Chronic obstructive respiratory diseases, including both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Pulmonary function is an independent predictor of survival, as well as a specific marker of disease severity in asthma and COPD. Measures of pulmonary function track along similar percentile curves from shortly after birth into adulthood, suggesting that the genetic programming of lung development and in utero exposures are critical determinants of lung function later in life. The development of novel therapies requires a comprehensive catalog of modifiable genetic targets and the molecular pathways that contribute to the development and progression of impaired lung function in susceptible populations. Genomic technologies including expression microarrays and high-throughput genotyping platforms offer an unprecedented opportunity to advance this process. """"""""Integrative genomics"""""""" seeks to combine genotype data with gene expression data to more rapidly identify loci contributing to the function of a gene. The overarching premise of this project is to train the primary investigator to combine gene expression with genotypic data of early human lung development to identify critical developmental regulatory variants and the biologic pathways that contribute to the development and progression of impaired lung function in asthma and COPD. We have outlined a series of courses that will allow the primary investigator to apply an integrative genomic approach to human fetal lung development. Success in this project will foster the primary investigator's transition to independent research in respiratory genomics. Furthermore, results of this project could lead to the development of novel therapies for patients with obstructive respiratory diseases.

Public Health Relevance

Chronic obstructive respiratory diseases, including both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, resulting in over $45 billion in annual healthcare costs in the US alone. A better understanding of the biologic pathways that influence lung function impairment may identify innovative therapeutic targets for patients with obstructive airways diseases. Novel therapies have the potential to substantially decrease the morbidity, mortality, and the financial burden related to these diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CSR-U (M1))
Program Officer
Colombini-Hatch, Sandra
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Brigham and Women's Hospital
United States
Zip Code
Kho, Alvin T; Chhabra, Divya; Sharma, Sunita et al. (2016) Age, Sexual Dimorphism, and Disease Associations in the Developing Human Fetal Lung Transcriptome. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 54:814-21
Sharma, Sunita; Kho, Alvin T; Chhabra, Divya et al. (2015) Glucocorticoid genes and the developmental origins of asthma susceptibility and treatment response. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 52:543-53
Chhabra, Divya; Sharma, Sunita; Kho, Alvin T et al. (2014) Fetal lung and placental methylation is associated with in utero nicotine exposure. Epigenetics 9:1473-84
Sharma, Sunita; Zhou, Xiaobo; Thibault, Derek M et al. (2014) A genome-wide survey of CD4(+) lymphocyte regulatory genetic variants identifies novel asthma genes. J Allergy Clin Immunol 134:1153-62
Sharma, Sunita; Chhabra, Divya; Kho, Alvin T et al. (2014) The genomic origins of asthma. Thorax 69:481-7
Sharma, Sunita; Litonjua, Augusto (2014) Asthma, allergy, and responses to methyl donor supplements and nutrients. J Allergy Clin Immunol 133:1246-54
Kho, Alvin T; Sharma, Sunita; Qiu, Weiliang et al. (2013) Vitamin D related genes in lung development and asthma pathogenesis. BMC Med Genomics 6:47
Vyhlidal, Carrie A; Riffel, Amanda K; Haley, Kathleen J et al. (2013) Cotinine in human placenta predicts induction of gene expression in fetal tissues. Drug Metab Dispos 41:305-11
Sharma, Sunita; Poon, Audrey; Himes, Blanca E et al. (2012) Association of variants in innate immune genes with asthma and eczema. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 23:315-23
Hunninghake, Gary M; Chu, Jen-hwa; Sharma, Sunita S et al. (2011) The CD4+ T-cell transcriptome and serum IgE in asthma: IL17RB and the role of sex. BMC Pulm Med 11:17

Showing the most recent 10 out of 15 publications