Our research is conducted in close collaboration between professor and institute leader Uffe Holmskov, associate professor and group leader Grith Lykke Sørensen and academic technician and laboratory manager Anders Schlosser. The activities span the whole spectrum from basic research to operational research and development, also known as translational research.
The group is grounded in basic research aiming at cloning and characterizing novel molecules in terms of expression patterns, biochemical interactions and modulation of cellular activity. We focus on molecules with structural similarities, eg molecules with collectin structure, fibrinogen related domains (FReD) or scavenger receptor cysteine rich (SRCR) domains. The group have thus worked with the collectins SP-A, SP-D, MBL, CL-43, CL-46 and conglutinin, the FReD-containing molecules ficolin, MFAP4 and FIBCD1 and on SRCR molecules gp340/DMBT1, SCART-1 and CD163-L1. Many of these proteins are pattern recognition molecules with functions in innate microbial recognition.
The characterization of molecules and their biochemical interactions have mediated hypothesis-driven research in human disease. Thus, the group is involved in research on lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, infectious disease, asthma, allergies, and lung fibrosis, but also studies in rheumatic diseases and obesity, as well as in vascular diseases such as sepsis, atherosclerosis and arterial restenosis.
Clinical association studies are largely mediated through collaboration with clinicians from Odense University Hospital, but research in disease is also based on mouse models. The group has developed two gene-modified mouse models for this purpose. Current research has eg focus on the characterization of MFAP4's role in smooth muscle cell biology and in fibrotic disease, FIBCD-1's role as a pattern recognition molecule with chitin selectivity, immunomodulating mechanisms of ficolin and CD163-L1, and measurements of systemic SP-D and MFAP4 as disease biomarkers.
The clinically based biomarkørstudier has paved the way for translational research, specifically for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Here we are measuring biomarkers of disease in order to identify high-risk patients for intensified therapy. This research has lead to the formation of the Center for COPD research CeKOL www.sdu.dk/immed/cekol. "