In addition to our regular CRI Activities Update, this month’s Research Focus highlights the research and work of James S. Hagood, MD, Director of the newly developing Program for Rare and Interstitial Lung Disease and Professor of Pediatrics.

Activities Update:

We are thrilled to announce our seminar schedule for Spring 2019. You can browse upcoming and past speakers for the seminar by clicking here. James S. Hagood, MD will be kicking off our Spring Series on Tuesday, January 8 (details provided in the link above and within this update).

This past December, the CRI held a strategic meeting with junior and senior faculty from across the Department of Pediatrics as well as representatives from NCTraCS. After reviewing the background, mission and current activities of the CRI, attendees broke into small focus groups to brainstorm and set priorities for the future. The CRI administrative team appreciates the feedback of all who attended and thanks you for your time. We are in the process of generating an executive summary, with a survey, that will be distributed to our attendees as well as CRI researchers.

This fall we were accepted by the Institute for Advanced Clinical Trials For Children (I-ACT) to join their network.  Initiated from a FDA grant, I-ACT is an independent non-profit organization to improve clinical trials of new drugs and devices for children. I-ACT works as a facilitator among leading children’s institutions and health systems to address key gaps and challenges in pediatric clinical trials, which aligns well with the CRI pediatric clinical trial initiative.

To start building our community presence, the CRI will be participating in the UNC Science Expo on Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 11am-4 pm. We are currently collaborating with the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology, and the Center of Environmental Health and Susceptibility to have an area at the Science Expo focused on child health. We are in the planning process and welcome everyone’s ideas and involvement.

Reminder: James S. Hagood, MD, will be presenting “MAPping the Future for Respiratory Research” at our next CRI luncheon seminar series. This event will be held on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, from 12:15-1:30pm in the Bioinformatics Auditorium (room 1131). Please mark your calendars. We look forward to seeing you there.

Research Focus of the Month:

James S. Hagood, MD

James S. Hagood, MD, came to UNC in September 2018 by way of Rady Children’s at the University of California San Diego. At UNC, he is developing and serving as the Director of the Program for Rare and Interstitial Lung Disease. Dr. Hagood is a part of both the Children’s Research Institute and Marsico Lung Institute.

Dr. Hagood is an expert in childhood pulmonary disorders but is particularly interested in Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease (chILD), a diverse group of rare, complex lung diseases with diffuse dysfunction of the gas exchange regions of the lung, often leading to permanent scarring and fibrosis within the respiratory tract. Dr. Hagood studies the body’s response to lung injury at the cellular level and how epigenetic factors influence cell phenotypes and lung remodeling. By understanding how the lung responds to injury, particularly as it continues to grow and develop during childhood, Dr. Hagood is working to uncover new ways to prevent and treat lung disease, including how to reverse fibrosis, a process thought to be irreversible.

In his “Lung Repair Lab,” Dr. Hagood uses an integrated approach, incorporating cellular and molecular studies, in vitro models of cultured lung cells, a number of mouse models, and computational analysis to focus on how alveoli of the lung develop and how they are repaired following injury. He is also studying the molecular regulation of fibroblast phenotypes and the role of Thy-1, a modulator of cellular phenotypes.

Recently, Dr. Hagood has joined two collaborative efforts funded by the National Institutes of Health to create and comprehensive cellular and molecular map of the lung as it develops and matures:

  • The LungMAP, funded by the NHLBI, is a consortium of research institutes across America that seeks to “map” the normal cells and structure of the human and mouse lung during the phases of alveolar development and maturation.
  • The HuBMAP (Human BioMolecular Atlas Program), funded by the NIH Common Fund, is working to facilitate research on single cells from within human tissues by supporting data generation and development of technology that can map the human body at a cellular level and further explore the relationship between cellular organization and function.

Links to more information: