Graduate Student Receives American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation Seed Grant

The research team led by James Gern, MD, has made a key discovery about a cold-causing virus that is strongly associated with severe asthma attacks. The findings point to a new target for reducing both colds and asthma attacks linked to the virus.

Dr. Gern’s team identified a cellular receptor for rhinovirus C (RV-C), a kind of ‘docking station’ where the virus attaches to the cell and starts to multiply. A variant in the gene for this receptor had been linked to asthma in past genetic studies, but the potential role of the receptor, called CDHR3, in asthma was previously unknown.

The new findings, which were published April 6, 2015, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), help clarify the function of CDHR3 and may lead to the development of prevention and treatment strategies against RV-C-induced colds and asthma attacks.