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The Children's National Research Institute

Airway and Lung Diseases

The Center for Genetic Medicine Research's Airway Biology research group focuses on the "united airway" concept that epithelium and epithelial responses in the respiratory tract are similar and interrelated and that complex interactions between the epithelium and mesenchyme mediate lung development and inflammatory airway diseases. This year saw the publication of key findings advancing clinical care and major new grants ($3 million), including the renewal of the NHLBI-funded K12 (career development) Program in Omics of Pediatric Lung Diseases in DC and the recruitment of two K12 scholars, whose research focuses on the genomics of microorganisms in the lung. The 18 faculty members of the Airway Biology group, led by internationally recognized leaders (Robert J. Freishtat, M.D., M.P.H., and Diego Preciado, M.D., Ph.D.), who worked alongside investigators from the Center for Translational Research, the Sheikh Zayed Institute (SZI), private industry and other Genetic Medicine scientists. The team studies asthma, cystic fibrosis (CF), otitis media (OM), chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), lung complications of sepsis and neonatal and infant respiratory disorders.

The Cell Culture Core, a key asset in Children’s National Hospital fight to treat airway and lung diseases, assists the respiratory biology research community at-large. The core supports studies in respiratory epithelial biology and trains junior faculty, fellows and students. Notably, recently they have incorporated the use of conditionally reprogrammed cell (CRC) technology to enhance cell growth and lifespan of nasal and bronchial primary cells from infants and young children. This milestone has greatly advanced the core’s ability to perform translational studies for a myriad of respiratory disorders in all ages.