Dr. Esther is a pediatric pulmonologist whose research focuses on chronic lung diseases. In particular, he focuses on understanding how lung disease alters metabolic pathways, and uses this knowledge to develop improved biomarkers and to identify therapeutic targets.
Much of Dr. Esther’s work has focused on exhaled breath condensate (EBC), a respiratory sample that can be collected simply and non-invasively even in young children. EBC is analyzed via mass spectrometry to simultaneously measure numerous small metabolites as biomarkers as well as dilution markers in EBC and other respiratory samples, such as sputum. Dr. Esther has demonstrated that adenyl purines, biologically active signaling molecules that are closely linked to airway inflammation, are elevated in airway samples from patients with cystic fibrosis, asthma or COPD. This method has also been used to detect new biomarkers as well as airway drug pharmacokinetics, allowing for the study of concentrations and physiological effects of drugs delivered to the airway surface.
Dr. Esther collaborates extensively with his colleagues at UNC’s Marsico Lung Institute, as well as the University of Kansas, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Harvard University, and the AREST CF group in Australia.
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