The Evans laboratory has found, both in vivo and in vitro, that lung epithelial cells are sufficient to kill a wide variety of respiratory pathogens. By stimulating the lung epithelium with combinations of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (primarily Toll-like receptor ligands), we induce intrapulmonary killing of pathogens, and demonstrate striking survival improvements despite challenges with Gram-positive, Gram-negative, viral, fungal, and even bioterror pathogens.
Trainees in the Evans laboratory focus on projects related to the mechanisms underlying the inducibility of microbial resistance in the lung epithelium.
Potential projects may include:
- Determination of the necessary and sufficient epithelial cell populations for induction of resistance
- Dissection of the signaling pathways that promote synergistic protection
- Identification of the epithelium-derived effector molecules that promote pathogen killing, such as antimicrobial peptides and reactive oxygen intermediates
- Recognition of mechanisms by which lung epithelial cells sculpt the leukocyte response to infectious or inflammatory challenges
- Investigation of means by which manipulation of lung epithelial cell functions can attenuate manifestations of chronic lung diseases
These objectives are primarily investigated in vivo using knockout and transgenic mice to manipulate the genes of interest, and in vitro using epithelial cell culture techniques.
The Evans lab strives to be inclusive and supports a highly collaborative, team-oriented, learner-driven environment.