Research at the Simmons Center

Simmons Center Team 

A major part of the Activity of the Simmons Center involves:

  • Basic Research
    The objective of basic research is to gain new knowledge. The research addresses central questions about the biological, behavioral, and social systems underlying wellness and disease. To solve problems, it sometimes becomes necessary to draw from unexpected sources. This kind of research provides the broad base of knowledge that can make breakthroughs possible.
  • Clinical Research
    Clinical research involves living humans or materials from them such as tissue samples. A researcher or clinician involved with the study directly interacts with patients. This kind of research is undertaken to find better ways of identifying and caring for people in poor health. Patient-oriented research focuses on several areas, including mechanisms of human disease, therapeutic interventions, clinical trials, and development of new technologies.

Simmons Center clinicians and researchers are committed to applying the most advanced approaches to identify new and effective therapeutic targets and better diagnostic markers of pulmonary fibrosis. Clinical trials testing investigational medications are an important option open to center patients.

The completion of the Human Genome Project, which has charted the entire human DNA sequence, provides Simmons Center investigators with a new opportunity to understand how pulmonary fibrosis develops and how it can be better diagnosed and treated. Researchers at the Simmons Center are applying new gene-based technologies, called genomics, to better understand the activities of the many thousands of genes and proteins in each human cell and how they affect pulmonary fibrosis. They are also using new computer tools, called bioinformatics, to make use of the vast amounts of data being generated and to identify potential diagnostic methods and drug treatments.

Simmons Center researchers have already identified distinct changes in genetic activity that occur when human and mouse lung tissues become fibrotic; now they are expanding these observations and designing specific experiments to discover the roles of some of these genes. This approach can transform the understanding of interstitial lung diseases (ILD) and lead to breakthroughs in disease management and understanding.

The research team at the Simmons Center includes a well-rounded, diverse group of scientists. Geneticists, clinical researchers, basic scientists, genome scientists and bioinformaticians all combine their efforts to understand pulmonary fibrosis. Patients have an important role to play as well. As volunteer participants in clinical studies, they may benefit from investigational therapies; they also help themselves and others with pulmonary fibrosis by advancing the state of knowledge of the disease.

Current Research Projects

  • Identification of gene expression patterns that characterize and predict the clinical course and response to therapy of patients with interstitial lung disease in general and IPF in particular
  • The use of methods to study genes and the proteins they make — called genomics and proteomics — to identify new targets for drug therapy in IPF and other interstitial lung diseases
  • Analysis of the genetic basis of adult pulmonary fibrosis and molecular processes in the lung that can serve as targets for drug therapy
  • Exploration of the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances in people with IPF, examining the relationship between these problems and disease severity, time since diagnosis, quality of life, and social support

Contact Us

Simmons Center for
Interstitial Lung Disease

Clinic location (for patient appointment)
Comprehensive Lung Center
Falk Medical Building, 4th Floor
3601 Fifth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Schedule an appointment at 412-802-3275 or request an appointment online.

Additional Resources

Clinical Trials

Our doctors participate in local and national studies to try and find new treatment options for lung diseases. These studies are called clinical trials.For more information, or to search for a trial or study, please visit the Pitt+Me Registry​ website.

Learn more about research studies and clinical trials that are related to lungs and breathing​

More academic resources can be found at the website of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine.


Pitt Researchers Awarded $8.3 Million NIH Grant to Study Sarcoidosis, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |