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Vital Signs

Chair provides inspiration for lung research

By Amos Esty

Pulmonary physiologist Bruce Stanton has been named to an endowed chair.

In July, Dartmouth physiologist Bruce Stanton, Ph.D., received an honor that recognized his past accomplishments and that will also facilitate future advances. He was appointed to the Andrew C. Vail Memorial Professorship, which was established in 1973 by Mary McGaw in memory of her grandson.

Model: Stanton arrived at DMS in 1984 from Yale, where he earned his Ph.D. His scientific contributions over the past 25 years include helping to develop a much better understanding of cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease that affects about 30,000 Americans. The disease causes a build-up of mucus in the lungs, leading to chronic infections and premature death. In recent years, Stanton has collaborated with other DMS researchers to develop a new model of the human lung in which to study the bacteria that infect people who have CF. The team has found that the combination of an antibiotic and a drug that binds to iron is effective in eradicating bacteria in the model. Stanton is now working with the pharmaceutical industry to conduct clinical trials using this combination, and he is optimistic that it could eventually lead to improved treatments for CF patients.

Also the director of Dartmouth's Lung Biology Center, a National Institutes of Health-funded Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, Stanton has helped bring together researchers from a number of fields to study chronic lung diseases—such as CF and lung cancer—which affect about 25 million Americans. A dedicated educator as well, Stanton has taught classes for medical students, mentored future scientists in his lab, and written physiology textbooks.

Stanton is also the director of Dartmouth's Lung Biology Center.

Team: He appreciates the honor but says his work is possible only with help from many others. "Although I am the recipient of the chair, the chair was awarded based on research by a very talented team of collaborators in my laboratory and in the laboratories of many colleagues at Dartmouth," he says. "So the recognition is for all of us."

And, he adds, the chair provides not only practical support in the form of funding, but intangible support in the form of inspiration and invigoration.

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