E-cigarette Studies

We are focused on understanding the toxic effects of e-cigarette flavors on lung epithelium. Through a collaboration with Epithelix Sàrl (Geneva Switzerland), our current research encompasses utilizing human patient derived primary lung epithelial cells (MucilAir cells from Epithelix) to study changes in calcium signaling and ciliary beat frequency in response to e-cigarette flavors such as cinnamaldehyde, menthol, and eugenol.  Our collaborators have identified the presence of an olfactory bitter taste receptor in lung epithelium and we have postulated that it is involved in responses to certain e-cigarette flavors. The receptor is thought to be localized near or on the cilia in lung epithelial cells. We are working to identify if calcium signaling and ciliary beat frequency are altered with e-cigarette flavors and if the response is modulated by these receptors.