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COPD 2022

Judith Coppinger

Judith Coppinger, Speaker at COPD 2022 Confereces
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Ireland
Title : Characterising a role for extracellular vesicles in Cystic Fibrosis and COPD


Cystic Fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are chronic lung disease characterized by progressive reduced lung function, inflammation associated with underlying genetic defects in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) channel. In our studies, we have been studying the role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) a heterogenous group of nanoparticles exchanged among cells that play a role in maintaining lung homeostasis. EVs are emerging as key signalling mediators via RNA and protein cargo that they transfer between cells. Due the disease- specific nature of their cargo, EVs could serve as all- in-one multimodal biomarkers.

Objectives: To investigate the role of EVs in CF and COPD as disease-specific biomarkers reflecting inflammation in COPD and CF airways.

Methods: We used nanoparticle tracking analysis and proteomic based mass spectrometry to characterise EVs in CF and COPD airway models.

Results: EVs are produced in CF and COPD airway with significant differences between CF and control airway samples. Significant changes in protein expression was determined in EVs obtained in airway samples from PWCF and in primary COPD airway models compared to controls. Alterations in the expression of inflammatory and antibacterial proteins impacting the ability to clear bacterial infection in CF and COPD airways were observed.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that EVs are produced in CF and COPD airway cells, have differential protein expression in both that could impact neutrophil recruitment and antibacterial killing.


Judith Coppinger obtained her PhD from the RCSI in 2004 before undertaking postdoctoral training at the Scripps Research Institute, San Diego. In 2011, she joined the University of California, San Diego as a faculty member before receiving a Science Foundation of Ireland Award and returning to Ireland. Her research is focused on using interdisciplinary approaches to decipher signalling networks dysregulated in disease. She has worked in lung research- with a focus on Cystic Fibrosis field for more than 15 years. Recent research focus has been on examining the role of extracellular vesicles in CF airway pathogenesis, COPD and lung cancer.