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Pulmonology - Research


The Pulmonology faculty participate in basic and clinical research, examining the causes and treatments of a wide range of pediatric pulmonary disorders. As a national referral center, the Section of Pulmonology is dedicated to providing professional education at all levels and is committed to advancing knowledge through our comprehensive research programs. More than 35 clinical research studies in pediatric pulmonary disorders are ongoing at any given time.


Dr. Steven Abman is Director of the Pediatric Heart Lung Center (PHLC), and coordinates several clinical and laboratory based research projects on mechanisms that contribute to the development of BPD and pulmonary hypertension in newborns and older children. He is also the founder and Director of the Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Network, which is a multicenter program to develop novel insights into the natural history and treatment of childhood pulmonary hypertension involving centers throughout North America.

Dr. Frank Accurso is internationally known for his work with newborn screening and the description of early lung disease in infants with cystic fibrosis. Following the selection of UCSOM as one of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Therapeutics Development Centers, he has been increasingly active in the development and study of new therapies and techniques for outcomes research. Dr. Accurso's research is supported by the NIH and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Dr. Christopher Baker studies endothelial progenitor cells and their role in normal pulmonary vascular development and lung disease. He is currently analyzing these cells in umbilical cord blood samples obtained from term and premature infants at birth. Dr. Baker is hopeful that further research in this area will lead to novel therapies for bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung disease associated with prematurity. Clinically, Dr. Baker is interested in the care of preterm infants with lung disease and associated cardiopulmonary disorders such as pulmonary hypertension. Dr. Baker's research is supported by the NIH and the American Thoracic Society.

Dr. Susan Brugman is based at National Jewish Health. She is a leading expert in the care of children with vocal cord dysfunction and asthma. Dr. Brugman is also certified in pediatric and adult hypnotherapy for the treatment of respiratory disorders.

Dr. Robin Deterding is internationally recognized for her research in children with interstitial and diffuse lung disease (chILD), clinical studies in cystic fibrosis, and medical education. Her current clinical research focus includes interstitial lung disease, complex lung disease, and pulmonary complications of bone marrow transplant and connective tissue disease in children. She is a founding member of the Children's Interstitial and Diffuse Lung Disease (chILD) Foundation.

Dr. Leland Fan has had a long-standing research and clinical interest in the study of rare lung disease in children. He collaborates with Robin Deterding and Megan Dishop in this field. Together, they participate in the Children’s Interstitial Lung Disease Research Network. Currently Dr. Fan studies biomarkers, particularly KL-6, a Muc-1 protein produced by activated type II alveolar epithelial cells, in assessing disease severity and outcome. He and his collaborators have shown that serum KL-6 is elevated in a broad array of pediatric interstitial lung diseases. In addition, he is interested in the genetic basis of rare pediatric lung diseases. He is currently studying 3 families who had 2 siblings each with rapidly progressive and fatal diffuse lung disease. In collaboration with others, he has found that several affected infants had unknown defects in DNA repair unrelated to the ATM gene.

Dr. Monica Federico heads the outpatient asthma program to complement the inpatient asthma pathway at Children's Hospital Colorado and is involved with several clinical studies involving outcomes research in asthma. Dr. Federico is also involved in the care of Spanish-speaking children with pulmonary disease, including asthma and cystic fibrosis.

Dr. Norman Friedman’s research interests include evaluating the peri-operative morbidity of sleep-disordered breathing in children as well as whether a parent’s personality profile can predict a child’s continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) compliance.

Dr. Ann Halbower is nationally recognized for her research and clinical work in pediatric sleep disorders. Her current study, funded by the NIH, investigates the impact of childhood sleep-disordered breathing on learning, memory, and neuronal brain injury. She works with a Colorado-based initiative to increase public awareness on the risks of sudden unexpected death in infants, and with obesity prevention teams at Children's Hospital Colorado and CU SOM to determine the risk of the combined problems of obesity and sleep apnea and the effects of treatment. Dr. Halbower is the Chair of the Health Policy Committee for the American Thoracic Society, which strives to change legislation to improve sleep and respiratory disorders. Dr. Halbower is a member of the Board of Pediatrics Sub-board in pediatric Pulmonology, and she is liaison to the American Academy of Pediatrics subcommittee on the guidelines for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea management.

Dr. J. Kirk Harris is investigating the role of the microbiome in adult and pediatric pulmonary disease. The main goal is to develop microbial biomarkers that predict clinical outcomes to improve clinical management of chronic pulmonary disease. His work is funded through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the NIH.

Dr. Gwendolyn Kerby has developed the infant pulmonary function testing laboratory and is active in several clinical studies involving infants and young children with cystic fibrosis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and pulmonary hypertension. Dr. Kerby's research has been supported through the NIH, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the State of Colorado.

Dr. Scott Sagel is nationally recognized for his clinical research involving children with cystic fibrosis and primary ciliary dyskinesia. He is funded by the NIH and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to study biomarkers of airway inflammation and injury in children with these conditions. He chairs the Biomarkers Consortium for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Therapeutics Development Network.

Dr. Jeffrey Wagener is the Pulmonology Fellowship Director. His research activities primarily involve the epidemiology of cystic fibrosis. He has published numerous studies identifying associations between treatments and outcomes in cystic fibrosis. Additionally, he is interested in quality improvement as a research tool to change outcomes for patients with cystic fibrosis.

Dr. Carl White who is based at National Jewish Health, is an international leader in the study of oxidant-mediated lung injury in humans. Having developed several animal and cell culture models for lung injury, he has extended his studies from "the bench to the bedside" by examining how cells are injured by oxidants and the therapeutic benefit of antioxidants and other protective interventions. Members of the collaborative group of Dr. White focus on various airway disorders including cystic fibrosis, injury due to airway progenitor cells, and lung development.

Dr. Edith Zemanick’s research interest is airway infection in children with cystic fibrosis. She is currently funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to study molecular detection of polymicrobial infection in cystic fibrosis. She has several ongoing clinical research projects supported by the Colorado Clinical Translational Sciences Institute.