Associate Professor Rennolds Ostrom of UTHSC Receives $1.1 Million Grant for Asthma and COPD Research

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A $1.1 million dollar grant from the NIH will allow Dr. Rennolds Ostrom and his research team to understand how an intracellular messenger called cAMP can carry different information based on where in the cell the signal is generated. Dr. Ostrom’s research could lead to cures for diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
A $1.1 million dollar grant from the NIH will allow Dr. Rennolds Ostrom and his research team to understand how an intracellular messenger called cAMP can carry different information based on where in the cell the signal is generated. Dr. Ostrom’s research could lead to cures for diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Rennolds Ostrom, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $1,136,476 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The award will be used to support a project titled, “Molecular Signal Transduction of cAMP Compartments,” and will be distributed over four years.

Currently, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are treated with drugs that relax airways. These drugs stimulate receptors by using the intracellular messenger, cAMP, which regulates contraction, metabolism, survival, growth, division and many other functions of all cells in the body. This messenger is utilized by a vast array of hormones, neurotransmitters and other signals to alter cell function. Research in Dr. Ostrom’s lab focuses on understanding how this chemical messenger can carry different information based on where in the cell the signal is generated. The research team has found that cAMP can be produced in different locations inside cells and that different hormones can stimulate cAMP signals in some of these locations but not others.

The researchers are also interested in knowing what elements are present inside cells to create these cAMP “compartments” and how these different locations regulate various cell functions. If these elements can be better manipulated to control how the cell responds to a given signal, new drugs can be developed that are safer and more effective for treating asthma and COPD.

“We are grateful to the National Institutes of Health, specifically the National Institute for General Medical Sciences, for funding our efforts to understand cAMP signaling compartmentalization,” said Dr. Ostrom. “This is a fundamental biological process that is likely important in all cells. We believe our efforts can eventually improve not just the treatment of asthma and COPD but also many other diseases, including cardiovascular, renal and neurological disorders.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.