Robert Matthew Tighe
Associate Professor of Medicine

The research focus of my laboratory is to identify susceptibility factors and candidate pathways relevant to host biological responses to environmental pollutants. By carefully dissecting these links, we will gain insight into how environmental pollutants acutely induce respiratory symptoms and exacerbate chronic lung diseases. This can lead to targeted therapeutics and/or identify susceptible populations.

The central hypothesis of my research is that macrophages are key regulators of the biologic responses to environmental pollutants and the development of pulmonary fibrosis. My laboratory has pioneered the identification of novel pulmonary macrophage subsets and has defined their function in lung injury and repair. In both published work and areas of active investigation, we have identified macrophage subsets with unique genetic programming and function after challenges with environmental exposures such as ozone, wood smoke and silica. Since macrophages have both detrimental and protective functions, identifying these subsets offers the opportunity to understand their unique programing and function. This could allow development of targeted therapeutics that take advantage of these functions, polarize the immune responses and alleviate respiratory disease.

Current Research Interests

1) Mechanisms of Lung Susceptibility to Air Pollution
2) Lung macrophage and epithelial crosstalk in acute lung injury
3) Hyperpolarized 129 Xenon MRI for use in prognostic and therapeutic assessment of Interstitial Lung Disease
4) Interstitial Lung Disease Epidemiology in the Veterans Affairs Health System
5) Engineered nanomaterials and protein corona formation with airway lining fluid

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

  • Duke Box 2629, Durham, NC 27710
  • Duke Pulmonary- Medical Resear, 203 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710

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