Faculty : Departmental- Primary

Gregory E. Conner, Ph.D.

This research program focuses on the cell biology of the airway mucosa. The airway epithelium represents one of the most important interfaces between an animal and its environment. Approximately 15,000-20,000 liters of air pass through the airways daily during normal breathing and thus exposing the lungs to bacteria, viruses, spores and other particulates. This epithelium must provide a sophisticated host defense against airborne material and unsuccessful or inappropriate response of the airway mucosa is detrimental to the airway and underlying tissues. Our program in airway cell biology studies the function of the epithelial cells and the components of airway secretions that function in respiratory host defense and that when dysfunctional may play a role in respiratory diseases.



The role of reactive oxygen species is a focus of the lab. In particular we study the role of peroxidase and NADPH oxidase in airway host defense and cell signaling.

Biographical Information

BA Molecular Biology 1972 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN.

Ph.D. Biochemistry 1978 University of Florida Gainesville, FL.

Post-Doctoral Cell Biology 1978-1981 The Rockefeller University New York, NY.

Select Publications

  • Valencia-Gattas M, Conner GE, Fregien NL. Gefitinib, an EGFR Tyrosine Kinase inhibitor, Prevents Smoke-Mediated Ciliated Airway Epithelial Cell Loss and Promotes Their Recovery. PLoS One. 2016 11(8):e0160216.
  • Dahl GP, Conner GE, Qiu F, Wang J, Spindler E, Campagna JA, Larsson HP. High affinity complexes of pannexin channels and L-type calcium channel splice-variants in human lung: Possible role in clevidipine-induced dyspnea relief in acute heart failure. EBioMedicine. 2016 10:291-7.
  • Ivonnet P, Unwalla H, Salathe M, Conner GE. Soluble adenylyl cyclase mediates hydrogen peroxide-induced changes in epithelial barrier function. Respir Res. 2016 8;17:15.
  • Ivonnet P, Salathe M, Conner GE. Hydrogen peroxide stimulation of CFTR reveals an Epac-mediated, soluble AC-dependent cAMP amplification pathway common to GPCR signalling. Br J Pharmacol. 2015 172:173-84.
  • Gerovac BJ, Valencia M, Baumlin N, Salathe M, Conner GE, Fregien NL. Submersion and hypoxia inhibit ciliated cell differentiation in a notch-dependent manner. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2014 51:516-2
  • Conner, G. E., P. Ivonnet, M. Gelin, P. Whitney and M. Salathe. H2O2 stimulates cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator through an autocrine prostaglandin pathway, using multidrug-resistant protein-4. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 49: 672-679 (2013)
  • Manzanares, D., C. Gonzalez, P. Ivonnet, R. S. Chen, M. Valencia-Gattas, G. E. Conner, H. P. Larsson and M. Salathe. Functional Apical Large Conductance, Ca2+-activated, and Voltage-dependent K+ Channels Are Required for Maintenance of Airway Surface Liquid Volume. J Biol Chem 286: 19830-19839 (2011)
  • Gattas, M. V., R. Forteza, M. A. Fragoso, N. Fregien, P. Salas, M. Salathe and G. E. Conner. Oxidative epithelial host defense is regulated by infectious and inflammatory stimuli. Free Radic Biol Med 47: 1450-1458 (2009
  • Ransford, G. A., N. Fregien, F. Qiu, G. Dahl, G. E. Conner and M. Salathe. Pannexin 1 contributes to ATP release in airway epithelia. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 41: 525-534 (2009)
  • Conner, G. E., C. Wijkstrom-Frei, S. H. Randell, V. E. Fernandez and M. Salathe. The lactoperoxidase system links anion transport to host defense in cystic fibrosis. FEBS letters 581: 271-278 (2007)
  • Schmid, A., G. Bai, N. Schmid, M. Zaccolo, L. E. Ostrowski, G. E. Conner, N. Fregien and M. Salathe. Real-time analysis of cAMP-mediated regulation of ciliary motility in single primary human airway epithelial cells. J Cell Sci 119: 4176-4186 (2006)
  • Forteza, R., M. Salathe, F. Miot, R. Forteza and G. E. Conner. Regulated hydrogen peroxide production by Duox in human airway epithelial cells. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 32: 462-469 (2005)

View published research articles by Dr. Conner in the National Library of Medicine.