Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Research


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Research at Affiliated Hospitals

Hennepin Healthcare

Hennepin Healthcare

Hennepin Health Care serves as a safety-net hospital for Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Our clinical population is diverse providing a unique clinical environment for training fellows in pulmonary and critical care medicine. Research at HHC has focused primarily on clinical research in critical care medicine. Historically, this research has focused on invasive hemodynamic monitoring in shock states along with studies of respiratory mechanics in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or severe airflow obstruction. Most recently, studies examining the validity of limited bedside echocardiography and its use as a surrogate for invasive hemodynamic measurements have been conducted. Clinical research in neurologic outcomes and its predictors after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the era of therapeutic hypothermia is an active area interest as well.

Minneapolis VA Health Care Center

Minneapolis VA Health Care Center

The Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Section at the Minneapolis VA has a very active research program, with a long history of funding from agencies such as the VA, Department of Defense (DoD), and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Our major research areas include: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); Lung Cancer; and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the world, and our goal is to identify effective therapies for persons suffering from this disease. Our COPD research activities span the range from basic/translational science (Dr. Wendt, funded by NIH) to microbiome studies (Drs. Pragman and Wendt, funded by VA and FAMRI) to HIV-associated COPD (Drs. Kunisaki and Wendt, funded by NIH) to clinical trials in COPD (Drs. Kunisaki, Melzer, Wendt, Wetherbee, and Baldomero multiple funding sources including DoD).

Lung Cancer
The Minneapolis VA has a longstanding lung nodule program to ensure timely identification of early-stage lung cancer, and we have an active lung cancer screening program. Within these clinical services, we also conduct research on methods to optimize nodule tracking, lung cancer screening (Dr. Melzer and Angela Fabbrini, funded by VA and American Cancer Society), and smoking cessation (Dr. Melzer). We are also a study site in the VALOR randomized clinical trial comparing surgical lung resection to stereotactic radiation for early-stage lung cancer (Dr. Wetherbee, funded by VA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The Minneapolis VA performs over 1,200 sleep studies every year. Examples of our OSA research include methods to more efficiently diagnose and treat OSA (Dr. Kunisaki, funded by VA), studies of the impact of sleep disorders in HIV (Drs. Khalil and Kunisaki, funded by NIH), and collaborations with the VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program (Drs. Khalil and Kunisaki, funded by VA).

Other Research Areas
We also conduct research on post-deployment respiratory health in veterans (Dr. Wendt, funded by VA) and we have an active influenza research program (Drs. Kunisaki and Wendt, funded by NIH). We maintain active research collaborations with other organizations at the Minneapolis VA such as the Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research (CCDOR). We have an excellent team of research coordinators that facilitate our success in conducting high-quality research that advances the health of veterans and others with lung and sleep problems. We have many opportunities for trainees, including support through the University of Minnesota Pulmonary Division's NIH T32 Training GrantClinical and Translational Science Institute's KL2 Scholars Career Development Program, and VA Career Development Awards.

Research ethics at the University of Minnesota

We are committed to protecting research participants, upholding ethical standards, and improving our practice at every step of our work.

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