Amali Samarasinghe, Ph.D.

Amali Samarasinghe, Ph.D.

Institution: The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Project: Influenza Virus Promotes Eosinophil Appetite for Bacteria

Grant(s): Innovation Award

Many people are burdened with more than one disease at a time, largely due to incidence of chronic diseases such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and obesity. Therefore, during influenza season, a large number of flu patients have underlying complications. This changes the immune system’s response. Understanding how the immune system in a patient with underlying asthma responds to respiratory infections is important for personalized approaches to therapy. Our research is focused on eosinophils, cells that are of utmost importance to the development of asthma, and how they respond to influenza virus and Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria when exposed to both agents simultaneously. Our data suggest that exposure to a virus improves the antibacterial functions in eosinophils. Our studies are aimed at understanding the mechanisms by which this occurs in order to identify novel therapeutic avenues to counter bacterial pneumonia that results after influenza.

The Charles & Amelia Gould Innovation Award

Freedom From Smoking Clinic
Toms River, NJ | Dec 07, 2020