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Lung disease researcher at National Jewish Health receives three-year grant

Dr. Rachel Zemans' work focuses on 40 million Americans with lung disease

Rachel Zemans, MD, a physician-researcher in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at National Jewish Health, was recently selected as one of 18 researchers nationwide to receive the Parker B. Francis Fellowship to support her research into the role of inflammation in lung diseases. 

Dr. Zemans's research explores the clinical implications of abnormal immune responses in the body leading to inflammatory damage in the lung, which is believed to contribute to the development of many lung diseases including emphysema, cystic fibrosis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).  In her research, she tracks the mechanism by which neutrophils, while containing and destroying pathogens, can turn against the body and swiftly start a chain reaction that causes myriad lung diseases.  Her goal is to find the pathways by which these wayward neutrophils injure the lung, and to block those pathways to prevent or diminish lung injury and disease.

Dr. Zemans's research has the potential to help more than 40 million people in the United States who suffer or die from lung diseases, and many more millions of people with respiratory diseases throughout the world.

National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to these disorders. For 12 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation. Scholarly publisher Thomson Scientific has ranked National Jewish among the 25 most influential research institutions in the world in its areas of focus.

In 1951, Parker B. Francis, founder of the Puritan-Bennett Company, established a foundation bearing his name in Kansas City, Mo. Since Puritan-Bennett was a leading manufacturer of respiratory equipment and medical gases, the primary emphasis of the Foundation was related to pulmonary research. Today, the Francis Family Foundation remains the sole benefactor of the Parker B. Francis Fellowship Program; in addition to supporting educational and cultural programs geographically located within the greater Kansas City area. Since 1976, the Foundation has contributed more than $50 million to the Fellowship Program in support of more than 750 Fellows.

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