Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Emphysema Research Center
Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
Sciurba’s name is well known in COPD circles. He’s written two of the most widely cited original research papers—over the last 20 years—on this chronic disease. He’s also given many presentations on clinical and research strategies regarding COPD at workshops sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
Bench-to-bedside research is very much part of Sciurba’s practice. He believes it’s essential for him and his peers to offer sincere hope to patients by assuring them that cutting-edge molecular techniques are being applied to solve the many remaining mysteries of their respiratory illnesses. Providing such encouragement is the biggest factor driving his work.
Over the course of his career, Sciurba has tried to bridge the cultural divide that exists between doctors and scientists—a gulf surprisingly not unlike what the scientific world faces with the general public. Sciurba recognizes the importance of learning the language of scientists, while providing them with opportunities to better understand and respect how disease presentation, such as signs and symptoms, can vary among individuals. This approach has already yielded fruitful scientific discoveries, and he expects even more from collaborative efforts such as the LGRC.
Sciurba’s role within the consortium will be to carefully categorize the tissue samples of participating patients and analyze them for, in particular, shared clinical characteristics. This will give researchers a clearer idea of the unique biological mechanisms that influence the progression of disease, he says, and ultimately lead to personalized therapies that target, halt, or reverse these mechanisms or abnormalities.
• M.D., University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (1982).
• Internship and residency, University of Pittsburgh (1982–1985).
• Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine fellowship, University of Pittsburgh (1985–1988).
• Serves on the editorial boards of two major journals, and has served on numerous government review panels and study sections.
The following select publications by Dr. Sciurba are related to his work in the LGRC:
Sciurba FC, Owens GR, Sanders MH, Griffith BP, Hardesty RL, Costantino JP. Evidence of an altered pattern of breathing during exercise in recipients of heart-lung transplants. N Engl J Med. 1988 Nov 3; 319(18):1186-92.
Sciurba FC, Rogers RM, Keenan RJ, Slivka WA, Gorcsan J 3rd, Ferson PF, Holbert JM, Brown ML, Landreneau RJ. Improvement in pulmonary function and elastic recoil after lung-reduction surgery for diffuse emphysema. N Engl J Med. 1996 Apr 25; 334(17):1095-9.
Oddis CV, Sciurba FC, Elmagd KA, Starzl TE. Tacrolimus in refractory polymyositis with interstitial lung disease. Lancet.1999 May 22; 353(9166):1762-3.
Coxson HO, Rogers RM, Whittall KP, D’yachkova Y, Paré PD, Sciurba FC, Hogg JC. A quantification of the lung surface area in emphysema using computed tomography. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Mar;159(3):851-6. Erratum in: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 May;163(6):1500-1..
Sciurba FC, Criner GJ, Lee SM, Mohsenifar Z, Shade D, Slivka W, Wise RA. Six-minute walk distance in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: reproducibility and effect of walking course layout and length. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2003 Jun 1;167(11):1522-7.
Hogg, JC, Chu F, Utokaparch S, Woods R, Elliott WM, Buzatu L, Cherniack RM, Rogers, RM, Sciurba FC, Coxson HO, Paré PD. The nature of small-airway obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. N Eng J Med. 2004 Jun 24; 350(26):2645-53.
Ning W, Li CJ, Kaminski N, Feghali-Boswick CA, Alber SM, Di YP, Otterbein SL, Song R, Hayashi S, Zhou Z, Pinsky DJ. Watkins SC, Pilewski JM, Sciurba FC, Peters DG, Hogg JC, Choi AM. Comprehensive gene expression profiles reveal pathways related to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Oct 12;101(41):14895-900.
Feghali-Bostwick CA, Gadgil AS, Otterbein LE, Pilewski JM, Stoner MW, Csizmadia E, Zhang Y, Sciurba FC, Duncan SR. Autoantibodies in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2008 Jan 15;177(2):156-63.
Wilson DO, Weissfeld JL, Balkan A, Schragin JG, Fuhrman CR, Fisher SN, Wilson J, Leader JK, Siegfried JM, Shapiro SD, Sciurba FC. Association of radiographic emphysema and airflow obstruction with lung cancer. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2008 Oct 1;178(7):738-44
Bon, JM, Leader JK, Weissfeld JL, Coxson HO, Zheng B, Branch RA, Kondragunta V, Lee JS, Zhang Y, Choi AM, Lokshin AE, Kaminski N, Gur D, Sciurba FC. The influence of radiographic phenotype and smoking status on peripheral blood biomarker patterns in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. PLoS One. 2009 Aug 31;4(8):e6865.
I’ve always wanted to be a scientist or a doctor and was pleased to later learn that you could be both.
The teachers, mentors, and parents who focus on bringing out the often unrecognized talents of their students and children. These people have the greatest downstream impact on the world and were most influential to me.
Those joyous “Aha!” moments when your idea yields fruit and you and your team are the bearers of new knowledge.
The hours spent on regulatory paperwork and administrative details.
It’s more a question of when—late at night, with no staff to interrupt me, when the kids have long gone to bed, and the crickets are chirping.
The many-year transformation of molecular soup into a reproducing cell still seems unfathomable to me. Given the result of that event, I wish I could have witnessed the creation of Eve.
Acoustic pop, folk, and jazz.
Take a sabbatical in Europe, and split the time between learning a new scientific skill and exploring with my family.