Jeffrey D. Hasday, M.D., an expert on inflammation and the body's use of fever to regulate the immune system and fight infection, has been named head of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. In his new role, Dr. Hasday will oversee clinical care of critically ill patients and patients with respiratory diseases throughout the University of Maryland Medical Center.
"Dr. Hasday is a dedicated clinician, educator and researcher who will provide strong leadership for the pulmonary and critical care division," says William L. Henrich, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine. Dr. Hasday, who is a professor of medicine, has been a School of Medicine faculty member since 1986.
Under Dr. Hasday's leadership, the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine will be reorganized into three programs, each focusing on a different type of inflammatory lung disease. A top priority will be to expand the inflammation research program, which draws on the research expertise of more than 20 laboratories on the University of Maryland Baltimore campus.
Inflammation is the cause of most lung diseases and is a major contributor to death in critically ill patients. Understanding what regulates inflammation is a key step in developing more effective treatments for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders, such as emphysema.
"We will be evaluating new drugs and conducting research on the causes and treatment of chronic lung disease," says Dr. Hasday. For example, the program includes a lab dedicated to designing and testing aerosol devices to more effectively deliver medication to the lungs.
Asthma is the most common pulmonary condition in the United States. According to the American Lung Association, 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma in their lifetime and almost as many people will be diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Asthma is a disorder characterized by periodic attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.
Another new initiative, the interstitial lung disease program, will focus on diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis and asbestosis, which result in permanent damage and scarring to the air sacs in the lungs. Researchers at the University of Maryland are actively studying both the cause and treatment of these diseases, including improved protocols for lung transplantation.
Dr. Hasday is also working to develop an acute lung injury and sepsis program in conjunction with doctors at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to a bacterial infection that can originate anywhere in the body. Sepsis can cause high fever, severe lung injury and death. "I believe our research will lead to more effective treatments for sepsis," says Dr. Hasday.
Dr. Hasday directs a research laboratory that studies how fever can contribute to inflammation and affect one's ability to fight infections. "This research will help us do a better job of managing fever in severely ill patients, and may also show us how to harness body temperature as a way to treat infectious diseases," says Dr. Hasday.
Dr. Hasday is also the director of the pulmonary outpatient clinic at the Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center and is the immediate past president of the Maryland Thoracic Society. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Lung Association, and serves on the Research Committee of the American Heart Association Mid-Atlantic Affiliate.
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