Lung diseases caused by environmental factors are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The lung is the major target organ for environmental air pollutants, and lung disease is a major international public health problem. In our lab, we study basic mechanisms that underlie the physiologic and pathologic manifestations of several different lung diseases, particularly emphysema and asthma.
Research currently being done involves understanding why chronic changes continue to exist in lungs at long times after the initial insults are completely gone. Such insults lead to tissue damage that triggers immunologic responses which seem to persist almost indefinitely. This manifestation is analyzed using state-of-the-art phenotyping in whole animal models simultaneously with assessment of the immunologic status of cells and interactive signaling.
In general, the lab emphasizes understanding the physiologic basis of lung health and disease. Physiology is the branch of biology dealing with the processes, activities, and dynamics of life and living organisms. Physiology brings to the forefront new molecular insights gained in the lab, and understanding the physiological interactions is the basis of translational science.
This research is supported by three federal NIH grants, and students in the lab have all gone on to successful research and academic careers.
Dr. Mitzner's lab is housed in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also co-directs the PhD Track in Toxicology, Physiology & Molecular Mechanisms.