Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonary Medicine
Division Faculty
Paul E. Moore, M.D.
Eric D. Austin, M.D., M.S.C.I.
Lisa R. Young Lab
Pediatric Pulmonology Fellowship
Patient Care
Pediatric Asthma Conference
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Lisa Young, M.D.Lisa Young, M.D., is a physician-scientist focusing on research in genetic and interstitial lung diseases (ILD). Dr. Young’s research lab utilizes both laboratory-based and patient-oriented research approaches to studies focused on interstitial lung diseases and other rare lung diseases in both adults and children.

Our primary interest is in the role of the alveolar epithelium and alveolar macrophages in the regulation of pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis. We utilize genetic mouse models to understand the cell biology and mechanisms of ILD pathogenesis. We also maintain a longitudinal research cohort of children with ILD and other rare lung diseases. 

The collaborative environment in the Vanderbilt University Center for Lung Research and longstanding studies in familial ILD and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis provide tremendous synergy for our studies. 

Active studies

lung tissue
There are many types of childhood interstitial lung diseases. We are in the early stages of understanding the molecular underpinnings.

Longitudinal studies in childhood interstitial lung diseases (chILD)

Childhood interstitial and diffuse lung diseases (chILD) are a group of relatively rare disorders that cause lung problems in children. Some children present at birth, and others later in childhood. In some forms of chILD, children improve over time. Others progress and may not survive without lung transplantation. It is unknown how many children in the United States have chILD. Limited information is available to predict which children will improve and which will do poorly. Limited therapies are available.

The purpose of this study is to advance knowledge of the frequency, symptoms and features, treatments and outcomes for children with these diseases. Because these disorders are rare, multicenter studies are required to assemble adequate numbers of cases for systematic study.

This study established a national registry that is conducted at sites participating in the chILD Research Network. These sites collect data and samples from routine clinical care. The national registry allows analysis of the children affected by these diseases, ultimately aiding in development of strategies to improve treatment for these patients.

chILD is an umbrella term that encompasses a broad spectrum of many rare lung diseases that occur in children. While individually rare, these diseases collectively result in a substantial burden of morbidity, mortality and health care need. Despite the heterogeneous etiologies, the clinical and radiologic presentations often overlap, prompting many clinicians and investigators to increasingly aggregate these rare diseases within clinical practices and research networks. The pathogenesis remains uncertain for many of these disorders, epidemiology and natural history are insufficiently defined and definitive therapies are limited.

However, fueled by genetic and molecular discoveries, development of histologic classification systems, multicenter collaborations and publication of clinical practice guidelines, this field is now rapidly evolving and poised for great progress. This study proposes the first comprehensive prospective multicenter study of chILD in North America.

Genetic discovery in neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia of infancy (NEHI)

Neuroendocrine cell Hyperplasia of Infancy (NEHI) is a rare lung disease that presents with persistent tachypnea and hypoxemia in infants. Our current studies aim to define the clinical and radiographic spectrum of NEHI and to utilize advanced genetic discovery methods to identify specific genetic variants associated with NEHI.

Longitudinal studies in childhood interstitial lung diseases (chILD)

We maintain a longitudinal research cohort of children with ILD and other rare lung diseases, with objectives to better define the natural history of these disorders, understand disease pathogenesis and ultimately develop new treatment approaches for chILD.

Mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis in Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS)

Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS) is an inherited disorder in which almost all adults with certain subtypes develop fatal pulmonary fibrosis, typically in early adulthood. Our studies utilize mouse models to understand what causes pulmonary fibrosis in HPS and how new therapies might be developed. Our hypothesis is that HPS trafficking defects in alveolar epithelial cells result in increased reactive oxygen species production and enhanced secretion of mediators, which recruit and activate alveolar macrophages in the local microenvironment. We also study how these mechanisms apply to other more common forms of ILD.

Studies in lymphangioleiomymatosis (LAM)

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare neoplasm that results in progressive cystic lung disease and affects women almost exclusively.  Disease can occur in two forms: sporadic LAM or in association with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC-LAM).   We have a long-standing interest in clinical and translational studies in LAM, including biomarker development.

Grant support

We are grateful to the National Institutes of Health (NHLBI), Department of Defense, American Thoracic Society in partnership with the chILD Foundation and ChILD (Lung) Foundation - UK, and the American Thoracic Society in partnership with the Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Network for research support of our current projects. 

Current members

Lisa R. Young, M.D.
Peter Gulleman, B.S.
Jacob Schaff
Haley Ramsey
Errine Garnett (through Familial ILD program at Vanderbilt)

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