Endowed Chairs & Professorships
Rebecca Runyon Bryan Chair in Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common, lethal inherited disease in Caucasians, affecting 1 in 2500 births. While once considered only a disease of childhood, survival of CF patients has improved dramatically over the past two decades, and now nearly half of all CF patients are adults. Ms. Rebecca Runyon Bryan, an adult with cystic fibrosis, recognized the need to support the Adult CF Program at National Jewish Health. This Chair is dedicated to providing resources necessary for growth in both clinical care and research programs to treat CF in adults.
Jerry A. Nick, MD, arrived at National Jewish in 1993 as a Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellow at the University of Colorado. In 1994 he joined the laboratory of Dr. G. Scott Worthen to study mechanism of lung inflammation and infection. In 1997, Dr. Nick joined the faculty at National Jewish, and became Associate Director of the Adult CF Program. In 2003, Dr. Nick became an Associate Professor at National Jewish Health and at the University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Nick is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, and in Critical Care Medicine. In 2005, Dr. Nick became the Director of the Adult CF Program.
Dr. Nick's primary clinical interest is the adult diagnosis of CF. In particular, he is interested in characterizing response to treatment, and the prognosis of individuals with "nonclassic" forms of CF. The goal of this work is to better define treatment strategies for long-term survivors of CF, with the anticipation that survival of CF patients will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. In addition, Dr. Nick is leading studies to identify more sensitive methods of measuring the response of CF patients to therapies. The Adult CF Program at National Jewish Health is also a site for a number of ongoing CF Foundation sponsored multicenter research trials, testing a range of new treatments of CF.
Dr. Nick's primary focus of laboratory research is the intracellular signaling pathways that allow human neutrophils to coordinate response to pro-inflammatory stimuli. He identified the p38 MAP kinase pathway as a central mechanism regulating the capacity neutrophils to respond to lung infections. In particular, he is interested in the coordinated use of functional and genomics analysis to study the response of the neutrophil to P. aeruginosa in the context of CF, and the influence of viral infection on the clinical outcome of the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). As a secondary research interest, he is interested in identifying mechanisms by which the presence of neutrophils modifies the virulence of P. aeruginosa through the formation of biofilms, and novel therapeutic approaches based on the interactions between neutrophils and P. aeruginosa. This work led to the finding that neutrophil products accelerate the formation of P. aeruginosa biofilm development, suggesting the potential for anti-inflammatory therapies as an adjuvant strategy to improve the capacity of antibiotic in treat infections in the CF airway.
Dr. Nick attended college at Washington State University and graduated in 1985 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. That year he entered the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and graduated in 1989. Following the completion of a Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Washington, Dr. Nick served as an Acting Instructor in Division of Allergy & Infectious Disease at the University of Washington. In 1993, he entered the Fellowship Program in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.
Jerry Nick, MD