Dr. Sisson, a co-investigator at the University of Nebraska site, is an international expert in ciliary biology, and is the author of numerous publications describing the effects of alcohol on ciliary function. Dr. Sisson proposes to examine nitric oxide levels in BAL fluid and correlate this with ciliary beat frequency from bronchial ciliated cell brushings.
Work in Dr. Summer’s laboratory aims to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying cell and whole organ dysfunction in response to pulmonary insult. His work emphasizes the functional interconnections between cell signaling, metabolism and injury/repair mechanisms, and his laboratory applies a broad range of experimental approaches to characterize changes in the lung after acute (e.g., LPS, bleomycin, radiation) or chronic (e.g., obesity, chronic alcohol ingestion) pulmonary insult. Dr. Summer’s clinical interests encompass a broad range of respiratory disorders, but his outpatient clinical focus is in care and in the treatment of patients with fibrotic lung disease. His lab will be responsible for performing lipid analysis on BAL fluid, lipid analysis in BAL cytospins, and gene expression analyses in cell lysates obtained from alveolar macrophages, including gene expression profiling performed for lipid synthesis genes on alveolar macrophages obtained from BAL fluid. He will also serve on the Data and Sample Sharing Committee on behalf of Thomas Jefferson University.
Dr. Welsh received training in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center before completing a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at LSU. He oversees the HIV Chest Clinic and provides inpatient clinical care at LSU affiliated facilities.
The research in Dr. Wyatt's laboratory is directed toward the understanding of airway epithelial cell function under physiologic and disease conditions. He is interested in the mechanistic signal transduction pathways that define ciliary beating, pro-inflammatory cytokine production, remodeling and wound repair, and cell adhesion under conditions of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. His studies aim to define the role of serine-threonine protein kinases and the second messengers that regulate these enzymes in lung epithelial function. Dr. Wyatt has extensive experience in animal models of alcohol consumption that are invaluable to establishing mechanistic investigations tested with CoPARC samples.
Dr. Yeligar is a faculty member with interests and expertise in alveolar macrophage biology as it is affected by alcohol-induced oxidative stress, with expertise in murine models of alcohol-associated lung disease. Dr. Yeligar will oversee the project performance of the Emory component of this project, including serving on the Data and Sample Sharing Committee (DSSC) to help determine current and future plans and trajectories for CoPARC.