University of California, San Francisco
Blunting Airway Constriction in Asthma
In an asthma attack, the airways of the lung constrict because of the contraction of a type of muscle known as smooth muscle. Using a mouse model of human asthma, Dr. Bhattacharya will study airway hyperresponsive-ness, or oversensitivity. He has identified a protein known as IQGAP1 that appears to blunt the constrictive re-sponse of smooth muscle when it is triggered by a substance called acetylcholine. He hopes to uncover the way in which IQGAP1 relaxes smooth muscle contraction. By broadening the understanding of smooth muscle contraction, Dr. Bhattacharya hopes to identify new pathways that could lead to novel treatments for airway constriction in asthma.