Normal lung development and function is essential to human health throughout life. Several clinically-important disease states result from or cause abnormal structure and function of lung components, including the airway and pulmonary vasculature. These range from developmental lung disease and asthma, to smoking-related illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sepsis, lung injury and pulmonary hypertension. Disease states, as well as drugs used in medicine, anesthesiology and critical care exert significant effects (sometimes deleterious) on respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During development, lung abnormalities can also result from insults like high or low oxygen and infection, which can lead to significant morbidity and mortality (for example, bronchopulmonary dysplasia or pediatric pulmonary hypertension).
In the Pulmonary Cell Biology Laboratory of Y. (Y S) S. Prakash, M.D., Ph.D. at Mayo Clinic, researchers and clinicians from multiple disciplines (anesthesiology, physiology, pulmonary medicine and neonatologyl) study mechanisms that regulate the structure and function of airways and pulmonary arteries in the context of normal development and in disease. The major focus is on mechanisms that trigger and regulate physiological and pathological processes in the lung. These include allergens and inflammation, growth factors, oxygen and carbon dioxide, and even hormones.
The long-term goal of these studies is to help formulate novel, more-effective and safer therapies for use in the treatment of lung diseases. The laboratory uses a variety of state-of-the-art techniques to study human and animal lung cells and tissues, including real-time multicolor fluorescence imaging, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, metabolics, and animal models of lung and vascular diseases.