Research Group Head
The lung undergoes an incredible transition at birth because the placenta exchanges gases during fetal life, but the moment the umbilical cord is cut, the lung must take on the role of gas exchange, a role that it has never performed before. If the lung does not exchange gases adequately, the infant may die or suffer significant damage to the lungs, brain and other organs.
Babies that are born prematurely, or that have failed to reach their growth potential (fetal growth restriction) are born before the lungs are adequately developed. As a result, they often require assisted ventilation, which is necessary for their survival but it can injure the lungs and cause them to develop abnormally. This abnormal lung development is called Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD).
- Identifying the mechanisms that regulate normal lung development, so that we can manipulate those mechanisms to accelerate lung development
- Identifying the mechanisms by which lung injury leads to BPD, so that we can develop new therapeutic strategies to interfere with those mechanisms, preventing BPD
- Identifying biomarkers to determine which babies sustain lung injury at birth and are at most risk of developing BPD; these are the babies that will require the treatments identified in (2)
- Identifying more gentle strategies for respiratory support that reduce lung injury at birth, which should reduce the incidence of BPD.