Proteomics and lipidomics are developing technologies, which can expedite identification of key signalling molecules, their intracellular effects and altered mechanisms in disease states. The Respiratory Disease Group (RDG) at NUI Maynooth seeks to acquire expertise in these technologies. The RDG comprises five principal investigators whose research activities focus on major areas of respiratory illness including repair mechanisms, asthma and viral and fungal infections. Aims are increased understanding of lung disease processes and development of novel treatment and curative strategies. Research focuses on cell-cell and pathogen-cell interactions and intracellular signalling.
A sixth principal investigator is using bioinformatics to analyse interaction networks in lung signalling pathways. The key molecules involved in these processes are potential therapeutic targets. Currently, key molecules are identified on a candidate molecule basis and the RDG has made significant advances in understanding lung disease mechanisms. A Respiratory Therapeutic Development Facility is currently being established to enable testing of emerging therapeutics in animal models. In this action, two researchers will be recruited to develop and transfer procedures for two-dimensional electrophoresis of proteins from lung cells and their subsequent analyses by mass spectrometry. In a novel approach, proteomics will be combined with bioinformatics to aid identification of key lung signalling molecules.
Two senior researchers will also be recruited to apply lipidomic approaches to study leukotriene signalling in asthma and proteomics approaches to examine the interactions of fungi with the immune system. An outgoing researcher will be seconded to University of California, Davis, USA, for 3 months to receive training in protein isolation techniques developed specifically for lung tissue. The development of these technologies will significantly enhance the R&D capacity of the RDG.
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