Research & Scholarship Activities
A major change to the program in the past five years is the exponential increase in research funding and opportunities for our fellows. The Section is currently well funded with large R01 and Multi-center Network grants from the NHLBI. Research interests of the faculty are broad-based, involving basic and clinical research.
Drs. Bleecker and Peters direct the Asthma and Obstructive Airways group. Drs. Meyers, Moore, Pascual, Hawkins, Hastie and Ortega are active members in this large research collaboration. The group is part of the Asthma Clinical Research Network (ACRN), the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) and a major NIH initiative for Genome-wide screening in Pulmonary Disease (STAMPEED). Investigations range from molecular biology and genetic association studies to cell biology and clinical characterization of disease severity and expression. In the past few years, many fellows have participated in both clinical and basic science projects in these laboratories.
In addition to the Airways group, Wake Forest has a burgeoning critical care research group that has recently been renewed as a clinical site for the ARDS network. Drs. Hite and Morris direct this research group, which is currently primarily clinical research. Opportunities that exist with this group range from outcomes-based research to the biologic activity of surfactant and phospholipases in ARDS with Drs. Hite and Seeds. In addition, the critical care group is exploring collaboration with the Genomics center to address increasing interest in possible genetic predispositions to critical illness.
The Section instituted the Interventional Bronchoscopy (IB) research year in 2006. This program, under the auspices of Dr. Conforti, aims to bundle clinical research projects directed at bronchoscopy and interventional, sometimes palliative procedures, as a condensed experience. Other ongoing clinical research projects include studies in such areas as COPD and pulmonary rehabilitation (REACT), pulmonary complications of thermal injury and trauma, sleep related breathing disorders, diagnosis of nosocomial pneumonia, techniques in diagnosing and staging lung cancer (transbronchial needle aspiration, PET scanning), the impact of monitoring in critical and general medical care, and the genetics of occupational lung disease.
The Section believes that the opportunity for fellows to pursue a concept from clinical observation to fundamental pathophysiologic mechanisms through the intertwined activities of clinical and basic research at Wake Forest is a strength of the program. Recent fellows have presented abstracts at national meetings of the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians (see list). Depending upon the productivity of research activities, the opportunity to pursue additional research experiences outside the three-year fellowship can be arranged on an individual basis.