University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

Vermont Lung Center ~ 2015 Annual Report

Charles Irvin, Ph.D., Director

The Vermont Lung Center (VLC) at the University of Vermont College of Medicine was established in 1975. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the VLC first focused on understanding the fibrotic scarring processes in the lung that leads to restrictive lung disorders and death. Fibrotic lung process is still a current theme of research interest of the center.

Today the center has a number of foci of research that include epithelial biology, immunology/ immunity, cell signaling, regenerative medicine, microbial pathogenesis, lung cancer, medical communications, obesity and lung mechanics for which VLC researchers have developed a robust national and international reputation.

This past year has seen the VLC host two international meetings, “Stem Cell Conference” hosted by Dan Weiss M.D., Ph.D. and “Obesity and Metabolism: An Emerging Frontier in Lung Health and Disease” hosted by Anne Dixon, M.D. bringing national and international investigators to Vermont.

Multiple members of the VLC serve on NIH review panels, with Charles Irvin, Ph.D., Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D. and Albert van der Vliet, Ph.D. chairing study sections this year. Dr. Polly Parsons finished her term on the Advisory Council for NHLBI at NIH. VLC members published 93 peer-reviewed papers during 2015 in high impact journals.

The center’s current NIH T32 training grant, that supports four predoctoral and three postdoctoral fellows, was recently renewed with a perfect score. Training grants are given to programs that provide outstanding training in developing a research career in pulmonary sciences and lung disease. Faculty continue to enjoy robust extramural research support from NIH and the private sector. The center’s third and final funding cycle as a NIH NIGMS Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) was successfully completed in 2015. The center is now sustained by a robust portfolio of extramural support with 30 externally sponsored grants and nine internal grants plus philanthropy that established a visiting professor lecture seminar series. Eleven of the external grants are sponsored by foundations and 19 are sponsored by NIH or DOD. The grants from the NIH include: eight R01s and two R21s as well as a U13, R13, T32, F31, F32, and K99/R00. Lastly, we have a robust clinical research program with 56 open protocols that involves patients with asthma, COPD, acute lung injury, cystic fibrosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer in cutting edge clinical trials to better understand lung disease pathogenesis and develop better treatments.

Last modified January 29 2016 11:18 AM