Epigenetic mechanisms, such as histone modifications and DNA methylation, translate environmental signals into gene regulation. These molecular epigenetic processes, translate the myriad environmental signals encountered each day, into definitive regulation of our genome and, by extension, who we are at a basic biological level.
Dr. O'Connor is focused on understanding how epigenetic mechanisms regulate the decision processes governing immune cell activity in the context of disease. The immune system is comprised of multiple types of autonomous cells that must work together to influence the outcome of disease. Fundamentally, gene expression controls the identity and function of the various immune cells. Epigenetic mechanisms, such as histone modification and DNA methylation, translate the environmental signals encountered by immune cells into regulation of gene expression, cell function and ultimately, cell identity and fate determination.
The primary goal of the lab is to understand how the human experience (macro- & micro-environment) affects immune epigenetics and to then use that knowledge to treat diseases. Currently, Dr. O’Connor examines the cross talk between environmental stimuli (such as diet or inflammation), the immune system, and disease (such as Asthma).
Dr. Brian P. O’Connor
O'Connor BP*, Raman VS*, Erickson LD*, Cook WJ, Weaver LK, Ahonen C, Lin LL, Mantchev GT, Bram RJ, and Noelle RJ. BCMA is essential for the survival of long-lived bone marrow plasma cells. J. Exp. Med. 199:91-98, 2004. Abstract
Lung Genomics Research Consortium
This multi-center Consortium uses advanced genetic and molecular tools to characterize and better understand COPD and pulmonary fibrosis.
Familial Pulmonary Fibrosis Research
National Jewish Health has teamed with Duke University and Vanderbilt University to investigate inherited genetic factors that play a role in the development of familial pulmonary fibrosis.
NTM Center for Excellence
The Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) Center of Excellence is comprised of National Jewish Health physicians and researchers dedicated to enhancing the clinical care for all patients with NTM infections, and expanding the body of knowledge on NTM through translational research.
Integrated Center for Genes, Environment & Health
This is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to understanding the genetics of complex lung and immune-related conditions common in patients cared for at National Jewish Health. Learn more.