Genetics and Genomics

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Section on Genetics and Genomics

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Publication Spotlight

Author: Michael P Combs et al. 

Description: Survival after lung transplantation is poor, with the leading cause of death being chronic rejection. Chronic rejection is manifested by fibrotic infiltration of the lung allograft, resulting in irreversible pulmonary dysfunction, termed chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD). Given that individuals with chronic lung disease and poor lung function are known to display alterations in their microbiome the aim of this study was to determine whether the lung microbiome was an independent predictor of survival following lung transplantation.

Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected from 134 patients 1 year after their lung transplant and used to assess bacterial DNA burden (total 16S rRNA gene copies per mL of BALF, quantified via droplet digital PCR) and bacterial community composition (determined by bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing). Within 500 days of sample collection, 24 (18%) patients developed CLAD, five (4%) died before confirmed development of CLAD, and 105 (78%) patients remained CLAD-free. It was found that the lung microbiome of those who developed CLAD or died was significantly different from those who survived CLAD-free. Lung bacterial burden was predictive of CLAD development or death (per log10 increase in burden, HR 2·49 [95% CI 1·38-4·48], p=0·0024) but no individual bacterial taxa could be definitively associated with CLAD development or death.

These findings demonstrate that the lung microbiome generally, and bacterial burden in particular, are novel and potentially modifiable risk factors for CLAD and death following lung transplantation.

Ann Wu

Section Chair
Ann Wu, MD, MPH


Chair: Ann Wu, MD, MPH

Co-Chair: Ivana Yang, BS, PhD

Welcome to the ATS Section on Genetics and Genomics website! Our Section welcomes all members of the ATS, regardless of Assembly affiliation, who are interested in genetics, genomics, and other “omics” technologies (proteomics, metabolomics, metagenomics, etc.) as they relate to the many diseases encompassing the fields of respiratory, critical care, and sleep medicine. Our Section has grown to over 1,000 members making us one of the largest society-based interest groups for genetic and genomic investigators focused on respiratory, critical care, and sleep medicine research. The Section on Genetics and Genomics resides within Allergy, Inflammation, and Immunology, but our current members belong to numerous ATS assemblies reflecting the diverse application of omics approaches across our membership.

Genetics and genomics are at the forefront of scientific research and medical practice into the 21st century, and the number of investigators focusing on these technologies is rapidly expanding. Although the diseases encompassed by the ATS are diverse, omics-based approaches have common, overlapping themes that are beneficial to informing research and the application of cutting-edge technologies. As outlined in our mission statement, we aim to facilitate the exchange of ideas across omics researchers while increasing the knowledge and appreciation of genomics research across the broader ATS community. Section members have impacted the exchange of ideas in ATS through the programming of scientific events including quarterly journal clubs and webinars, workshops, scientific symposia, and the annual curation of over 200 abstracts submitted for the international conference. In addition, members have led and contributed to published research statements and workshops though the ATS, ERS, and NHLBI on lung precision medicine research, high-throughput sequencing, respiratory disease-related healthcare disparities, and the management of severe asthma resulting in national and international impact. 

We encourage all clinicians, scientists, post-doctoral fellows, and trainees interested in genetics and genomics research to learn more about our Section. We hope to increase the understanding of omics technologies and their applications to enhance the ability of our scientific community to address impactful research questions which could lead to precision approaches for patient care.

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