Interview with Timothy P. Moran, MD PhD
Timothy P. Moran, MD, PhD
2017 Faculty Development Award Recipient
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Project: "Role of Neuropilin-2 in Allergic Asthma Pathogenesis"
$240,000 paid over 3 years
Tell us about your research and what you hope to accomplish?
My main focus is to better understand the mechanisms of allergic asthma. With a better understanding, we can design better treatments strategies for patients. My specific interest is in how the innate immune system responds to environmental factors and allergens and how it takes that information and contributes to asthma pathogenesis. We found a protein called neuropilin-2, which is a multifunctional protein that is involved in a lot of physiological processes including regulation of immune response.
We have some preliminary data showing that animal models that lack this protein appear to have worse airway inflammation, suggesting that this protein seems to regulate immune responses in airways and may be important in preventing asthma development.
Has neuropilin-2 been studied widely when it comes to immune responses?
It’s really not been previously described and that’s what is most exciting. It is part of a family of proteins that has not been well described in terms of their role in regulating immune responses.
How has receiving the Faculty Development Award changed your career path?
I am extremely thankful for the generosity and support of the Foundation. For junior investigators like me, it can be really challenging to get initial support and funding to get your ideas off the ground and start to develop the necessary preliminary data as well as the initial studies to establish your laboratory and your research career.
The AAAAI Foundation clearly understands. Through these awards they provide money and support to help junior investigators like me basically get our feet off the ground.
Would you suggest this award to other young investigators?
I would encourage any young investigator to apply. This is one of those infrequent opportunities that we have in our discipline to really take advantage of and develop our research careers. It’s the perfect mechanism for people just starting out who have great ideas.
Who are your mentors?
David B. Peden, MD, MS, FAAAAI; A. Wesley Burks, MD, FAAAAI; Kevin J. Kelly, MD, FAAAAI; and Donald M. Cook, PhD.