Dr. Gaggar’s research focuses on chronic airway disorders. Specifically, his laboratory studies the impact of proteases in augmenting pulmonary inflammation in conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis (CF). His laboratory has made seminal observations to our understanding of unique protease hierarchies leading to progressive lung damage and alterations in innate immune signaling. Further, his group has characterized key proteolytic cascades required to liberate bioactive extracellular matrix-derived chemoattractants (“matrikines”) capable of signaling immune cells to sites of tissue damage. Dr. Gaggar’s laboratory has been on the forefront of understanding the biology of matrikines in chronic lung disease and his laboratory has delineated new roles for these molecules in not only signaling immune cells but also pulmonary endothelium and epithelium to augment permeability, inflammation, and additional protease activation. Most recently, his laboratory has described a critical mechanism by which proteases are released from neutrophils as exosome-associated enzymes, leading to these proteases acquiring antiprotease resistance and the ability to more effectively target extracellular matrix for hydrolysis. In all of these studies, Dr. Gaggar utilizes robust preclinical animal models of disease and well-phenotyped biospecimens from large clinical cohorts to enhance translational features of his research program. He has been involved with both national COPD and CF clinical networks, providing unique insights of proteases and matrikines as disease-associated biomarkers. In parallel to these studies, Dr. Gaggar is also actively engaged in investigator-initiated clinical trials for antiprotease and anti-inflammatory therapies in chronic airway disease. This bench-to-bedside approach to the study of chronic airway disorders underscores his breadth and creativity as a physician-scientist.
Amit Gaggar, MD, PhD