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Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Research

The Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine has a long history of excellence in airway biology research—both basic and translational—providing insight into the pathophysiology, genetics and treatment of numerous pulmonary diseases. Our physician-scientists have championed respiratory diseases for decades with groundbreaking studies that have been awarded millions in grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

Through our clinical and research efforts, patients have gained access to emerging treatment options for a variety of conditions, from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) to diseases affecting intensive care and post-lung transplant patients. Our unique bench-to-bedside approach allows us to fast-forward scientific discoveries – taking them directly from the research phase to our patients. We are simultaneously advancing our understanding of disease while ushering these new prevention recommendations, medications and treatments into clinical practice worldwide.

Specialized Research Areas

Our investigators are improving lung health with studies in the following areas:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Churg Strauss Syndrome (CSS)
  • Host defense/immunologic
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)
  • Lung development
  • Lung injury/sepsis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Pulmonary vascular disease (PVD)
  • Stem cell
  • BWH respiratory genomics center

Recent and Current Research in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Recent and current research studies in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine have focused 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 COPDGene™ Study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, studies inherited or genetic factors that make people more likely to develop 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.


Interstitial Lung Disease

  • The Interstitial Lung Disease (ILC) 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 Injury/Sepsis

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

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)

  • The Center for LAM Research and Clinical Care affiliated with the Henske Lab, run by Elizabeth Henske, MD is the nation’s leading interdisciplinary genetic and pulmonary research laboratory focused on tuberous sclerosis, lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD).

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.

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.

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.

Support Our Work

Learn how you can support our pulmonary and critical care research projects.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

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