Asthma

While some people develop asthma as a child, others can develop it as adults. The causes of asthma are not completely understood. The strongest risk factors are a combination of genetic and environment factors.

Asthma ranges from mild, intermittent symptoms, which cause few problems for an individual, to severe and persistent wheezing and shortness of breath. In some people with asthma, the disease has a severe impact on their quality of life and may be life-threatening.

At Centenary we are focusing our work on Asthma and other respiratory diseases that have poor outcomes for patients by looking at the impact of inflammation and potential treatments in numerous areas. These include the effects of inflammation, molecular impacts of infections, oxidative stress, epigenetic changes and fibrotic tissue remodelling on the airways and lungs and the role of our diet and microbiome.

Our research

Professor Phil Hansbro, Director of the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation leads this research.

Inflammation is a critical driver of many disease features of Asthma including wheezing, severe breathing difficulties and impaired gas exchange. There are many different processes that contribute to inflammation including inflammatory epithelial cells, macrophages, mast cells, complement system and inflammasomes, that we have high level expertise in. We have specific tools that we can use to define their specific roles and we are looking these to define which are most important in driving Asthma.

Oxidative stress and immunometabolism, the study of metabolic pathway usage in an immune cell, are major drivers of Asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases. We have several new compounds, some naturally derived, that target and suppress these factors at their source. This source is damaged mitochondria that become dysfunctional when exposed to cigarette and bushfire smoke, air pollution and other environmental challenges.

We are analysing the microbial populations (the microbiome) and the factors that they produce (metabolites) in the lung and the gut. The research looks at how the microbiome drives or protects against Asthma.

We are also looking at how these results can be modified with specific dietary components.

Epigenetics is the study of processes that modify DNA without affecting its sequence. We are working out how epigenetics change in Asthma, in particular we look at microRNA, acetylation and methylation. We also look at how these change the activity of diseases and drive disease features.

Fibrosis is the deposition of collagen around the airways and in lung tissue leading to hardening and damage of the airways and alveoli causing difficulties in breathing. It is a major feature of Asthma but current therapies have little effect against it. Our advanced knowledge of the role of inflammation and how it drives fibrosis in the airways and lung.

We are performing several studies where we perform big data analysis of different groups of factors. These include mRNA, microRNA, proteins, phosphoproteins, lipids, microbiomes, metabolomes, acetylation and methylation.

We integrate all of these analyses together to create a more holistic view of how Asthma develops and progresses. This technique is also used to identify pivotal factors that control different parts of the disease and may be more effective targets for therapy.

We can use our expertise in each of these above areas to develop new therapies to prevent or reverse the development of disease features in Asthma and other related diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, COVID-19, influenza and lung cancer.

Our research

Professor Phil Hansbro, Director of the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation leads this research.

Inflammation is a critical driver of many disease features of Asthma including wheezing, severe breathing difficulties and impaired gas exchange. There are many different processes that contribute to inflammation including inflammatory epithelial cells, macrophages, mast cells, complement system and inflammasomes, that we have high level expertise in. We have specific tools that we can use to define their specific roles and we are looking these to define which are most important in driving Asthma.

Oxidative stress and immunometabolism, the study of metabolic pathway usage in an immune cell, are major drivers of Asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases. We have several new compounds, some naturally derived, that target and suppress these factors at their source. This source is damaged mitochondria that become dysfunctional when exposed to cigarette and bushfire smoke, air pollution and other environmental challenges.

We are analysing the microbial populations (the microbiome) and the factors that they produce (metabolites) in the lung and the gut. The research looks at how the microbiome drives or protects against Asthma.

We are also looking at how these results can be modified with specific dietary components.

Epigenetics is the study of processes that modify DNA without affecting its sequence. We are working out how epigenetics change in Asthma, in particular we look at microRNA, acetylation and methylation. We also look at how these change the activity of diseases and drive disease features.

Fibrosis is the deposition of collagen around the airways and in lung tissue leading to hardening and damage of the airways and alveoli causing difficulties in breathing. It is a major feature of Asthma but current therapies have little effect against it. Our advanced knowledge of the role of inflammation and how it drives fibrosis in the airways and lung.

We are performing several studies where we perform big data analysis of different groups of factors. These include mRNA, microRNA, proteins, phosphoproteins, lipids, microbiomes, metabolomes, acetylation and methylation.

We integrate all of these analyses together to create a more holistic view of how Asthma develops and progresses. This technique is also used to identify pivotal factors that control different parts of the disease and may be more effective targets for therapy.

We can use our expertise in each of these above areas to develop new therapies to prevent or reverse the development of disease features in Asthma and other related diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, COVID-19, influenza and lung cancer.