The Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy members are highly engaged in advancing the science of practice of medicine with diverse areas of expertise including vascular biology, immunology, clinical outcomes and implementation research spread across pulmonary, critical care, sleep and allergy specialties. Our faculty are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in their respective fields. The specific programs in the Division concentrate in Pulmonary Hypertension, ARDS and Lung Injury, Lung cancer, COPD and Asthma, Sleep Disorders and Nanomedicine and Drug Discovery. We have a very active portfolio of research projects, funded by the National Institutes of Health, VA system, PCORI, AHA, RHA, and various other private foundations or pharmaceutical companies. In FY2020, the total number of active external grants increased to 56. Our entire grant profile totals more than $13 million annually (direct and indirect funding). The highly productive members of the Division published 94 original scholarly works in FY 2020, including multiple publications in high impact journals. This active scholarship produces many collaborative pursuits within the Departments of Medicine, Pharmacology the School of Public Health, and others here at UIC which have generated national and international recognition. As noted above, we are particularly proud of our success in training and nurturing the next generation of pulmonary-focused scientists, with our Division earning multiple NIH K level Career Development awards in the past several years, which pursued important research questions relevant to a diverse array of clinical problems—asthma, ARDS, pulmonary hypertension, and COPD.
Stephanie LaBedz, MD
CCTS KL2 CATS Scholar
Project title: Improving Inhaler Adherence in Underserved Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
New important publication from the group of Dr. Gye Young Park
CX3CR1+ Macrophage Facilitates the Resolution of Allergic Lung Inflammation via Interacting CCL26
Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2023
The resolution of inflammation not only ceases the inflammatory processes but also requires active processes to restore tissue homeostasis. This is especially true in the cases of inflammation associated with neutrophils and eosinophils because these granulocytes are short-lived cells and undergo apoptotic cell death rapidly. Restoring normal hemostasis won’t be easy after the insults without proper mechanisms to clear dead bodies of tissue-infiltrated granulocytes. The failure of this clearing process could prolong inflammation and lead to chronic inflammatory diseases in humans. Tissue-resident macrophages have been known for this job in neutrophilic conditions because of their high phagocytic capabilities. However, the identity of tissue macrophages for clearing tissue-recruited eosinophils was unknown until we published this paper. Our group, including our lab and collaborating investigators, has been working on searching for the lung macrophages responsible for removing eosinophils in eosinophilic-allergic lung inflammation. Using the human samples from the IRB-approved translational protocol and relevant animal models, we found that the CX3CR1+ macrophage, a subset of lung macrophages, is the one responsible for removing eosinophils in the allergic lungs. Furthermore, applying sophisticated analytic tools such as single cell-RNA sequencing and the SPR method, we discovered the mechanism of how CX3CR1+ macrophages are activated, as shown in the figure. The research highlights the diversity of lung-resident macrophages in terms of their functions and phenotypes. Finally, the discovery could lead to new therapeutic approaches for various inflammatory lung diseases.
Andrea A. Pappalardo, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy at the University of Illinois at Chicago–UI Health. She has been practicing clinical allergy immunology across the lifespan in a variety of settings including: urban, suburban and community practice for over ten years. She is the Medical Director of the Mobile Care Chicago Asthma and Allergy Program, and the Medical Director of CHECK, a care coordination program for Medicaid recipients in Illinois. Dr. Pappalardo is now shifting her career focus to improving healthcare access through implementation-science based healthcare innovation. Her K12 project is to assess school-based asthma management practices in Chicago Public Schools and pilot a stock inhalers program in select Chicago schools with demonstrated high asthma burden. Health equity is central to Dr. Pappalardo’s work as she focuses on health-related policy implementation.