Anne Fitzpatrick, PhD, RN, CPNP, MSCR
Department of Pediatrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Director - Asthma Clinical Research Program, Emory University School of Medicine
Division of Pulmonology, Allergy/Immunology, Cystic Fibrosis and Sleep
Unlike children with mild-to-moderate asthma who have a favorable response to treatment with low doses of inhaled corticosteroids, children with severe asthma have persistent airway inflammation, oxidant stress, and ongoing symptoms despite high-dose corticosteroid treatment. Ultimately this vicious cycle of airway inflammation and oxidant stress in children with severe asthma leads to significant morbidity. Because severe asthma also accounts for 30-50% of all asthma-related costs, severe asthma in children is a public health crisis that warrants further study. My research is focused on the cellular and biochemical derangements in the lung that lead to severe asthma in children. Our ultimate purpose is to identify biomarkers that predict risk and impairment and to translate those findings into improved clinical treatment for children with asthma.
As Director of the Emory Asthma Clinical Research Program, I have built an independent research program focused on airway oxidizing and reducing (“redox”) disturbances in children with severe asthma and the impact of these disturbances on innate immune responses, airway physiological function, and the response to corticosteroids. My studies are focused around a unifying hypothesis that these airway redox disturbances are induced by an intricate interplay of biological, environmental, and socio-behavioral factors. Thus we are trying to understand the differing clinical attributes or redox-related “phenotypes” of children with severe asthma and how these “phenotypes” respond to asthma treatment. Through this approach we ultimately hope to develop highly individualized treatment interventions to decrease symptom burden in children with severe asthma who are otherwise very difficult to treat. I have a broad background in clinical and translational research and I have served as a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on several NIH grants. I also serve as a member of the Steering Committee of three multi-center asthma research networks, including the NIH/NHLBI Severe Asthma Research Program, the NIH/NHLBI AsthmaNet Clinical Trials Network, and the American Lung Association’s Asthma Clinical Research Centers Network. I have successfully administered these projects (e.g. staffing, research protections, budget) while collaborating with investigators from Emory and other institutions across the United States. Each of these projects has led to a number of peer-reviewed publications that are well recognized in the field.