Endowed Chairs & Professorships

Drs. Harold and Mary Zirin Chair in Pulmonary BiologyBlack and white photograph of Greg Downey, MD.

Investigating lung disease

The continued study of the cells of the lungs and airways will helpcontribute to our understanding of asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, andother severe lung diseases.

The cure for these diseases depends on our understanding of theirbiological nature. By endowing a chair in pulmonary biology, Drs.Harold and Mary Zirin help ensure the discovery of more effectivetreatments and cures fro respiratory ailments that affect millionsaround the world.

Physician-scientist Greg Downey, MD, was hired in the Fall of 2006to be the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at NationalJewish Health and holds the Drs. Harold and Mary Zirin Chair inPulmonary Biology.  Previously, he served as an endowed Professor ofMedicine, Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine and Chief ofRespirology at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Downey oversees academicand research programs at National Jewish Health, integrating theclinical and research efforts of the Departments of Medicine,Pediatrics and Immunology. 

In addition to his positions at the University of Toronto, Dr.Downey has served since 2001 as the Canada Research Chair inRespiration for the Canada Institutes of Health Research.  Dr. Downey’sresearch and clinical interests include pulmonary cell biology andacute lung injury.  He has published more than 200 peer-reviewedscientific articles, editorials and book chapters.

Dr. Downey received his medical degree from the University ofManitoba in 1980, did his internship and residency in internal medicineat Beth Israel and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard MedicalSchool, and completed his clinical fellowship in pulmonary medicine atthe University of Colorado Denver and National Jewish Health in 1986. He then completed a research fellowship in pulmonary cell biology in1988 at National Jewish Health, while simultaneously serving as a staffphysician and Medical Director for the Adult Special Care Unit atNational Jewish Health. 

Dr. Downey has received numerous honors throughout this career,beginning with a 1989 Career Scientist Award from the Ontario Ministryof Health.  In 1997 he was elected to the American Society of ClinicalInvestigation, and in 1999 he received a Department of MedicineResearch Award from the University of Toronto.  More recently, he wasnamed a Scholar with the McLaughlin Centre for Molecular Medicine atthe University of Toronto in 2004 and received the Canadian CysticFibrosis Foundation Zeller’s Senior Scientist award for outstandingcontributions to Cystic Fibrosis Research.  He has served as theAssociate Editor of the American Journal of Respiratory Cell andMolecular Biology since 2002. 

Greg Downey, MD