Research and teaching
Our lab is focused on understanding the mechanisms that regulate leukocyte trafficking during inflammation. Leukocytes are essential mediators of host defense. During inflammation, large numbers of leukocytes leave the bloodstream and traffic into the tissue where they rapidly and effectively locate an destory invading microorganisms. Although leukocytes are critical for normal host defense, many diseases are characterized by uncontrolled inflammation. Chronic inflammatory diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, have an enormous impact on the quality of life for millions of Canadians and cost billions of dollars annually in direct health care expenditures and lost productivity.
Our current research focuses on the role of mechanotransduction in leukocyte trafficking. Mechanotransduction refers to the conversion of mechanical force into biochemical signals. We recently demonstrated that the binding of leukocytes under flow conditions activates mechanosensitive signaling pathways within endothelial cells. Ongoing studies will examine the signaling pathways activated during this process with a focus focal adhesion proteins and their role in regulating leukocyte interactions with endothelial cells. This work is funded by the CIHR and Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.