Associate Professor and Director
Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Medicine
My laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms leading to allergic sensitization and allergic airway inflammation.
We are particularly interested in the role of serine proteinases and their receptors in the development of allergic airway inflammation. We have shown that Proteinase-Activated Receptor-2 (PAR-2) activation by serine proteinases facilitates the development of allergic sensitization instead of immune tolerance. We have also shown that PAR-2 activation plays an important role in sensitization to cockroach allergens. We are currently working into understanding further the signaling pathways leading from PAR-2 activation on the epithelium to allergic sensitization using murine in vivo models and primary cultures of human airway epithelial cells. We have developed close collaborations with colleagues at the University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan and the University of California Riverside to further study the role PAR-2 in allergic airway inflammation.
Another area of interest is the role of psychological stress in the development of allergic inflammation. We have shown that psychological stress soon after birth or even in adult life affect the development of allergic airway inflammation and are currently working to better understand the mechanism of these interactions.
Highlighted Publications (trainees underlined)
- Rievaj, J., Davidson, C., Nadeem, A., Hollenberg, M., Duszyk, M., Vliagoftis, H. Allergic sensitization enhances anion current responsiveness of murine trachea to proteinase-activated receptor-2 activation. Pflugers Archives, 463:497-509, 2012 (Epub Dec 15, 2011)
- Arizmendi, N., Abel, M., Mihara, K., Davidson, C., Polley, D., Nadeem, A., El Mays, T., Gilmore, B.F., Walker, B., Gordon, J.R., Hollenberg, M., Vliagoftis, H. Mucosal allergic sensitization to cockroach allergens is dependent on proteinase activity and PAR2 activation. J Immunol, 186:3164-3172, 2011 (Epub Jan 26, 2011)
- Abel, M., Vliagoftis, H. Mast cell-fibroblast interactions induce MMP-9 release from fibroblasts: role for IgE-mediated mast cell activation. J Immunol, 180:3543-3550, 2008.
- Vliagoftis, H, Forsythe, P. Should we target allergen protease activity to decrease the burden of allergic airway inflammation? Inflammation and Allergy - Drug Targets 7(4):288-295, 2008.
- Ebeling, C., Lam, T., Gordon, J.R., Hollenberg, M., Vliagoftis, H. Proteinase-Activated Receptor-2 (PAR-2) promotes allergic sensitization to an inhaled antigen through a TNF mediated pathway. J Immunol 179:2910-2917, 2007.
For a complete list of publications, click here.
Funding as Principal Investigator
- National Sanitarium Association (operating grant), Title: "Identifying asthma phenotypes: a combined genomic and metabolomic approach"
- CIHR Operating Grant, Title: "Protease-Activated Receptor-2 (PAR-2) in allergic sensitization and allergic airway inflammation"
- Previous funding from AHFMR, CIHR, Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, The Lung Association of Alberta and NWT, AllerGen NCE and CFI
Current Research Personnel
- Vivek Gandhi, MSc Student
- Ashraf Abd-Elhady Elsayed Abd-Elmeguid, DDS, PhD Student
- Narcy Arizmendi, PhD. Postdoctoral Fellow, Current Position: Research Associate University of Manitoba
- Valentin Duta, MD, PhD. Postdoctoral fellow. Current position: Family Physician Alberta.
- Cory Ebeling, PhD PhD Student. Graduated 2008. Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta
- Rattanjeet Vig, MD, MSc, MSc Student. Graduated 2008, Current Position: Resident Family Medicine.