Population-based and Patient-oriented Research

Asthma is caused by the interplay between heredity and the environment. To better understand the causes of asthma, our multidisciplinary research group conducts studies in populations of children, including those in underserved minority populations.

Such studies—supported by highly competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health and other funding sources—are conducted by teams including epidemiologists, informaticians, statisticians, and physician-scientists, who work together to take cutting-edge scientific discoveries to the clinic and bedside. The overarching goal of our group is to improve the health and quality of life of all children affected with asthma. 

Current Projects

Stress and Treatment Response in Puerto Rican and African-American Children with Asthma (the STAR Study)

Principal Investigator – Juan C. Celedón, MD, DrPH 

This NIH-funded study aims to identify whether and how chronic stress influences asthma and response to common treatments for asthma in minority children.  

Obesity and Childhood Asthma: The Role of Adipose Tissue 

Principal Investigator: Erick Forno, MD, MPH 

This NIH-funded study aims to identify whether and how abnormal function of genes in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues lead to both obesity and asthma in children, and to worse outcomes in obese children who have asthma. 

Exposure to violence, epigenetic variation, and asthma in minority children 

Principal Investigator – Juan C. Celedón, MD, DrPH 

The goal of this NIH-funded project is to elucidate the epigenetic pathways through which exposure to violence leads to increased asthma risk and morbidity in vulnerable pediatric populations. Moreover, this project aims to identify nasal biomarkers of childhood asthma in these populations. 

Multi-“omics” analysis of childhood asthma in Hispanics 

Co-Principal Investigators: Wei Chen, PhD, and Juan C. Celedón, MD, DrPH 

The goal of this NIH-funded project is to develop and apply novel ancestry-based methods to integrate analyses of various “omics” compartments and childhood asthma in Puerto Ricans.

Nasal epithelial epigenomics and transcriptomics and asthma in Hispanic adults 

Co-Principal Investigators – Juan C. Celedón, MD, DrPH and Carmen Isasi, PhD 

The goal of this proposal is to identify epigenomic and transcriptomic markers and determinants of asthma outcomes in adults in two Hispanic subgroups at intermediate to high risk of asthma (Dominicans and Puerto Ricans). 

In-Home Automated and Non-Invasive Evaluation of COVID-19 Infection with Smartphones 

Co-Principal Investigators: Erick Forno, MD, MPH, Wei Chen, PhD, Wei Gao, PhD, and Heng Huang, PhD 

This NSF-funded study aims to develop technology that uses smartphones as sonar systems to measure airway caliber, detect narrowing, and estimate lung function, as a way to remotely monitor patients with lung diseases. 

NSF Convergence Accelerator Track D: A Trusted Integrative Model and Data Sharing Platform for Accelerating AI-driven Health Innovation

Co-Principal Investigators: Wei Chen, PhD, and H. Li, PhD 

This NSF-funded project aims to develop integrative models to accelerate innovation and scientific discoveries through artificial intelligence.