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PNNL gets $10 million from NIH to build virtual lung

Grant is lab's second major NIH award in past year

August 30, 2004 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will lead a $10 million, five-year multi-institutional National Institutes of Health study to devise 3-D imaging and computational models of unsurpassed detail of respiratory systems in humans and other mammals, PNNL announced today.

The grant will enable the Department of Energy lab and its partners to devise imaging and simulation techniques that promise a better understanding of the fate of airborne contaminants in the respiratory system, to help improve treatments for asthma and other respiratory ailments. The research will culminate in a "pulmonary physiome," a web-based model for researchers and clinicians.

"This partnership will build the foundation for studying environment-disease interactions," said Richard Corley, PNNL staff scientist and program director. Specifically, the project aims to "provide researchers and clinicians with uniquely predictive tools to understand the impact of airborne environmental agents and inhaled drugs on human health and to answer important questions on how respiratory structure relates to function. This will greatly assist in the evaluation, diagnosis and development of treatments."

PNNL established its leadership in the field in 2001 when it rolled out the model of working rat lungs it called "the virtual respiratory tract." At the time, it offered the clearest picture yet of how pollutants enter the respiratory system, how they move and where they accumulate. (news link.)

The other institutions participating in the new study are the University of Washington, University of California at Davis, the University of Iowa, Oregon State University, University of Utah, CIIT Centers for Health Research of Research Triangle Park, N.C., Mountain-Whisper-Light Statistical Consulting of Seattle and Computational Geometry Consulting of Los Alamos, N.M.

The new NIH grant, made through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, is PNNL's second this past year in the $10 million range. Last October, the lab was awarded more than $10 million to establish a national resource center for proteomics research. (news link.)

Tags: Energy, Fundamental Science, Proteomics

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of more than $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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