- Neuromuscular disorders and respiration
- Respiratory muscle dysfunction in sepsis
- Upper airway muscle function in sleep apnea
- Role of free radicals, cytokines and chemokines in muscle injury and repair
- Gene therapy for muscle diseases
The focus of my research has been the study of respiratory muscle dysfunction, injury and repair. We have a longstanding interest in primary neuromuscular disorders affecting respiration, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is the most common X-linked lethal disease in humans. In addition, we are studying other pathological states in which weakness and fatigue of the respiratory muscles are found, such as pneumonia andsepticemia. In rodent models of these conditions, the diaphragm demonstrates more severe pathophysiological involvement than other skeletal muscles. We believe this relates to unique aspects of its underlying physiological function and constitutive gene expression signature. Major areas of interest include the role of free radicals in diaphragmatic dysfunction, the role of cytokines and chemokines in muscle injury and repair, and methods for muscle targeting with therapeutic genes using different viral and non-viral vector systems. The laboratory makes use of genetically altered mouse models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Cystic Fibrosis, as well as primary diaphragm and limb muscle culture systems, to elucidate the cellular and molecular events underlying muscle cell injury and repair.