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 focused around asthma research. The SABRE Center aligned in 2014 with the Airway Clinical Research Center (ACRC) at UCSF to facilitate 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

The past year has imposed unprecedented difficulties on academic life, research and the health care system. SABRE labs were shuttered in March, 2020, and only achieved 75% occupancy with spacing in late May, 2021. Animal breeding, sequencing studies, core activities, in-person conferences and seminars were suspended to minimize human contact and to redirect resources to COVID-19-related activities, generating opportunity that could only be met by the flexibility provided through SABRE funding. Thus, SABRE Center investigators could continue to make contributions to the understanding of asthma and allergic disease, while pivoting to address the impact on COVID-19 on patients with asthma, an emphasis that continues with the ongoing pandemic.

Notable accomplishments from SABRE Center members over the past 12 months:

  1. The COMET consortium was mobilized quickly to confront the pandemic and organized by Prescott Woodruff, David Erle, Mark Ansel, John Fahy and others on the Leadership team to rapidly phenotype COVID patients for immune studies to uncover mechanisms driving severe disease. Key findings included dysregulated anti-viral interferon pathways mediated by aberrant autoantibodies that interfere with immune control and active neutrophils that foment tissue damage, creating strategies for intervention. Of note, patients with asthma were relatively protected from severe disease.
  2. Despite the pandemic, Esteban Burchard continued 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, where the prevalence and severity of asthma are among the highest in the world, promising a rich dataset already being leveraged to additional SABRE investigators with collaborative grants in progress.
  3. The Locksley lab leveraged SABRE-targeted single-cell RNA sequencing efforts to contribute to studies identifying ILC2 precursors in tissues and to define the trajectories by which these cells become pathologic during inflammatory and allergic reactions in the skin and lung.
  4. The Allen lab discovered the role of IL-21 in inhibiting IgE class switch recombination in mouse and human B cells, and the Shin lab continued to probe the role of MARCH1 regulation in dendritic cells and its contributions to allergic T cell differentiation.

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