The research interests of Eva M. Carmona Porquera, M.D., Ph.D., center on investigations of lung defense, infection and fibrosis. Her research is aimed at better understanding lung defense as it relates to infection in immunocompromised hosts. Additionally, Dr. Carmona Porquera studies mechanisms of lung fibrosis in the idiopathic interstitial pneumonias.
- Modulation of host immune defense by pneumocystis beta-glucans. Dr. Carmona Porquera is the principal investigator of a study looking at the potential role of pneumocystis beta-glucan (PCBG) as a direct activator of B cells. This is important as PCBG — in addition to participating in CD4 activation through dendritic cells — is also able to mediate CD4-independent activation of the immune system. Her new discoveries have shown that B cells play a role in IL-8 secretion important for neutrophil recruitment. These investigations are important, as they show a novel role for B cells in the inane immune system. The lab is also working on a vaccine model for pneumocystis pneumonia using PCBG as an adjuvant.
B cells in the development of pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Carmona Porquera and Tobias Peikert, M.D., are leading a study of the role of B cells in the development of lung fibrosis in a subset of patients with diffuse interstitial lung diseases. The main focus of this research is to determine the role of activated B-lymphocytes in driving fibroblast activation, which Dr. Carmona Porquera and colleagues believe plays a prominent role in the development of lung fibrosis.
The lab hypothesizes that the high risk of failure to the current medical therapies in these patients is the result of inaccurate selection or classification of these patients based on morphologic similarities rather than functional immunological studies. The proposed assays will help identify those patients, based on their functional immunological characteristics, and they hypothesize that B cell depleted therapies will likely to be successful when administered to the right patients.
- Genomic and proteomic analyses of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) lung disease. With George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., Dr. Carmona Porquera is leading a project aimed at characterizing the landscape of DNA rearrangements in tissue samples from patients with LAM. Validated variants will be evaluated for clinical utility and recommended as biomarkers for test development.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Carmona Porquera's work with PCBG is very clinically relevant, as it could allow physicians to manipulate and increase immunity in patients with defective immune systems. Additionally, her work on a vaccine model for pneumocystis pneumonia will potentially help prevent this fungal infection.
Likewise, the B cell assays under development will predict patients at risk of developing lung fibrosis and also identify patients that will benefit from B cell depleted therapies, such as rituximab.
Finally, Dr. Carmona Porquera's analyses of LAM disease will contribute to the development of more-accurate diagnostic tools.
- Program committee, Microbiology, Tuberculosis, and Pulmonary Infections, American Thoracic Society, 2014-present
- Walter and Leonore Annenberg Career Development Awards in Pulmonary Medicine, Career Development and Diversity Subcommittee, Mayo Clinic, 2013-2016
- Mr. and Mrs. J. Thomas Hurvis for Research in Interstitial Diseases and Pulmonary Fibrosis Operating Fund Grant, Caerus Foundation, 2014-2015
- Best Teacher recognition, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2013, 2014
- Research Career Development Award, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2012-2014
- Burgher Family Fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases, 2011