The Cystic Fibrosis Research Center (CFRC) at the University of Pittsburgh supports a broad spectrum of interactive, timely and significant projects that are in line with our mission of developing improved clinical treatments for CF. The CFRC has had program support from the NIH for twenty years, and the Center has expanded recently in exciting new directions, with additional resources that support highly collaborative, interdisciplinary team projects. The research palette has expanded with growing strengths in infectious mechanisms and immune defense, thus, adding to our traditional strengths in ion transport and CFTR biology.
The paramount theme of our Center is Respiratory Epithelial Biology, with subtexts that include: (1) CFTR and ion transport, (2) the airway surface microenvironment and mucociliary clearance, (3) infections at the epithelial interface and (4) immune-epithelial cell defects that contribute to CF pathogenesis. These foci will be explored with the help of four research cores: a) CFTR and Ion Transport, b) Assays, c) Infection and Immunity, and d) Translational Research. We exploit the availability of primary human bronchial epithelia (HBE), which support translational research to discover and test potential therapeutics. We have expanded our experimental view of the respiratory tract to include Human Nasal Epithelia (HNE) and sinonasal epithelial cells (SNEC) through collaborations with otolaryngologists. Our Center also maximizes the use of patient samples from clinical procedures or surgical interventions, for both clinical and drug development studies.
Our strong multi-disclipinary research groups include faculty from Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University. Faculty are attracted to CF research through our P30 Pilot/Feasibility Program, which funds research projects proposed by recently recruited scientists or others new to CF. This P30 Basic and Translational Cystic Fibrosis Center remains steadfast in our commitment to bridging innovative and contemporary basic science studies to the clinic with a world-class translational studies team.
Our Translational Research Center supports the critical infrastructure for investigator initiated and sponsored research, as well as the training of fellows and junior faculty in CF oriented research. It provides these trainees and investigators with protocol review and assistance for IRB submissions, provided by a full time regulatory specialist, as well as statistical support for power analyses and statistical plans. To promote translational studies and interactions between physicians and scientists at our Center, we begin our seminar series each year with lectures on the basics of CF clinical care (adult, pediatric, clinical trials), and we plan clinical case presentations to accompany research seminars by CFRC members. The goal of this seminar format is to inspire new translational studies that complement our basic science efforts.