Y. S. Prakash, MD, PhD
As an anesthesiologist and physiologist, my broad research interest is lung biology in health and disease, with particular emphasis on airway and pulmonary vascular diseases such as asthma, smoking-induced lung disease, pulmonary hypertension and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The broad goal of the studies conducted in my laboratory is to develop a basic understanding of how elements of the lung such as epithelium, smooth muscle and immune cells interact with their environment under normal circumstances and in disease states, thus allowing for identification and development of novel therapeutic targets and techniques for use in the clinical environment. One of our major projects is the role of inflammatory mediators and trophic factors (neurotrophins) in modulation of airway and pulmonary vascular function in disease (asthma, cigarette smoke exposure, premature lung). Another rapidly progressing area of work is the role of sex steroids (especially estrogens) in lung diseases. This work has the potential to address fundamental questions regarding why men and women differ in terms of asthma, pulmonary hypertension, or in susceptibility to insults such as cigarette smoke and allergens. A third area that is rapidly gaining attention is the use of nanoparticles in targeted drug delivery to the lung. We are exploring the mechanisms of nanoparticle action and avenues to engineer nanoparticles to deliver molecules to specific cell types in the airway and pulmonary vasculature. In our work, we study human lung samples using a variety of techniques including fluorescence confocal microscopy, real-time 3D imaging, muscle mechanics, laser capture microdissection, and biochemistry/molecular biology.