Pulmonary Center of Excellence
The PCOE was founded by Michael R. Blackburn, PhD in 2015. Dr. Blackburn served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Blackburn received his undergraduate degree in Biology from King College in Bristol, TN, in 1988. In 1993, he obtained his Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, for studies examining the role of adenosine signaling during implantation.
Dr. Blackburn is renowned for his research examining the role of adenosine signaling in the regulation of chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and pulmonary hypertension. Additionally, he has developed and characterized numerous models designed to examine the contribution of endogenous adenosine to the regulation of chronic lung disease. Thus, his research efforts have led to the development of novel therapies for the treatment of chronic lung diseases that include adenosine deaminase enzyme therapy and the use of specific adenosine receptor antagonists to regulate pulmonary inflammation and remodeling.
As founder of the PCOE, he oversaw the growth of the Lung Tissue Biorepository and raised funds to establish the PCOE Discovery Awards, which served as seed funding for UTHealth Houston Researchers to undertake high-risk-high-gain research projects on lung diseases. Markedly, these funds were instrumental for 4-5 National Institute of Health (NIH) R01 Research Grants.