Today is Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2018

Department of Internal Medicine

Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

Research Activity

The UC Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine has active and collaborative research programs that include funding from the National Institutes of Health, American Lung Association, Office of Veterans Affairs, Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and industry partners.     

Laboratory of Frank McCormack

Areas of focus include:

Novel Methods of Inhibiting Pandemic Influenza and Viral Pneumonia: Our research focuses on host-pathogen interaction between Influenza-A, and the airway epithelium in vivo.  We are examining the role of the epithelial cell mitogen KGF and other growth factors on Influenza susceptibility and viral production in the lung.  Additionally, we are studying the role of pulmonary collectins in the innate defense against viral infection and determining the potential utility of using mutated surfactant proteins as an anti-influenza therapeutic.  

Sirolimus safety in patients awaiting transplant: Sirolimus (Rapamycin) is an effective therapy for lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), but is linked to delayed wound healing properties. Thus, Sirolimus is contraindicated in LAM lung transplant candidates. We are testing the hypothesis that LAM patients can remain on this therapy until they are called up for their lung transplant without an increased risk of developing wound healing complications.

Innovative biomarker panels to predict prognosis and therapeutic response in rare lung diseases:  VEGF-D is a lymphangiogenic growth factor that has a key role in tumor metastasis.  We recently discovered that VEGF-D levels in the blood can predict severity of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a rare lung disease.  VEGF-D levels can also predict responses to treatment in LAM patients.   We are expanding our search for biomarkers to differentiate between different rare lung diseases and to create a panel of makers that can diagnose different rare lung diseases and inform the risk-benefit analysis of therapies.

Innovative treatments for pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis:  Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis (PAM) is a rare pulmonary disease associated with accumulation of calcium phosphate crystals in the lung, leading to progressive pulmonary fibrosis, respiratory failure and death. Although almost 600 PAM cases have been reported, mostly in Japan, Turkey, and Europe, there is currently no treatment. PAM is caused by autosomal recessive mutations in the gene for the sole pulmonary solute transporter responsible for export of phosphate from the pulmonary alveolar lumen, SLC34A2. We have created a mouse model that recapitulates the human disease. We are examining the role of phosphate transporters in the lung with this mouse model and preclinical development of potential therapeutic approaches are currently underway.

Preclinical models of monogenic pulmonary diseases, including pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis (PAM), LAM, pulmonary Langerhan’s cell histiocytosis, and pulmonary capillary hemangiomatosis, are employed to search for insights that have the potential to impact human health in a relatively short time frame. 

Lab Members

Lab Projects

Nik Nikolaidis

Role of alveolar epithelium host defense and lung fibrosis

Huixing Wu

Direct antimicrobial properties of the collectins; biomarkers of disease in lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)

Yasuaki Uehara

Pre-clinical models of pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis

Lori Pitstick

Mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis

Laboratory of Michael Borchers 

My lab is focused on the effects of cigarette smoke exposure on innate and adaptive immune system function and specifically examines the mechanisms by which smoke exposed epithelium communicates with the immune system.  We have extensive experience with mouse models of smoke exposure and have published several manuscripts detailing epithelial cell changes and immune function.  We have specifically examined the effects of smoke exposure on the host response to influenza, RSV, and bacterial infections. As Director of the Inhalation Exposure Facility at the University of Cincinnati, my lab has conducted mouse exposures for investigators at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Cincinnati Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, Ohio State University, University of Colorado, National Jewish Hospital and University of Pennsylvania.

Lab Members

Lab Projects

Andrew Osterburg

Role of NK cells in LAM progression  

Jennifer Flury Pre-clinical models of emphysema 
Huan Liu Role of dendritic cell Pulmonary Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis 

Laboratory of Dennis McGraw


Lab Members

Lab Projects

Madison Nashu

Contribution of the G protein coupled receptors to
airway tone and lung homeostasis


Laboratory of Jason Gardner


Crossroads of innate and adaptive immune responses to trauma:  Pneumonia is one of the most common life threatening complication of patients in the intensive care unit. The outcome of pulmonary infection is determined by a delicate balance between appropriate inflammatory responses orchestrating effective clearance of microbes from the lung and excessive inflammatory responses that compromise gas exchange and result in respiratory failure. The research goal is to define the mechanisms which regulate the balance between effective and deleterious inflammatory responses, and ultimately to develop interventional strategies that improve patient outcomes.

Lab Members

Lab Projects

Greg Noel 

Flow cytometry applications for cellular analysis


Laboratory of Jane Yu


Lab Members

Lab Projects

Kohei Masuda

mTOR and estrogen pathways in lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)

Laboratory of Bruce C. Trapnell



Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis; cystic fibrosis; alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency; other rare lung disorders


Alveolar macrophage function; molecular techniques using gene knockout, transgenic and conditional gene expression mouse models and non-human primates, in vitro and in vivo viral gene transfer, and bone marrow transplantation



Lab Members

Lab Projects

Takuji Suzuki

Role of GM-CSF in pulmonary innate immunity
and disease

Brenna Carey

Novel treatments for pulmonary alveolar proteinosis 

Clinical Research

The Division has over 30 active clinical research trials, both investigator-initiated and industry supported.  Clinical trial studies include pulmonary arterial hypertension, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM).  

Rare Lung Disease Consortium
The Rare Lung Disease Consortium is a NIH sponsored, Cincinnati-based network of institutions which perform cooperative trials in rare lung disease. Diseases that are currently under study by the RLDC include:

  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis
  • Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis
  • Hermansky Pudluk Syndrome 
  • Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis
  • Cystic lung diseases including Birt Hogg Dube and Pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis

Midwest Critical Care Consortium
The MCCC is a network of ICUs around the Midwest that conduct cooperative trials. New proposals are presented to the group, critiqued, selected by consensus and implemented.

The MCCC meets semiannually in Columbus and at the American Thoracic Society Meeting. Current trials include the WIRE study, which will test the predictive value of muscular weakness on readmission to the UCE, and an UCE staffing study, which will evaluate provider satisfaction and patient length of stay in two different UCE staffing models.

Current MCCC members include:

  • University of Cincinnati
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Michigan
  • Henry Ford Hospital
  • Medical College of Toledo
  • Case Western University
  • University of Chicago
  • Indiana University
  • University of Iowa

Cystic fibrosis
The Cincinnati CF Center is one of 18 Therapeutic Development Network sites for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Our cystic fibrosis physicians are investigators on multiple TDN and non-TDN studies.

McCormack Laboratory

More Information

Academic Office:
University of Cincinnati | Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
231 Albert Sabin Way, ML 0564
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0564
Phone: 513-558-4831
Fax: 513-558-4858

Division Director:
Frank McCormack, MD

Business Administrator:
John Meek

Clinical Research Manager:
Tammy Roads