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Our group is interested in understanding microbiome interactions in the human host that shape the pathogenesis and phenotypes of asthma and COPD seen in adult patients. Through translational clinical research studies, our goals are to:

•Understand how the respiratory and gut microbiomes influence phenotypic features of asthma and COPD

•Understand how micro-environmental conditions shape the airway microbiome in asthma or COPD

•Study mechanisms by which micro-environmental conditions modulate airway microbiota behaviors and host responses.

In pursuit of this mission, we conduct studies in asthmatic and COPD patient cohorts and apply a number of approaches to integrate understanding of microbiota-host interactions in chronic airway disease, including multi-omic methods, bioinformatics, and in vitro molecular and culture-based tools.


COPD is a highly prevalent inflammatory airway disease, commonly associated with smoking or pollution exposure. However, like asthma, it is increasingly clear that COPD is heterogeneous with different manifestations and prognoses across patients.


Many factors likely shape susceptibility to COPD or disease progression. Recent evidence has shown that COPD and particular clinical features are associated with alterations in the respiratory microbiome. At the University of Michigan our group is spearheading further research on the role of the microbiome in COPD for the NIH-funded SPIROMICS cohort.

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Asthma is a common but also heterogeneous disease.  Many different phenotypes have been described in adult patients, strongly suggesting different underlying etiologies for asthma. This is further supported by data from many clinical and immunological studies. Moreover, recent evidence from our own group implicates the respiratory microbiome as having a potentially important influence on asthma phenotype.


In addition to multi-center studies, we are currently conducting at the University of Michigan an NIH-supported study of the microbiome in asthma and respiratory allergies (CAARS/MICROMAAP) for which we are currently recruiting. 


For further information or if you are a patient potentially interested in participating in CAARS/MICROMAAP, contact:


Kelly Rysso (734) 763-6139

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