Researcher receives NIH award to study pneumonia biology


(Boston) — Joseph P. Mizgerd, ScD, professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Mizgerd will use this seven-year, $5.9 million grant to study the biology of pneumonia.

With the grant Mizgerd and his research team plan to further advance the understanding of lung defense against pneumonia, generate new approaches to preventing and curing pneumonia and further the concept that pneumonia is a chronic disease of aging.

According to Mizgerd, pneumonia kills more children worldwide and hospitalizes more children in the United States than any other disease. The risk of death from pneumonia increases throughout adulthood, affecting older adults more than children. Pneumonia also accelerates unhealthy aging, including a rapid decline of chronic pulmonary diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

"We need to understand the lung defenses that normally prevent pneumonia in young, healthy adults before we can identify, prevent, or reverse what goes wrong to make individuals susceptible to pneumonia," Mizgerd said.

This is the first year that the NHLBI has provided Outstanding Investigator Awards, designed to support the research program of an investigator rather than one single research project. "It means a lot to me that the NHLBI provided such an award to a pneumonia researcher," Mizgerd said. "It demonstrates recognition of the terrible lung disease that pneumonia is, and a commitment to fighting respiratory infection by focusing on the lung rather than just the microbe."


About the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) provides global leadership for a research, training, and education program to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases and enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives.

About Boston University School of Medicine

Originally established in 1848 as the New England Female Medical College, and incorporated into Boston University in 1873, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) today is a leading academic medical center with an enrollment of more than 700 medical students and 950 students pursuing degrees in graduate medical sciences. BUSM faculty contribute to more than 668 active grants and contracts, with total anticipated awards valued at more than $693 million in amyloidosis, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases, pulmonary disease and dermatology, among other areas. The School's clinical affiliates include its primary teaching hospital Boston Medical Center, the Boston VA Healthcare System, Kaiser Permanente in northern California, as well as Boston HealthNet, a network of 15 community health centers. For more information, please visit

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