The Evans research team engages in basic and translational investigations of the mechanisms that prevent humans from universally succumbing to the microbial pathogens they inhale or aspirate every day. Particular interest is given to how non-HIV immunocompromised patients respond to the presence of respiratory pathogens. This research is conducted in an effort to exploit these native mechanisms to provide more comprehensive protection during episodes of peak vulnerability, such as when cancer patients receive chemotherapy.
The Evans laboratory’s primary focus involves mechanistic studies intended to unravel the means by which the phenomenon of inducible resistance protects against pneumonia. Available data indicates that this protective response occurs via antimicrobial product generation from treated respiratory epithelial cells, rather than through the typical leukocyte effectors of the innate immune system. The long term objective of this work is to develop a research program focused on discovery and manipulation of epithelium-derived antimicrobial mediators that can ultimately be translated for clinical benefit.