Gunilla Westergren-Thorsson works as dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Professor in Lung Biology at the Department of Experimental Medical Science at the Lund University. She leads a research team of about 20 people engaged in research focusing on chronic inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. These are all diseases that severely affect quality of life. The effectiveness of current treatments is limited to decrease symptoms and delay disease progression.
The overall objective is to contribute to an increased understanding of the mechanisms behind these diseases and also to investigate the mechanisms causing chronic rejection of transplanted lung. This is knowledge important not only from a basic research perspective, but also from a clinical point of view.
The goal is also to find new markers for early diagnosis and new targets for the treatment of chronic inflammatory lung diseases. To reach this goal, Gunilla’s research team studies the importance of the microenvironment by looking at structural changes in the connective tissue and comparing healthy tissue with tissue from diseased individuals. They also explore the potential use of stem cells in cell-based therapy.