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Robert A. Barrington, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, received $49,730 through the 2019 College of Medicine Faculty Intramural Grants Program Research Awards to further investigate a rare lung disease.

Published Dec 18th, 2019

By Casandra Andrews
candrews@health.southalabama.edu

Robert A. Barrington, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, received $49,730 through the 2019 College of Medicine Faculty Intramural Grants Program Research Awards to further investigate a rare lung disease.

“The funds will be instrumental for generating preliminary data on human patient samples with autoimmune pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, an uncommon lung disease,” Barrington said. “Our work is part of a multi-institutional effort with groups at UCLA and Cincinnati Children's Hospital to understand how heterogeneous the disease is, and whether we can determine if gene signatures in individual patients can predict responses to various therapies.”

Raymond J. Langley, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology, and graduate student Grant Daly will analyze the genetic data.

Barrington’s lab has been an innovator in the study of autoimmune pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (ApAP). In 2016, Barrington’s laboratory discovered the first model for (ApAP). Caused by antibodies to a cytokine called GM-CSF, unfortunately, as many as 25 percent of patients with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) die within five years of diagnosis.

In an era when federal funding has become more limited, Barrington said, the intramural grants program provides an outstanding mechanism to support cutting-edge research, allowing investigators to expand and strengthen preliminary experimental data to build more competitive extramural proposals.

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