Our lab focuses on projects that have direct relevance to disorders that are regularly encountered by practicing urologists in the clinic. We are particularly interested in benign urologic disease caused by inflammation in the bladder. We have shown that nod-like receptors (NLRs) and the inflammasomes they form are present in the bladder epithelia where they serve as sensors of sterile damage and potentially bacterial infection. Upon activation, these structures mature the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, which are released and trigger inflammation and lower urinary tract symptoms, such as increased voiding frequency.
Inflammasome formation/activation during bladder outlet obstruction (such as during benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) and diabetes appears to be a major contributor to urinary dysfunction in those patient populations. Consequently, these two disorders are intensely under study in our lab. A thorough understanding of the inflammasome system in the bladder, while learning to manipulate this system for therapeutic advantage, is the main pillar of our lab.