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Robert Newton


Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy

(403) 210-3938

Cumming School of Medicine
Room HRIC 4C56
3280 Hospital Dr NW
Calgary, AB  T2N 4Z6


Research Interests

As a member of the Airways Inflammation Research Group (formerly the Respiratory Research Group), my core research interests are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the drugs used to treat these conditions. In asthma, glucocorticoids (clinically referred to as corticosteroids) are inhaled to treat inflammation in the airways, whereas β2-adrenoceptor agonists are taken to combat the bronchoconstriction that occurs during asthma attacks. However, the mechanisms of anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid action are not fully understood and this means that it is difficult to rationally improve on these drugs. We are therefore working to improve the understanding of the anti-inflammatory actions of glucocorticoids. This represents my core research interest and has been central my work since the mid 1990s. However, in the control of asthma, and COPD, clinical evidence suggests that use of combination inhalers containing both a glucocorticoid and a long-acting β2-adrenoceptor agonist (LABA) improve the anti-inflammatory benefits of the glucocorticoid. This enhanced effect (clinical efficacy) is also poorly understood, but could be the key to designing improved combination therapies. We, in collaboration with Prof. Mark Giembycz, are examining the molecular basis for the enhancement of glucocorticoid action by LABAs.

Work in the Newton lab therefore falls under the following headings:

  1. Mechanisms of anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid action

  2. Enhancement of glucocorticoid action by long-acting β2-adrenoceptor agonists (LABAs)

  3. Other areas of investigation   

  • NF-κB as a target for novel anti-inflammatory drugs

  •  Alternative signal transduction pathways are required for NF-κB-dependent inflammatory gene expression

  • The cAMP signalling pathway: aspects of regulation and function.

Research Activities: 

The ability of Beta2-adrenoceptor agonists to enhance corticosteroid dependent responses.

Other Area(s) of Research: 

Regulation of inflammatory products in the context of pre-term labour.

  • Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Graduate Program Affiliations: 

Cardiovascular/Respiratory Science