Airborne exposures to fungi (molds) are common in agricultural settings. Aspergillus fumigatus, is a fungi whose spores are frequently detected in the agricultural environment. Diseases such as farmer’s lung, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and cancer have been associated with various Aspergillus species exposures, yet, there are no federally accepted health-based standards for safe mold levels. Upon inhalation, normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBEs) cells are the first cells to come in contact with the inhaled A. fumigatus spores. These cells not only play an important role in providing defense and inflammation against fungal spores, but can also orchestrate the subsequent lung repair (fibrotic) response to maintain homeostasis. The purpose of this pilot project was to answer a key, yet unanswered question: what is the impact of environment (A. fumigatus exposure) in modulating molecular events in NHBEs.
The immediate implication of this project would be to design evidence based therapeutic and diagnostic standards for mold-associated diseases, airway remodeling, allergy, cancer and exposures in agricultural settings.
Publications and Presentations
- 2015 NORA Poster. Pandey S. and Ohm J. WHOLE GENOME DNA METHYLATION MARKS IN BRONCHIAL EPITHELIUM ASSOCIATED WITH ASPERGILLUS FUMIGATUS EXPOSURE.