Research & Scholarship Activities

An exciting aspect of our program is the recent 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 an active critical care research group that has been a consistently high performing 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. Research into the mechanisms of muscle injury and dysfunction in acute lung injury is the focus of Dr. Files' translational lab. 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 critical care research group is also applying, along with many other centers from the ARDSnet network, as a clinical center for the NHLBI PETAL (Prevention and Early Treatment of Acute Lung Injury) Clinical Trials Network.

The Section instituted the Interventional Pulmonology (IP) research year in 2006. This program, currently directed by Dr. Bellinger, 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 (SPIROMICS) 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 of their original research at national meetings of the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians, both in poster form and oral presentations.

 

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