Pathogenesis of chronic lung disease

  • Head of Laboratory Dr Michelle Hansen

    View researcher's webpage

    +61 3 8344 5746

  • Project Details

    LHRC logo

    The primary interest of Dr Hansen's laboratory is to understand the signalling pathways involved in the progression of chronic lung diseases such as COPD and asthma. She is involved in a multidisciplinary translational approach combining basic science with clinical validation studies through her collaboration with Lou Irving at Royal Melbourne Hospital. In particular her major research interest has been in identifying the mechanisms involved in the wasting associated with COPD. The cause of the wasting in COPD is unknown but it is a powerful predictor of mortality. Therefore, reversing wasting might be a major advance in COPD treatment increasing the quality of life and survival of patients. Dr Hansen has developed a number of preclinical models of COPD to address her research questions and to test possible therapeutic targets. This work has identified that down regulation of local skeletal muscle insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) may play a role in the wasting associated with chronic smoke exposure. IGF-1 is critical for skeletal muscle growth and regeneration. IGF-1 promotes skeletal muscle hypertrophy by increasing protein synthesis and satellite cell proliferation and differentiation. Unfortunately and paradoxically systemically administered IGF-1 is only weakly effective on muscle and, as the IGF-1 receptor is ubiquitously expressed, may increase side effects, including malignancy. Therefore, we are developing novel techniques to deliver IGF-1 that will specifically target skeletal muscle. The work from this laboratory may identify novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of the wasting associated with COPD.


    Associate Professor Louis Irving (Department of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital)
    Dr Carol Lang (Department of Medicine, University of Adelaide)
    Professor Margaret Morris (Department of Pharmacology, University of New South Wales)
    Professor Nadia Rosenthal (Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University)


    NHMRC Project Grant (CIA: 2007-2009. Molecular mechanisms of wasting in experimental COPD)

    NHMRC Project Grant (CIA: 2010-2012. Restoring skeletal muscle in an experimental model of COPD by targeting the IGF-1/myostatin/macrophage axis)

    Research Group

    Lung Health Research Centre

    Faculty Research Themes

    Infection and Immunology

    School Research Themes

    Cardio-Respiratory, Infection & Immunity

    Key Contact

    For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

    Department / Centre

    Pharmacology and Therapeutics

    Unit / Centre

    Lung Health Research Centre

    MDHS Research library
    Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.