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Research Areas

Inflammation

Inflammation is the fundamental process of adaptive, localized response of vascular tissues to instances of irritation, injury or abnormal stimulation resulting from invasive agents, whether of a physical, chemical, or biologic nature, serving to eradicate any such injurious stimuli and compromised tissue to reduce the amount of harm caused by the event.  The inflammatory response functions through a dynamic complex of cell signaling pathways to address such instances of invasion by triggering the orchestrated delivery of leukocytes to the affected area through dilation of surrounding blood vessels and a localized increase of blood flow.  If the inflammatory response successfully removes the initiating invasive agent and the injured tissue surrounding the site, then the signaling cascade is discontinued, inflammation withdraws and the tissue repair and recovery follows.  If, however, the inflammatory response fails to appropriately address the invasive agent and those affected tissues, such as in cases of accelerated tissue damage, then the inflammatory response can persist indefinitely and result in a chronic state of inflammation.  Damage caused by such occurrences of chronic inflammation generally accumulates progressively and, more often than not, asymptomatically over an extended period of time, and can ultimately result in instances of severe tissue deterioration.  Advances in related research have helped demonstrate the importance of regulation within the tightly controlled physiological pathways responsible for the inflammatory response in terms of preventing chronic states of inflammation, and implications of chronic inflammation as the underlying cause of severe diseases including Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, and colorectal cancer.

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