LAB Research Focus
The Gillrie Lab utilizes 3D tissue engineering techniques to develop human organs on chips to study inflammation and cell trafficking with particular focus on globally important infections. Tissue engineering approaches allow for the use of engineered human cells to better understand cellular communication and identify novel pathways for therapeutic intervention. Particular interest is in the communication between organ-specific stromal cells and vascular endothelial cells impacts organ function during infectious diseases.
Viral And Bacterial PNEUMONIA
COVID-19 has quite literally changed our world over the past 1 year. The lab has been involved in clinical studies, clinical trials on plasma and anticoagulation, plus re-establishing the UofC's BSL3 Facility. The specific focus is on how lung microvessels contribute to severe disease.
Prior to COVID-19, research using a novel human lung on a chip has focused on understanding pathogenic mechanisms in Streptococcal pneumonia. Ongoing projects in this model are focused on bacterial dissemination to the brain via the vasculature.
Ventilator Induced Lung Injury
In collaboration with Dr. Bryan Yipp, we are studying how mechanoreceptors activated during mechanical ventilation affect lung inflammation during bacterial pneumonia. This is an important complication in the ICU where ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) leads to increased hospital stays, cost, and mortality.
Cerebral Malaria is a potentially fatal complication of severe malaria associated with coma which at its simplest level is due to dysfunction of neurons of the central nervous system. The lab is engineering 3D tissue models to understand how Plasmodium infected red blood cells alter the blood brain barrier and in turn neuron function.
Severe Malaria and ARDS
One of the most severe complications of severe malaria is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome but little is understood in how this condition starts or could be treated. The lab is using a human 3D lung on a chip model to understand how Plasmodium infected red blood cells alter the air-blood barrier.
CANCER and Infection
Breast Cancer and Infection
Globally cancer is a leading cause of death. However, what ultimately causes death in many oncology patients is often not the cancer itself but the infections that cancer pre-disposes its host to. We are exploring the linkages between systemic vascular changes induced by cancer and infection.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research - COVID19 - Co-PI (2020-2022)
Canadian Foundations for Innovation - COVID-19 and Univ. of Calgary BSL3 Centre - Co-PI (2020)
Canadian Institutes of Health Research - EVALI / ARDS Catalyst - Co-PI (2020-2022)
University of Calgary Departments of Medicine and Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases (MIID), Snyder Institute, Cumming School of Medicine - Startup funds (2021-2024)
University of Calgary Clinical Research Fund - COVID19 CONCOR1 Plasma Trial - Co-PI (2020-2022)
University of Calgary New Investigator International Collaboration Grant - Co-PI (2019-2020)