Endowed Professorship for LAM Research Created at UC College of Medicine

LAM Foundation and donors fund position to lead research against rare lung disease

Gifts totaling $1 million will support a new LAM Foundation Professorship for LAM Research, a first at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Thanks to the generous support of The LAM Foundation, the Crissey family and the Hagins Family Matching Gift Program, this endowed professorship will ensure permanent support for a clinical scientist focused on the rare progressive lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis, or LAM.

UC faculty are global experts in the treatment and understanding of LAM, overseeing a network of 64 rare lung disease clinics around the world.

A partnership driven by science

This work has been conducted in close connection with The LAM Foundation since 1995, when the Byrnes family of Cincinnati first engaged Frank McCormack, MD, J. Gordon and Helen Hughes Taylor Professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, as the founding scientific director.

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis is a rare disease that occurs almost exclusively in women. The disease is characterized by an abnormal growth of smooth muscle cells, especially in the lungs, lymphatic system and kidneys. Unregulated growth of these cells can lead to loss of lung function, accumulation of lymph rich-fluid in the chest and abdomen and growth of tumors in the kidneys. It is estimated that for every million women, three to five will have LAM.

Nishant GuptaThe UC Board of Trustees approved UC Associate Professor of Internal Medicine Nishant Gupta, MD, as first holder of The LAM Foundation Professorship at its February 2021 board meeting. In addition, Gupta will serve as The LAM Foundation scientific director and join the Foundation’s board of directors.

“This professorship reflects the remarkable accomplishments of the past, and our confidence for the future. We will always be grateful for Dr. McCormack’s vision, perseverance and unwavering commitment to the LAM community,” said Sue Sherman, CEO of The LAM Foundation. “In Dr. Gupta, we are fortunate to have a gifted clinician and LAM researcher whose passion will invigorate LAM science as we look forward.”

The professorship also was generously supported by Anne Crissey and her late sister, Sue Crissey. Anne spent 40 years at the UC College of Medicine, 30 of which was spent in the office of the dean.

“Our faculty’s partnership with The LAM Foundation, led by Frank McCormack, has been a rich, productive, shared mission, making important strides in research, care and patient education,” said Andrew T. Filak Jr., MD, senior vice president for health affairs and Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean of the College of Medicine. “With The LAM Foundation and the Crissey family’s generous gift, we are honored to continue this important work for patients everywhere.”

Frank McCormack“The establishment of this position is an amazing accomplishment for the LAM community,” said McCormack, “It ensures dedicated UC faculty leadership will work with The LAM Foundation to advance clinical care and scientific understanding of these rare diseases. We are deeply grateful for the partnership with The LAM Foundation and the donations that made this possible—and I cannot think of a more deserving person to hold the LAM professorship than Nishant.”

Leading into the future

Gupta came to UC in 2010 for a fellowship and credits the mentorship of McCormack for developing his interest in LAM. Today, he directs the division’s research and care of interstitial lung diseases.

“Frank has been the main architect and driver of this work from the very beginning,” said Gupta. “As I step into this role, I hope to sustain this momentum and build on our very solid foundation to launch future initiatives. Our ultimate goal remains the same—to find a cure for LAM. At the same time, we need to ensure LAM patients across the globe are getting properly diagnosed and treated, and expand our research efforts to accelerate future discoveries.”

“This endowment will serve many patients with rare lung diseases regionally and worldwide by supporting Dr. Gupta, an exemplary physician scientist and valued faculty member in our academic health center since 2014,” said Gregory Rouan, MD, Gordon and Helen Hughes Taylor Professor of Medicine and chair of the UC Department of Internal Medicine.

“His work and accomplishments are already recognized internationally and supported by the National Institutes of Health. We are most grateful to all involved and look forward to ongoing discovery and provision of care as a result of this most generous support to Dr. Gupta, our college, health center and, most importantly, our patients.”

UC and The LAM Foundation: A History of Firsts

  • Received National Institutes of Health grants in 2003 and 2014 to establish a rare lung disease network of 65 clinics across the world.
  • Led the MILES clinical trial demonstrating the efficacy of Sirolimus, the first FDA-approved treatment for LAM.
  • Developed a diagnostic biomarker that removes the need for lung biopsy in many LAM patients.
  • Led the effort to develop international clinical guidelines for LAM.

This gift supports student success, a priority of Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati, the comprehensive fundraising campaign for UC and UC Health.