My research is focused on understanding the genetic and epigenetic basis of a variety of lung disease ranging form asthma to lung cancer. I study gene expression and its regulation at the level of RNA and translation. We routinely use animal models to simulate asthma, lung cancer and metastasis including the transgenic models developed at Yale Pulmonary section over the last 20 years. I have developed methods for isolating various cell types and studying microRNAs in these cells as well as finding genuine targets of the microRNAs by microarray analysis, probing the RISC (RNA Induced Silencing Complex), expression vectors and finally in vivo delivery of microRNAs as naked RNA or in lentiviral vectors and cloning transgenic animal models.
Recently I have focused on microRNAs in the lung endothelium and their role in Th2 inflammation, lung angiogenesis and metastasis. I am trying to answer questions such as how and why vascular cells become inflamed in diseases like asthma and how activation of these cells permits the propagation of cancerous cells in the lung. In order to understand these multimodal mechanisms I first use animal models to identify the microRNA alterations that are unique to a specific lung pathology. In the next step, I identify potential candidates for these micoRNAs through various bioinfimartic and biochemical methods and finally I study the role of these microRNAs and their targets by direct delivery to the lungs or transgenic modeling.