Our research is focused on understanding how the body controls inflammation
Every day our body has to repair itself and to stop bacteria and viruses from invading processes that ensure we remain healthy. Inflammation is central in both repairing damaged parts of the body and protecting from microbial invaders. This process that evolved over millennia is a very highly coordinated and efficient process. However sometimes inflammation does lead to disease. In our laboratory we study the process that our body initiates to repair damaged tissues and to stop bacteria from invading. We are also studying what happens to these pathways in disease in order to identify potential ways to help combat bacterial infections and also to promote repair and regeneration of damaged tissues.
We are particularly interested in a group of molecules that our body produces from essential fatty acids, which are also found in fish oils. These molecules are known as specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM) and are grouped into four main families, the resolvins, protectins, maresins and lipoxins. The body produces SPM to direct white blood cells to kill bacteria, clear dead cells and to repair damaged tissues. Recent findings suggest that the production of these molecules in several diseases like sepsis (results from uncontrolled infections), arthritis and cardiovascular disease becomes defective. We are interested in how our body controls the production of these molecules and the way these molecules regulate cells in the body to clear bacteria and repair damaged tissues.