The Interstitial Lung Diseases (ILDs) are a group of chronic respiratory disorders characterized by persistent or progressive loss of functional alveoli in the lung and replacement with scar tissue. Dozens of different risk factors have been linked to a person’s risk for developing ILD. These include long-term exposure to occupational or environmental toxins (such as tobacco smoke, metal dust, silica dust, asbestosis, and others), viral and bacterial infections, as well as genetic factors, and autoimmune diseases.     

At Vanderbilt, we focus on understanding disease mechanisms that lead to ILD in order to improve ability to detect ILD at early stages and develop new treatment options for patients with ILD. For more than 20 years, we have been working to identify genes that confer susceptibility to pulmonary fibrosis, and more recently, we have been extended this work to investigate how environmental risk factors, together with inherited (genetic) risk factors lead patients to develop ILD. Our multidisciplinary research group integrates patient-centered clinical studies, state-of-the art genetic and genomic technologies, and innovative disease-modeling approaches in order to understand the cellular mechanisms that lead to ILD and identify novel approaches to intervene.

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