Allison Fryer is a pulmonary pharmacologist with a PhD from U of London. She was a tenured full professor at Johns Hopkins University before becoming Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and full professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the medical school in Oregon.
She is an expert in lung physiology and pharmacology and has identified several major mechanisms that contribute to the airway hyperreactivity that is characteristic of asthma. These include that she discovered specific proteins (muscarinic receptors) on nerves that normally limit neurotransmitter release and thus maintain normal lung tone. She subsequently demonstrated that these neuronal muscarinic receptors were not functioning in asthma resulting in increased transmitter release that contributes to asthma symptoms. She has demonstrated that airway nerves are actively engaged in recruiting inflammatory cells, and that in healthy individuals these inflammatory cells appear to be involved in normal nerve development and function. However, in asthma, different cells respond to the chemical signals generated by nerves, and these different inflammatory cells have profound effects on nerves, including that they inhibit neuronal muscarinic receptor function, change neurotransmitter content and change distribution of nerves themselves in lungs. All these effects contribute to symptoms of asthma, and are targets for new pharmaceutical intervention in treatment of asthma.
Dr. Fryer brings considerable knowledge of lung physiology and histology to the Expert Panel for Fragrance Safety, as well as decades of experience studying inflammatory mechanisms and neural control of the lungs.