Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine Research

The Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine has an active research program, striving to understand the root causes and develop new and optimal treatments to improve the lives of children with lung diseases.

What is clinical research and why is it important?

Clinical research is medical research that includes people. Clinical research aims to find new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases in children and adolescents. The research you participate in may not provide a direct benefit to you or your child, but it may help doctors and scientists to better understand your child’s condition and develop new treatments for the future.

Learn more about the different types of clinical research.

¿Qué es la investigación clínica y por qué es importante?

Cystic Fibrosis

The Cystic Fibrosis Center research team is currently conducting numerous observational research studies and clinical trials that involve various procedures and evaluations to further treat and understand different aspects of this disorder.

All around the world, CF patients of all ages are involved in clinical trials testing potential new drugs across different therapeutic areas. These clinical trials include multiple interventional drug studies here at CHOP.

Want to see if you qualify for an interventional drug study? The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has developed a new search tool for patients and families to find available trials. The online Clinical Trial Finder allows you to narrow your search (by age, lung function, type of therapy) and provides information on specific clinical trials.

We are also specifically concentrating on the disease process of Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD) and glucose abnormalities. CFRD is a complex condition that adds additional medical burden to individuals with CF. Researchers at CHOP are conducting a number of research studies to better understand the disease and why it develops.

Our CFRD research goal is to:

  • Improve screening and find the best methods for detecting CFRD
  • Prevent or slow the progression of CFRD
  • Better define when treatment of insulin deficiency should begin

To learn more about what studies you or your child may qualify for, please contact CFResearch@chop.edu.

Developmental and Rare Lung Diseases

Interstitial Lung Diseases:

Childhood interstitial and diffuse lung disease (chILD) is an umbrella term that includes a broad range of many rare lung diseases that occur in children. The causes of chILD vary; some are genetic, but others aren’t.

The goal of the chILD research team is to:

  • Learn more about the causes and outcomes of chILD
  • Identify genes that contribute to or cause chILD
  • Offer clinical trials with investigational new drugs that may help children with some forms of chILD

To learn more about chILD research opportunities, please contact ILDResearch@chop.edu.

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia:

About half of all babies born prematurely (<36 weeks gestation) will have chronic lung disease (CLD) or bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Many infants with CLD or BPD are able to recover with the help of medication or oxygen, however, improving treatments and learning about long-term outcomes are very important areas our research team is exploring. 

The BPD research team is interested in learning about how environmental exposures, like pollution or mold in the home, may contribute to BPD. We are also looking at the long-term outcomes of children who develop pulmonary hypertension in addition to BPD.

There are multiple research studies open at CHOP to follow babies and children with BPD in the Pulmonary clinic.

To learn more about research studies your child with BPD may be eligible for, please contact PreemieLungResearch@chop.edu.

Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia:

Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a genetic condition in which the cilia that lines the airway, ears, and sinuses doesn’t work correctly. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria and debris in the lungs, airway, and sinuses, leading to an increased chance of developing infections or bronchiectasis.

CHOP is a PCD Center of Excellence and participates in research studies to help identify and treat PCD. To learn about PCD research study opportunities, email PulmonaryResearch@chop.edu.


Ataxia-telangiectasia is a very rare inherited genetic disorder that affects the nervous and immune systems, among other body systems. The A-T research team is investigating how and why A-T progresses and seeking to understand more about the genetic basis of this condition.

If you are interested in learning more about the current A-T research opportunities, please contact PulmonaryResearch@chop.edu.

Lung Physiology

The lung physiology research team is interested in learning more about how breathing can be measured, especially in children too young to perform Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs).

To learn more about what research studies may be available, please contact Dr. Julian Allen: allenj@chop.edu.

Sleep Medicine

The Sleep Center at CHOP studies the full spectrum of sleep including behavioral interventions, clinical trials, epidemiology, and complex physiological studies. Our research goals are to:

  • Promote healthy sleep across the age spectrum
  • Optimize referrals of children with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) to tertiary care
  • Address health disparities in pediatric SDB
  • Establish best treatments for children with SDB
  • Determine medical and behavioral factors influencing adherence to positive airway pressure in a diverse population including individuals with Downs syndrome
  • Determine the feasibility and acceptability of home sleep apnea testing in children
  • Characterize sleep and SDB in infants

To learn about current research opportunities in Sleep Medicine, please email SleepResearch@chop.edu.