Prescott Woodruff, MD

Investigator, Cardiovascular Research Institute
Department of Medicine
+1 415 514-2061
Research Overview: 

Dr. Woodruff’s research comprises a program of NIH-funded clinical and translational research into a range of lung diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and granulomatous lung diseases (e.g. sarcoidosis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis). These studies fall into three specific categories: A) the identification of distinct molecular sub-phenotypes of these diseases, B) the elucidation of disease-relevant mechanisms of airway inflammation and remodeling in the lung and C) the development of blood-based diagnostic tests for lung disease using genomic approaches.

A. The identification of molecular sub-phenotypes of asthma and COPD:

These studies are funded by:

1) An R01 from the NIH/NHLBI, entitled “Molecular Phenotyping of Asthma” (R01 HL-095372) which has applied genomic analyses to airway samples from patients with asthma to distinguish Th2-driven and non-Th2-driven sub-phenotypes of asthma that have distinct clinical, pathological and treatment-related characteristics.

2) A seven-year NIH contract to apply similar methods to study COPD as part of the NHLBI Spiromics Project (N01 HR-08-08). The goal of the Spiromics project is to identify molecular phenotypes of COPD and to develop intermediate outcome measures for clinical trials.

II. Mechanisms of airway inflammation and remodeling in lung diseases:

These studies apply innovative methods for quantitative morphometry and gene expression analyses to human tissue samples obtained at fiberoptic bronchoscopy. In work to date, we have applied these methods to study mechanisms of disease in asthma, COPD and sarcoidosis. Ongoing work in this area is supported by the NIH (R01 HL-095372). Our approaches combine the application of gene expression profiling methods (microarrays, qPCR, laser capture microdissection) and design–based stereology (for quantitative measurement of tissue remodeling in human samples).

III. Development of blood-based diagnostic tests for lung disease using genomic approaches

These studies apply gene expression profiling and miRNA profiling in blood cells and plasma/serum to develop diagnostic tests in asthma, COPD and sarcoidosis.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Tissue / Organ Biology & Endocrinology
Research Summary: 
Genomics of Obstructive Lung Diseases


Featured Publications: 

Clinical Significance of Symptoms in Smokers with Preserved Pulmonary Function.

The New England journal of medicine

Woodruff PG, Barr RG, Bleecker E, Christenson SA, Couper D, Curtis JL, Gouskova NA, Hansel NN, Hoffman EA, Kanner RE, Kleerup E, Lazarus SC, Martinez FJ, Paine R, Rennard S, Tashkin DP, Han MK

T-helper type 2-driven inflammation defines major subphenotypes of asthma.

American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine

Woodruff PG, Modrek B, Choy DF, Jia G, Abbas AR, Ellwanger A, Koth LL, Arron JR, Fahy JV

Genome-wide profiling identifies epithelial cell genes associated with asthma and with treatment response to corticosteroids.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Woodruff PG, Boushey HA, Dolganov GM, Barker CS, Yang YH, Donnelly S, Ellwanger A, Sidhu SS, Dao-Pick TP, Pantoja C, Erle DJ, Yamamoto KR, Fahy JV