Medical College of Wisconsin Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Research

Jacobs labAs part of the Department of Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Pulmonary & Critical Care Division is happy to be able to offer opportunities to our patients to participate in a variety of clinical trials. Our faculty and research coordinators are engaged in a variety of clinical research and physician initiated trials conducted in collaboration with research networks and industry sponsored-trials.

Ongoing clinical and translational research studies in the Division focus on improving outcomes and quality of life in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), developing new approaches to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), improving outcomes in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), identifying safety and efficacy of medications in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), improving outcomes in critically ill patients with direct acute lung injury (ALI), and identifying ways to aid our population with alcohol induced liver decompensation (AILD) in the greater Milwaukee area.

Current pharmaceutical trials include the areas of CF, PAH, IPF, COPD and AILD. The CF clinical trials are aimed at improving airway hydration and breathing, reducing infections and inflammation, increasing weight thereby increasing quality of life and perhaps survival time. Our PAH program conducts trials that extend survival rates, while IPF and COPD trials explore the potential of a medication’s likelihood of becoming standard of care with the same aim. Our AILD trial is exploring options of cell-based therapy. Our physician-initiated studies include areas of sleep disorders, sepsis, enteral feeding in critically ill patients, IPF, liver failure, and those mechanical ventilation just to name a few.

In addition to our clinical trials; Dr. Jacobs leads translational research in the division with a focus on pulmonary vascular injury secondary to ischemia reperfusion, LPS, radiation, hyperoxia and others. She is joined in her investigations by mathematicians, bioengineers, computational modelers, and imagers who bring novel techniques to their investigations.

Pulmonary department equipmentDr. Jacobs, as well as the collaborators mentioned above perform much of their imaging research utilizing state of the art imaging equipment in The Keck Functional Imaging Laboratory (KFIL). The KFIL is a facility involving collaborators from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. The two primary components of the lab are the unique open-design micro-CT and micro-SPECT systems for studying small animals, excised organs and tissue specimens. The x-ray source is ~3 microns which also enables high-resolution dynamic (30 frames/sec) planar imaging. Principal investigators in the laboratory use the systems primarily for the study of pulmonary physiology but it is adaptable for imaging many different biological phenomena. The facility is located at the VA Medical Center and was built and maintained with support from the W. M. Keck Foundation.

The past several years have brought many new opportunities for research to our department, and we are excited in looking into the future with the many opportunities that are on the horizon. Our faculty and research staff complements our department’s goals of identifying ways and/or means of improving outcomes and quality of life for patients with these conditions. Our research leverages strengths which derive from our clinical and educational missions.