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Chitinase and chitinase-like proteins in airway disease


This application is intended to reintegrate Dr Samantha Donnelly into European Science. Until three months ago she worked at the University of California San Francisco as a senior research assistant in the laboratory of Dr John Fahy (Director, Airway Clinical Research Centre, UCSF). She returned to Ireland for family reasons. We propose to transfer her superb skill-set into the ERA and foster her professional reintegration by supporting her current research interests in the laboratory of Prof Stephen Carrington at University College Dublin. This location is ideal because of an ongoing collaboration on airway disease research between the Fahy and Carrington labs: funded by the US National Institute of Health. The current proposal arises from important new research findings made by Dr Donnelly at USCF where she investigated the role of chitinase and chitinase like proteins (CCLPs) in the human lung. CCLPs are implicated in a wide range of chronic diseases including: Gaucherâ s disease, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Observations in mice have implicated one of the CCLPs (acidic mammalian chitinase) in asthma pathogenesis. Dr Donnelly has shown that this is not the case in man, and that another chitinase (chitotriosidase) is involved. The dramatic upregulation of these molecules in smokers is a further novel observation. We hypothesise that modulation of CCLP expression in asthma and smoking-related disease affects the type of pathology found in these conditions. These conditions constitute excellent model systems to probe the functions of CCLPs, and identify their roles in immune function and inflammation. These functions are currently unknown and this impedes their use as therapeutic targets. The resources provided by this fellowship will ensure that Dr Donnelly can continue to work on CCLPs at UCD. This will effect her professional reintegration, transfer skills to her new research group and strengthen an existing EU/US research collaboration

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