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Faculty Research Labs

Twigg Lab

Dr. Homer Twigg has maintained a basic science research laboratory at Indiana University since 1989. His initial research career focused on HIV infection and how it affected lung immunity and subsequent host defense. More recently he has been studying the lung microbiome and virome, exploring how microbiota modify pulmonary immune and inflammatory responses and potentially lead to chronic lung diseases, both in HIV-infected subjects as well as the non-HIV-infected aging population. His work is primarily in human subjects, and over the years he has performed a large number of research bronchoalveolar lavages (BAL) and plasma/serum collections. This work has allowed him to establish a large lung biobank of well characterized subjects (clinical histories, ct scans, pulmonary function tests). This biobank includes BAL fluid, BAL cells, serum, and peripheral blood cells, many of which are stored in RNA and DNA preservation media to allow future molecular studies. His lab has performed extensive immunologic and inflammatory mediator analysis on these specimens, both in BAL and in plasma. This includes cytokine and chemokine analysis, lymphocyte phenotyping, and activation markers.

Dr. Twigg is also the director of an established clinical BAL lab which provides BAL differentials for clinical purposes. His lab has IRB approval to bank left over materials from these patients for future research purposes. These valuable banked research and clinical resources have led to collaborations with other investigators on and off campus, including investigators at the NIH. Dr. Twigg currently has collaborations with a microbiome and virome sequencing center at the University of Connecticut (George Weinstock, PhD) and with an aging cohort at the University of Arizona (Janko Nikolich, MD, PhD) to study the virome as a predictive marker for the diseases of aging. The clinical BAL lab has also directly led to his most recent grant exploring immune mechanisms of post-COVID-19 lung disease.

Active research/current funding

U01 AG060900 (PI – Homer L. Twigg III, MD)
“Viral burden and systemic inflammation as biomarkers for chronic disease and frailty in aging.”

P01 HL158507  (PI – Ben Haston, MD)
“Scientific innovation for personalized severe asthma management”
“Core B: bronchoscopy and biospecimens core” (PI – Homer L. Twigg III, MD)

RO1 HL168579 (PI – Homer L. Twigg III, MD)
“Analysis of immunologic mechanisms in patients with chronic lung disease after acute COVID infection.”

Recent publications

  • Bernasconi, E, JD Aubert, A Koutsokera, L Nicod, HL Twigg III. Compromised immunity and the microbiome – transplantation, cancer, and HIV. European Resp Soc Monograph. 83:195-215; 2019.
  • Twigg HL III, SH Khan, AJ Perkins, S Roberts, CR Sears, O Rahman, JP Smith, R Kapoor, MO Farber, T Ellender, WG Carlos, G Gilroy, J Buckley, G Bosslet, R Machado, S Gao, BA Khan. Mortality rates in a diverse cohort of mechanically ventilated patients with novel coronavirus in the urban midwest. Crit Care Expl 2:E0187; 2020. PMID: 32903962.
  • Zhou JJ, J Zhai, H Zhou, Y Chen, S Guerra, I Robey, GM Weinstock, E Sodergren, Q Dong, KS Knox, HL Twigg III.  Supraglottic lung microbiome taxa are associated with lung inflammation and pulmonary function abnormalities in an HIV infected longitudinal cohort. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 202:1727-1731; 2020. PMID:  32783620.
  • Lafavers K, C Hage, V Gaur, R Micanovic, T Hato, S Khan, S Winfree, S Doshi, R Moorthi, H Twigg, X-R Wu, P Dagher, E Srour, T El-achkar. The kidney protects against sepsis by producing systemic uromodulin. Am J Physiol – Renal Physiol. 323:f212-f226; 2022. PMID:  35759740.
  • Jergovic M, M Watanabe, R Bhat, CP Coplen, SA Sonar, R Wong, YE Castaneda, L Davidson, M Kala, RC Wilson, HL Twigg III, K Knox, HE Erickson, MR Thompson, CC Weinkauf, C Bime, RA Bixby, S Parthasarathy, JM Mosier, BJ Lafleur, D Bhattacharya, J Nikolich-Zugich. T cell stress and reticulocyte signatures, but not loss of naive t lymphocytes, characterize severe COVID-19 in older adults. Geroscience. 2023 Jan 12:1-16. PMID: 36633825.
  • Jasbi, P, J Nikolich-Sugich, J Patterson, KS Knox, Y Jin, GM Weinstock, P Smith, HL Twigg III, H Gu. Targeted metabolomics reveals plasma biomarkers and metabolic alterations of the aging process in healthy young and older adults. (in press, Geroscience). PMID: 37195387.

Research Team

Current team members include Patricia Smith, who has been with Dr. Twigg for over 20 years, and Dr. Mark Fraser, a current pulmonary MD/PhD fellow. Anmol Bawa was with the Twigg Lab till she left for advanced schooling in February 2023. In addition, Dr. Twigg frequently has undergraduate students in his lab.

4931-Twigg III, Homer

Homer L. Twigg III, MD

Floyd and Reba Smith Professor of Pulmonary Disease

Read Bio Homer L. Twigg III, MD

Twigg lab members out for lunch in downtown indianapolis