Centers of Excellence

The Lung Center

The Lung Center - Research

The Lung Research Center—part of the Brigham Research Institute—represents the research arm of BWH’s Lung Center, a medical and surgical collaboration between the Division of Thoracic Surgery and the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Individually, these two specialties have been conducting life-changing lung research for years. United with the Channing Division of Network Medicine in the Lung Research Center, they offer patients with lung disease an interactive and collaborative biomedical powerhouse.

Our Harvard Medical School-affiliated physician scientists, led by Raphael Bueno, MD, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, Bruce Levy, MD, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Edwin Silverman, MD, Chief of the Channing Division of Network Medicine, unearth discoveries that impact the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a host of diseases and conditions related to the lungs.

Recent studies have focused on lung injury and inflammation, lung cancer genetics, gender-specific cancer treatments, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, rare diseases such as lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and interstitial lung disease and much more. Collaboration among physicians and investigators is enhanced by detailed patient intake form that, when linked with an electronic medical record, simplifies flow between clinical practices while enabling biomedical research. Our lung research efforts heighten scientific understanding within the international medical community and directly translate to breakthrough care that benefits respiratory patients worldwide.

Lung Research Highlights

  • One of the nation’s top National Institutes of Health-funded institutions for lung research.
  • Cancer research funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute and public and private support.
  • Collaborative research center integrating expertise from the divisions of Thoracic Surgery and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and the Channing Division of Network Medicine.
  • Research presented at national and international medical society meetings as well as the American College of Surgeons.
  • Developed more than 30 study populations for respiratory research with over 100,000 subjects.
  • Genetic studies range from genome-wide association analyses to large-scale DNA sequencing.
  • The International Mesothelioma Program conducted a genomic analysis of 200 tumors which revealed 2,500 genetic alterations and identified 10 mutated genes.
  • The Patient Empowered Strategy to Reduce Asthma Morbidity in Highly Impacted Populations (PESRAMHIP) is controlling and reducing asthma symptoms in at-risk African-American and Hispanic populations.

Recent and Current Lung Research

Recent and current lung research studies in the Lung Research Center focus on:


Chronic Bronchitis

  • The Tesfaigzi Laboratory focuses on developing new treatments for chronic bronchitis based on the mechanisms that sustain inflammation and chronic mucus hypersecretion in airways.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • The Boston Early-Onset COPD Study examines environmental and genetic risk factors for the development of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • The ECLIPSE study is a large population investigation examining COPD epidemiology and genetics.
  • The COPDGene® Study is one of the largest studies in history to investigate the genetic factors of COPD.


Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)

  • The Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Clinic advances the understanding of ILD pathogenesis and identifies novel treatments. The David E. Herlihy patient research registry contains key clinical data from patients with ILD and pulmonary fibrosis.

Lung Cancer

  • Lung cancer research translates directly to patient care with novel intra-operative imaging and surgical approaches, targeted treatments and protocols that improve quality of life.
  • The Women’s Lung Cancer Program is making gender-specific lung cancer discoveries and bringing new therapies to women with lung cancer.
  • In 2016, the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology released: Lung Cancer: A Women’s Health Imperative.
  • Learn more about cancer research conducted by Raphael Bueno, MD.

Lung Inflammation and Injury

  • The Levy Laboratory, conducted by Bruce Levy, MD, focuses on endogenous counter-regulatory mechanisms for resolution of lung inflammation and injury.

Lung Regeneration

  • The Mentzer Lab, led by Steven Mentzer, MD investigates the adaptive processes involved in blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) and lung regeneration.

Lung Transplantation

  • Pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons work with consultants from other disciplines to advance lung transplant research dedicated to improving outcomes after lung transplantation.

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)


Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary Genetics

  • The Pulmonary Genetics Center is capable of identifying 57 genes that are implicated in at least 12 different lung syndromes encompassing cystic, fibrotic and bronchiectatic (dilated airways) diseases.

Pulmonary Vascular Disease

  • Fellowships and research programs allow advanced study in endothelial and smooth muscle cell biology, molecular and inflammatory pathways involved in pulmonary vascular remodeling, thromboembolic disease, experimental models of pulmonary vascular disease, clinical investigation of pulmonary vascular disease, and genetic and population studies of pulmonary vascular diseases.

Bringing Lung Research to the Medical Community

The annual Lung Center Research Symposium and Poster Session at the Brigham Research Institute (BRI) highlights research activities at BWH and encourages cross-collaborative efforts among clinicians and researchers.

The New England Lung Conference featuring BWH lung experts shares research findings and exciting innovations in respiratory care.

Clinical Trials

Select patients have the opportunity to participate in investigational clinical trials that study the safety and effectiveness of new treatment approaches for specific diseases. Cancer patients have direct access to the latest research-based treatments and clinical trials through our role in the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), a National Cancer Institute-funded consortium.

Visit our clinical trials page for a list of all lung-related clinical trials open to new participants at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and other Mass General Brigham institutions. Only patients who have provided consent participate in studies.


Read more about the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Division of Thoracic Surgery and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Read BHW Clinical & Research News for the latest updates on discoveries and staff in lung care and research.

Learn how you can support our lung research.

Access current and past issues of Pulmonary Advances newsletter.

View the Lung Center’s timeline of innovation and discovery.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

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