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Kenichi Okuda, MD, PhD, has been awarded a $2.83M, five year, grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for his project, “Mucociliary innate defense mechanism in the human distal airway.”

“Airway mucociliary clearance is a regionally coordinated critical innate defense system for maintenance of lung health, with failure of this system being a common feature of muco-obstructive lung diseases,” Dr. Okuda said. “Our overarching goal is to gain mechanistic insights into region-specific mucociliary innate defense mechanisms with a focus on small airways that are characterized as the earliest, most affected region in muco-obstructive lung diseases. Achievement of our goal should provide a new paradigm in our understanding of mucociliary clearance system in the lung and how to approach novel therapies for muco-obstructive lung diseases.”

Dr. Okuda is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Previously, he developed microdissection techniques for small airway tissue isolation and in vitro small airway epithelial cell cultures to understand small airway-specific epithelial cell biology and physiology. These methods have been widely utilized in multiple collaborative projects nationwide, including the NIH-funded Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP).

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HL163602. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.