Dr. Diette is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he has joint appointments in Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Since joining the faculty, Dr. Diette has served as mentor to more than 20 trainees, including 14 postdoctoral fellows. With rare exception, his mentees have gone on to highly productive academic careers, garnering honors and receiving NIH grant support (NRSA, K23, R21, R01 U01 and Project Leader on program grants). The majority of his professional life has been dedicated to the conduct of research, presentation and dissemination of findings and establishing a steady base of research funding from the NIH and other sources. The focus of Dr. Diette's career has been on patient-oriented research in asthma, especially race-based health care disparities and environmental determinants of the disease. The main purpose of this K24 proposal is to provide relief from clinical and administrative duties in order to expand the POR program and dedicate additional time and energy to current and future trainees. Thus, the overall aims of this proposal are:
Aim 1 : To enhance the candidate's capacity to mentor clinician scientists in patient-oriented research;
and Aim 2 : To expand the candidate's clinical research program in directions that create new scientific opportunities for him and his mentees. Dr. Diette directs the ASTHMA-DIET, a program award examining how diet contributes to asthma susceptibility in children and co-directs the Hopkins DISCOVER program, which investigates mechanisms by which allergens and pollutants provoke inflammation and oxidative stress. These programs are the research homes for his current mentees. These multi-project programs bring together broad scientific expertise from allergists, pulmonologists, adult and pediatric medicine, biostatisticians, epidemiologists, environmental health engineers and others. While substantial evidence now exists for the role of the indoor environment in pediatric asthma, there is insufficient evidence of the biologic mechanisms by which allergens and pollutants may provoke inflammation and oxidative stress in inner city adults. As adults with asthma endure the majority (90%) of mortality attributed to the disease, treatments are inadequate, especially in the area of environmental control. A major focus of this proposal will be to expand the present research program from inner city children to also include inner city adults. The proposed cohort of 100 inner city adults with asthma will examine the extent to which indoor particulate matter provokes oxidative stress and inflammation. With this expansion in the research program, the candidate will provide the foundation for future trials in adults of home-based multi- component environmental interventions, goals which are concordant with the career goals of current mentees and will establish the infrastructure for future mentees with a research interest in adult asthma.
This award will have two major impacts on public health. First, it will expand the pool of researchers capable of patient oriented research, which is necessary for translation of research findings into viable asthma treatments. Second, the research program will add to the knowledge of how to reduce the burden of asthma in inner city adults, a group that suffers disproportionate morbidity and mortality from the disease.
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