Seed Grant 06



The p38α MAP kinase as a causative agent of ageing-related lung diseases.

Seed Grant 06

The p38α MAP kinase as a causative agent of ageing-related lung diseases.

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PARTNERS:  SHARE and NUS (School of Medicine, Dept. of Biochemistry).


Dr. Ilona Darlyuk-Saadon (SHARE)

Dr. Hataitip Tasena NUS (School of Medicine, Dept. of Biochemistry).

Period: September 2020-March 2022


Ageing-associated lungdiseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), idiopathicpulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and asthma, contribute significantly to socioeconomicburdens in Singapore. Also, late onset asthma is prominent in Singapore. The molecularevents underlying these diseases are currently unknown, hindering therapeuticefforts. This project aims to reveal the key molecular mechanisms that underlieaccelerated lung ageing, the common driver for these diseases. Previous studiesfrom our laboratory show that the enzyme MAPK-p38a isinvolved in the aetiology od these pathologies.  The findings of the currentresearch project may lead to the development of novel strategies that will helpto prevent susceptible in Singapore and elsewhere from developing lungpathology at an early age, allowing them to continue their active contributionto Singapore society during their silver age.


The grant aims toestablish unique animal models, in which the MAPK-p38a can be activated in thelung in a tissue-specific manner, or in the whole body. These animal model willused to monitor the identification of ageing lung hallmarks and to reveal theaetiology of lung disease development from the onset, p38aactivation to appearance of symptoms.


The impact of thisgrant stands to provide an entirely novel view on the onset and aetiology ofageing-related fatal lung diseases. The notion that a single molecule, p38α, isa critical causing agent is revolutionary and unique because currently no existinganimal model in which these diseases could be specifically triggered by asingle enzyme genetic manipulation exists. Thus, we believe that the outcome ofthis study will progress towards novel strategies to prevent and treatageing-related lung diseases.

This grant stemsfrom the MMID2 programme and aligns with the mission to promote “HealthyAgeing” in Singapore. It will also open up further opportunities for newresearch at CREATE, in collaboration with NUS.