Dr. Vijayanand’s lab employs genomics tools to understand, diagnose and treat pulmonary disease such as asthma, lung cancer and infectious diseases, including the novel coronavirus.
His laboratory has developed a number of techniques to study the molecular profiles of circulating and airway immune cells from patients with asthma and other diseases, using fewer cells than previously possible.
Dr. Vijayanand oversees a large-scale effort to map epigenomic modifications in more than a dozen different types of human immune cells from normal individuals to understand how epigenetic variations cause susceptibility to disease. For many human diseases, large-scale genomic studies have identified common genetic variants that occur more frequently in people with cardiovascular, autoimmune, inflammatory and infectious diseases, diabetes and asthma than in those without these diseases. However, it has been difficult to pinpoint which genetic changes are truly relevant to disease, or in what specific cell types the genetic variation has the largest effect on one’s health. Mapping the epigenome will enable scientists to zoom in on those genes with the greatest likelihood to contribute to disease, and the cell types in which they act, and therefore will help identify novel therapeutic targets.