1. University of Alabama Receives NIH Grant for Functional Categorization of Ciliary Motion in PCD

    University of Alabama Receives NIH Grant for Functional Categorization of Ciliary Motion in PCD

    University of Alabama at Birmingham Receives a 2019 NIH Grant for $159,882 for Functional Categorization of Ciliary Motion in PCD. The principal investigator is George Solomon. The program began in 2019 and ends in 2023. Below is a summary of the proposed work.

    Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) is a genetically heterogeneous disorder of motile cilia that results in progressive lung disease due to abrogated mucociliary clearance. While new understandings of the genetics have been helpful for clinical diagnostics, functional testing of cilia are needed to understand and predict phenotypic variation and response to therapy. Recent work in our laboratory has identified a link between ciliary genetics and novel ciliary phenotypes using one-micron optical coherence tomography (µOCT). We have phenotyped the ciliary beating pattern of known and novel murine PCD models. We have extended this work to humans through the use of human nasal epithelial cells. Using these technologies, we will characterize and quantify functional ciliopathies My overall hypothesis is that PCD mutations can be functionally analyzed to diagnose PCD, understand genotype-phenotype correlation on a mechanistic level, and predict clinical response to ciliary agonists. The goals of this proposal are 1) to advance μOCT and other functional imaging analysis to diagnose and categorize the functional consequences of PCD-associated gene defects on Mucociliary transport in primary human cells and 2) determine whether pharmacological modulation of ciliary function can augment ciliary motility and mucus clearance in mutants with motile cilia expression through the following specific aims: Specific Aim 1: Determine the diagnostic accuracy of µOCT-based functional analysis of primary human airway cells. Specific Aim 2: Determine the relationship between genotype and functional ciliary phenotype in PCD. Specific Aim 3: Determine whether pharmacologic modulation of CBF can rescue MCT in PCD with motile cilia expression. This project explores new concepts in the pathobiology of primary ciliary dyskinesia through the innovative use of in vitro imaging (µOCT) measures of mucociliary transport and ciliary motion to diagnose and precisely phenotype clinical PCD and the effect of genetics on ciliary function and MCT in human tissues. In so doing, we will establish a protocol for testing of treatments to augment MCT and ciliary function. The accompanying career development plan and the research aims as outlined above are of equal importance in the development of this project. Combined with a strong mentoring committee, additional training in genetics and cardiopulmonary physiology, study design, methodology, and statistical analysis, Dr. Solomon will have all the tools to achieve his career goal as an independent physician-scientist. The opportunities created by this career development award will result in the creation of a physician-scientist with the skills necessary to accurately and ethically answer important scientific questions about potential therapies for PCD phenotypes, successfully obtain future independent funding, and make important differences in the lives of PCD patients

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