Dr. Perzanowski's research is focused on understanding exposures that lead to allergic sensitization and asthma. While many environmental exposures are hypothesized to have contributed to the global asthma epidemic that started in the latter half of the 20th century, a unifying theory has not been proven. Dr. Perzanowski began his research career at a preeminent allergen exposure laboratory and participated in studies conducted in communities as different as inner-city Atlanta and rural Kenya. He continued with his doctoral research working with the OLIN group in northern Sweden at the Arctic Circle where asthma is common but dust mites and cockroaches, exposure to which is important to asthma elsewhere, are not found. As a co-investigator on several established prospective cohort studies, Dr. Perzanowski's current research is exploring paradigms of exposures related to asthma in an area of the world with one of the greatest asthma burdens, low and middle-income neighborhoods in New York City. He is the principal investigator on the NIH (NIEHS) and HUD funded, NYC Neighborhood Asthma and Allergy Study which is examining neighborhood differences in asthma prevalence and persistence to better understand the disparity in asthma risk between children living just city blocks apart. Two other major research aims of his laboratory work are implementing non-invasive measurements of airway inflammation in pediatric population based studies and evaluating the relevance of the 'hygiene hypothesis' to inner-city asthma.
Honorable Mention, Phadia Allergy Research Forum Award , 2009
Selected New York City Activities:
NYC Neighborhood Asthma and Allergy Study
Within New York City, the reported prevalence of pediatric asthma and hospitalization rates for asthma vary markedly between adjacent neighborhoods. The NYC Neighborhood Asthma and Allergy Study is examining neighborhood differences in asthma prevalence and asthma persistence to better understand the great difference in asthma risk among children living just city blocks apart. We hypothesize that the differences are due to greater exposure to asthma/allergy environmental triggers, including indoor cockroach and mouse allergens and local sources of combustion byproducts. The study is enrolling seven year-old children who reside in NYC and are enrolled in the HIP Health Plan and following them to age ten. This study is novel in that it is examining populations with striking difference in asthma prevalence despite being geographically close (and thus exposed to many of the same things), of a similar income, and with similar access to health care.