Sandler Asthma Basic Research Center
Envisioning a world free of asthma

Mission Statement

The Sandler Asthma Basic Research Center (SABRE Center) is an investigative unit dedicated to basic research discovery in asthma. Founded in 1999, the SABRE Center is nucleated by basic scientists supported by advanced technology cores and linked with the greater scientific community through Center Grants and Program Projects around asthma research. In 2014, the SABRE Center aligned with the Airway Clinical Research Center (ACRC) at UCSF to enable increased focus on and integration with asthma patient studies. Our mission remains to be a progressive, nimble, transformative scientific group that pioneers basic discovery in asthma research, a platform made possible by the generous support of the Sandler Foundation.

Summary of Accomplishments over the Past Year

Despite cautious attempts to open, the omicron and variant SARS-CoV-2 viruses surging in the Bay Area over the past 5 months continue to adversely impact the supply chain and personnel. Animal breeding, sequencing studies, core activities, in-person conferences and seminars remain only partially engaged with most activities remaining in hybrid mode, although the rapid shift to COVID-19-related research generated opportunities that could be met by the flexibility made possible by SABRE funding. SABRE Center investigators continue to make contributions to the understanding of asthma and allergic disease, while also pivoting to address the impact of COVID-19 on lung function among patients with asthma.

Notable accomplishments from SABRE Center members during the 2021-22 period:

  1. The COMET consortium organized by Prescott Woodruff, David Erle, Mark Ansel, John Fahy and others on the Leadership team to coordinate study of COVID patients continues to identify mechanisms driving disease. Key findings included dysregulated anti-viral interferon pathways mediated by aberrant autoantibodies that interfere with immune control and overly active neutrophils that foment tissue damage, but also blood-derived biomarkers predicting immune recovery. Progress was also made in identifying mechanisms driving the relative protection of patients with asthma from severe SARS-CoV-2.
  2. Esteban Burchard continues to enroll mother-infant pairs in the NIH-awarded PRIMERO study to follow asthma development in a prospective cohort of 3000 mother-newborn pairs in Puerto Rico.
  3. Studies from Erin Gordon and the Locksley lab identified a tuft cell-associated prostaglandin gene signature in epithelial cells from patients with nasal polyposis and severe asthma that may be part of a physiologic response to increase mucus transport by enhancing fluid secretion mediated by the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator.
  4. Chris Allen contributed a comprehensive review of IgE production by B cells pointing out gaps in information that will be necessary to unravel to fully understand the role of this key effector of allergic pathology.

We look forward to ongoing successes in the coming year as we continue with our mission to conquer asthma.