Pulmonary Biology

Pulmonary Biology

Many newborns have lung dysfunction at birth due to prematurity or congenital problems. Research in our division focuses on understanding both the normal processes of lung development and the molecular and cellular events that contribute to lung disease. Past research studies in our division played a critical role in the development of surfactant - a life-saving therapy now given to all premature infants with immature lungs – while our present research endeavors strive to help us understand a broad set of pulmonary diseases, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Researchers in our division investigate the mechanisms underlying normal lung morphogenesis, perinatal adaptation, gene regulation in the lung, pulmonary injury and repair, surfactant proteins and surfactant homeostasis, and the transcriptional pathways of lung development.

For more information, please visit the faculty lab websites listed below and the Division of Pulmonary Biology.

Henry Akinbi, MD Lung innate defense, including infection and inflammation
James Greenberg, MD Lung vasculature and lymphatic development & the role of VEGF
Noah Hillman, MD Lung injury and inflammation following chorioamnionitis
Alan Jobe, MD, PhD Newborn lung maturation and lung injury with ventilation
Suhas Kallapur, MD Lung injury and SIRS following chorioamnionitis
Paul Kingma, MD, PhD Surfactant protein D in neonatal sepsis, RDS and ARDS
Amy Nathan, MD Lung-specific immune responses to environmental stimuli
Ward Rice, MD, PhD Molecular and cellular mechanisms of surfactant processing
Jeffrey Whitsett, MD Lung transcriptional control, epithelial patterning and development [Visit the Whitsett Lab.]
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a chronic lung disorder that occurs in babies who are born prematurely or with severe respiratory disorders, requiring mechanical ventilation at birth. BPD is characterized by inflammation and scarring in the lung. The lung histology shown above demonstrates thickening of the alveolar septae, enlarged distal airspaces and inflammation in an infant with BPD. Researchers in the division are working to understand the effects of infection, lung immaturity and mechanical ventilation on the development of BPD.