I recently attended an awards ceremony in which a senior science investigator expressed that her research career was enhanced, all due to her having the privilege of a lifetime working with science trainees. The American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) has made one of its core missions of ensuring that the work of trainees are highlighted during their annual meeting. At this year’s meeting several of ASIP’s trainees were highlighted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 in a session entitled, “Highlights: Graduate Student Research in Pathology” Today, I was lucky enough to track down two trainees, a Ms. My-Trang T. Dang and Mr. Tyler T. Wood. In addition to them allowing me to take their pictures, both trainees presented their work.
My-Trang T. Dang
My-Trang’s work focuses on understanding diseases that impact the functioning of our lungs. Some individuals with lung disease exhibit complications called, “low diffusing capacity”; meaning that these individuals have difficulties ensuring that enough oxygen is getting through their lungs to the rest of their body organs. These difficulties are caused by a variety of disease conditions, making diseases associated with low diffusing capacity difficulty to treat and diagnose. However, My-Trang studies a special peptide called angiotensinogen (AGT) that may serve as a marker for diseases associated with the lung. In her experiments, she explores human genetics by examining patterns in DNA from individuals in the United States and Spain. From her studies, she was able to decipher patterns by which individuals with low diffusing capacity had a specific type of DNA pattern. More importantly, she also observed that the DNA pattern within these individuals was associated with the activation of mediators that promote inflammation. My-Trang hopes to use her work as a method for predicting lung dysfunction within patients with lung disease.
Tyler T. Wood
Tyler’s research explores the effects of tobacco smoke on promoting the progression of inflammation in cases of lung disease. Tyler studies a subset of inflammatory products called advanced glycation end-products or AGE. These products can increase inflammation by binding to receptors on the cell surface and activating inflammatory signaling pathways. Individuals who smoke, have a higher propensity for producing these inflammatory products. So to better understand how AGE may influence lung function, Tyler uses a mouse model to mimic the effects of cigarette smoke on lung function and inflammation. His research study highlighted the effects of short-term tobacco smoke exposure compared to identical animals groups exposed to room air only. In summary, Tyler observed that inflammation was induced by tobacco smoke exposure, which also stimulated activation of AGE receptors. He plans to continue his studies, as his data may reveal captivating information that suggests a role for AGE signaling in the induction of inflammation within the lungs of individuals who are exposed to tobacco smoke.