Research Programs


Research defining the mechanisms, diagnosis, and treatment of lung disease and critical illness is a central mission of our group. This research is conducted in our clinical facilities as well as our basic research laboratories. Investigators are actively engaged in studying lung biology and cellular function related to critical illness, using techniques of cell and molecular biology, immunology, and genetics. Large and innovative clinical studies are also in place, with questions related to diagnosis and management of diverse diseases answered by accomplished clinical scientists observing individual patients and patient populations.

The strength of our research enterprise derives from the high degree of collaboration between basic and clinical scientists, and the joining of faculty and research associates with diverse training, expertise, and interests. The PhD, MD, and MD-PhD investigators in our group sustain this multi-faceted and dynamic approach to biomedical research. The essence of this activity is to ask important questions, and to answer them with whatever means are necessary—often employing the means of both clinical and basic science. The flow of ideas and findings is from bedside to bench and back, with each discovery adding to new questions requiring creative approaches to answer them. This exciting atmosphere provides abundant learning opportunities for students at every level of training, and we have successfully incorporated college, medical, and graduate students; post-doctoral scientists; residents; and fellows in our many programs.

Basic Research

The Section of Pulmonary /Critical Care basic research faculty are listed below and a description of their research interests may be found here.

  • Bohao Chen,PhD
  • Nickolai Dulin,PhD
  • Robert Guzy,MD,PhD
  • Robert Hamanaka,PhD
  • Shwu Fan Ma,PhD
  • Gokhan Mutlu,MD
  • Julian Solway,MD
  • Anne Sperling,PhD
  • Steve White,MD

Clinical Research

Clinical investigation in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine is a vital part of our activity. This patient-oriented research takes place broadly in both the outpatient clinics and the intensive care units. Participation by our fellows is extensive in both arenas, with one or more fellows involved in outpatient pulmonary clinical investigation as well as the critical care clinical investigations. Fellowship involvement in clinical investigation is supported by a National Institute of Health NHLBI funded Research Training in Respiratory Biology training grant.

A large number of faculty are devoted to these efforts. Drs. Mary Strek and Edward Naureckas form the nucleus of our outpatient clinical investigation team, while Drs. Jesse Hall, and John Kress run critical care clinical investigation. Each team is organized by full time study coordinators, who serve to facilitate protocol submission for IRB evaluation, data management of ongoing trials, study contract and budget organization, organization of responsibilities of research associates and ancillary study staff, and coordination of follow up for patients involved in ongoing clinical trials.

The outpatient clinical investigation team has performed a large variety of studies that have led to a number of new and exciting pharmaceuticals reaching approval and general public usage. The pulmonary section conducts trials on a constant basis that offer a variety of opportunities to try novel medications such as VCAM inhibitors, cytokines, and monoclonal antibodies. Other investigations have described new roles for inhaled corticosteroids, beta agonists and other immunomodulatory drugs. Participation in trials is attractive to patients and has substantially grown the outpatient clinical experience, and has also provided a window of opportunity for substantial patient education. By disease category, our primary focuses are in asthma, emphysema/chronic bronchitis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. We anticipate the opening of a sarcoidosis center focusing on both patient care and clinical investigation related to this disorder. With multiple studies operating at all times, any patient with an interest in participating will find a trial appropriate to their lung condition actively recruiting or being implemented in the near future. Patients with interests in such state-of-the-art medicine are encouraged to contact our study programs.

Clinical research in critical care is also very active and we have performed numerous successful trials involving intensive care unit patients. In the past 15 years, more than 3800 patients have been enrolled in more than 80 individual protocols. These studies have yielded more than 60 publications.

Active areas of investigation of critical illness include sedation of mechanically ventilated patients, severe asthma, sickle cell anemia, morbid obesity and respiratory failure, mechanical ventilation of critically ill patients with severe airflow obstruction, outcomes of critically ill patients with cancer and advanced liver disease, and informed consent in the ICU patient. Our current areas of research are focused on sedation of mechanically ventilated patients; evaluation of patients with acute lung injury, ARDS and other forms of pulmonary edema; evaluation of medical education in the intensive care unit; monitoring in the intensive care unit; outcomes prediction in critically ill geriatric patients; and sleep in critically ill patients. Clinical research in critical care enjoys a wide variety of grant support, including NIH K23 for ongoing sedation studies and the ACCP-CHEST Foundation of the American College of Chest Physicians Geriatric Development Research Award for the study of long-term functional outcomes in critically ill geriatric patients. The University of Chicago is also a member of the ARDS network involved in the Fluids and Catheters Treatment (FACTT) trial.

The Section of Pulmonary /Critical Care clinical research faculty are listed below and a description of their research interests may be found here.

  • Jesse Hall, M.D.
  • John P. Kress, M.D.
  • Edward Naureckas, M.D.
  • John McConville, M.D.
  • Babak Mokhlesi, M.D.
  • Septimiu Murgu, M.D.
  • Mary Strek, M.D.