Research Interests:Airway Innervation and Sensory feedback from the Lung
The sensation of breathing and control of airway calibre contributes to many diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. My research examines the physiological genomics of airway innervation, which is specifically focused on the role of pulmonary nociceptor or C-fibre afferents and muscarinic efferents in the reflex control of breathing, bronchoconstriction and inflammatory lung disease. We routinely use mutant or gene “knockout” mice to explore the role of specific proteins in respiratory biology. These include the Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) ion channel present on C-fibre afferents, and the M2 and M3 acetylcholine muscarinic receptors (AChMR) involved in cardiopulmonary control. Research tools include measurements of pulmonary mechanics, chronic cardiopulmonary measurements using telemetry, neurophysiological recordings of airway afferents and animal models of allergic airway disease. Ongoing projects focus on the integrative role of the TRPV1 ion channel in respiratory sensation, airway afferent responses to allergic inflammation and the cardiac and airway phenotype of M2 and M3 AChMR subtypes in health and disease.