Allergic diseases are increasing in frequency and represent a significant health concern in the United States–affecting approximately 1 in 5 Americans today. Atopic dermatitis, often referred to as allergic skin inflammation or eczema, is frequently the first step on the atopic march, a series of allergic responses localized to the nares (allergic rhinitis), esophagus (eosinophilic esophagitis), intestinal tract (food allergy) and the airways (allergic asthma). The severity of these diseases can vary from mild annoyances to life-threatening illness.
The Wells Center investigators studying pulmonary inflammation, asthma and allergic diseases understand the initiation, pathogenesis and progression of these allergic diseases in the hopes of identifying better ways to treat or prevent allergic symptoms. Studies explore many areas, including the regulation of genes important for the development of T cells involved in allergic inflammation, lung development/ function and how changes contribute to lung reactivity. Research involves animal models of developmental cardiopulmonary defects, allergic inflammation and viral infection as well as patient studies of infants and children with atopic dermatitis and developing airway disease.