Pulmonary Branch

The Pulmonary Branch conducts clinically oriented research into diseases and disorders affecting the lungs and respiratory tract. The spectrum of research spans from molecular and cell based investigation to bedside and population based studies. The Branch also provides clinical pulmonary physiologic testing, consultative and advanced bronchoscopic services and offers specialty research training of pulmonary and critical care clinical fellows. 

Our Labs

Asthma and Lung Inflammation

Asthma is a common disease that affects 300 million people worldwide. The pathogenesis of asthma involves airway inflammation, as well as airway remodeling and hyperreactivity, which leads to difficulty in breathing which can be deadly if not properly controlled. Steroid medicines can successfully treat asthma in most cases. However, the side-effects of long-term steroid use can be profound, and in the approximately 5 percent of patients with severe refractory asthma, these medicines cannot adequately control the disease. The Laboratory of Asthma and Lung Inflammation, led by Dr. Stewart Levine, is focused on developing new treatment approaches for patients with severe asthma. While furthering his research into the mechanisms that modulate disease severity in asthma, Dr. Levine is completing the next phase of preclinical work necessary to move the concept of an inhaled apoA-I mimetic peptide for the treatment of asthma from mouse models into the first human clinical trials.


Chronic Airway Infection

The Laboratory of Chronic Airway Infection, led by Dr. Kenneth Olivier, focuses on bronchiectasis, a condition that damages the body's ability to clear mucus from the airways and increases risk of severe lung infections by nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), which commonly are found in wet environments such as streams, rivers, and marshes. People with inflammatory lung disease such as cystic fibrosis are particularly vulnerable to this condition. Dr. Olivier hopes to contribute to reducing the impact of such infections by studying common genetic characteristics of the people who suffer from them, defining how the infections lead to disease, and ultimately developing more effective, efficient treatments. Dr. Olivier and his collaborators also seek to address potential genetic risk loci that might explain overlapping characteristics of health conditions such as cystic fibrosis, primary ciliary dyskinesia, connective tissue disorders including Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, and immune-related disorders.


Translational Research

The Laboratory of Translational Research, led by Dr. Joel Moss, focuses on clinical and translational areas of investigation. Primary clinical and translational studies address the pathogenesis and treatment of cystic lung diseases, such as lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). Studies of LAM focus on the growth, genetics and metastasis, or spreading, of LAM cells, which is responsible for destruction of the lung parenchyma. Basic studies examine the post-translational modification of proteins by ADP-ribosylation, both that catalyzed by bacterial toxins involved in disease as well as the reversible ADP-ribosylation cycle endogenous to human cells, which participates in membrane repair and response to oxidative stress.