Researcher Stories

Mechanisms of Lung Disease

Understanding mechanisms of lung disease

Richard Kurten, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Exposure to airborne allergens or respiratory viruses initiates an inflammatory response that can cause damage to the lung, even leading to asthma.  Understanding how these agents impact the progression of lung disease is essential for identifying new therapeutic targets.

Researcher in lab

Researcher in lab

Tissue baths are used for measuring isometric tension development in human airway and gastrointestinal tract smooth muscle. Photo taken by Micheal Baxley. 

Richard Kurten, PhD, an associate professor in the Departments of Physiology & Biophysics and Pediatrics at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/College of Medicine, and his group have been studying inflammatory disease in human lung. Their research focuses on the airway smooth muscle cell, the target for β-agonist therapy used in the clinical management of asthma.

“Our work depends on frequent acquisition of both normal and diseased viable human organs,” Dr. Kurten said. “With a national network for procurement, 24/7 staffing and the use of efficient courier services, NDRI is a critical partner.”

Dr. Kurten’s group has made significant advances in the purification of human lung cells and in the establishment of ex vivo platforms that retain normal organ function. They are sharing this valuable resource with multiple collaborators in NIH and industry to advance the understanding of human lung disease. In 2016, the group’s work was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology and Infection and Immunity.

NDRI is a Not-For-Profit (501c3) Corporation.