Pulmonary Disease Program

Principal Investigator

Theodore Standiford, M.D.

Professor, Internal Medicine, UMMS
Bei He, MD
Principal Investigator PUHSC

Bei He, M.D.

Professor and Director, Department of Respiratory
Peking University Third Hospital

Pulmonary Disease Program

According to joint research published by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is projected to rank fifth in global burden of disease by the year 2020. Despite significant progress in the study and treatment of COPD — as well as public health initiatives to reduce tobacco consumption — COPD, and its related complications, continue to pose serious and significant health threats to people worldwide, involving both industrialized and developing nations.

The Joint Institute's work focuses on building a new area of research investigating the role that the respiratory microbiome plays in the development and clinical course of lung disease, specifically COPD. Once discounted as unimportant, new scientific evidence suggests that the composition of the microbiome, both respiratory and gastrointestinal, has profound effects on multiple aspects of human health including immune and inflammatory responses. 

The research partnership between UMHS and PUHSC offers a unique opportunity to study the respiratory microbiome in large and genetically diverse patient populations. Aided by recent technological advances in microbial genomic sequencing, the Joint Institute's Pulmonary Disease Program is initiating several studies over the next year in this new and exciting field.