Research

We are currently engaged in a number of exciting projects investigating the physiology, pathophysiology, and pathology of the sinuses.

Chronic Rinosinusitis and Polyposis. We are investigating the physiologic and immunologic function and dysfunction in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis and polyposis. Studies include flow cytometric analysis of white blood cell populations from the tissue of such patients. We also study the cytokines and other mechanisms of intercellular communication that might stimulate and propagate a cascade of recurrent inflammation using Luminex and other techniques. Understanding these immunological changes and how these messages are transmitted throughout sinus mucosa provides an therapeutic opportunity to interfere in the pathophysiology of the process.

Ciliary Function. We are investigating the physiology of cilia, including beat frequency, response to various stimuli, and changes in ciliary function over time. As normal ciliary function is central to clearing infections and pathogens, this understanding could pave the way for therapies that enhance ciliary function or eliminate factors that disrupt its function. Part of our studies involve creating air-liquid interfaces of cilia from murine septum epithelium.

Biofilms. We are actively studying the patterns of bacterial biofilm formation, their role in recurrent and chronic sinus infection, and methods of detecting their presence in patients. Using cultures, tissue samples, scanning electron microscopy, and confocal imaging, we are studying the relationship between biofilm presence and disease severity. We are also investigating potential therapeutic agents that may serve to disrupt or eliminate biofilms and ultimately reduce the rate of infection recurrence.

electron microscopy of healthy ciliaFISH analysis of infected mucosa with pseudomonaselectron microscopy of chronic rhinosinusitisbiofilm growth on cultured cells