Lin receives $3.2 million NIH grant for lung study

Lin receives $3.2 million NIH grant for lung study

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Goal is to build easily understod models for doctors, patients

Ching-Long Lin, University of Iowa College of Engineering professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and faculty research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, has been awarded a five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

The research goal is to construct computerized models of the human lung that are easily interpreted by physicians and patients. In technical terms, the grant will help him build what is formally called "an integrative statistics-guided, image-based lung model" for the assessment and prediction of lung functions at both individual and population scales.

Lin, who will serve as project director, will integrate statistical analysis of clinical and imaging data from a large population of patients having asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with sensitive lung functional variables predicted by a multi-scale, subject-specific lung model.

The study aims to identify observable characteristics, called phenotypic biomarkers, and other metrics for clustering and classification of healthy and diseased lungs in sub-populations. Eventually, the study will establish a link between inhaled irritants and inflammatory processes in airways and tissues.

The ultimate goal for researchers is to translate big clinical imaging and modeling data into graphics and other forms easily interpreted by physicians and patients. The desired result for patients is improved patient outcomes through better phenotyping and patient-specific therapy.

The project is a collaboration among the College of Engineering, the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with Lin's UI colleagues being professors Eric A. Hoffman, John Newell, and Kung-Sik Chan.

"I'm very pleased to have received this new NIH grant to study the lung structure-function relationship in sub-populations and its interplays with environmental factors due to inhalational exposure. The bridging between population and individual scales is a compelling multi-scale problem in the context of big data and precision medicine," he says.

Lin has an on-going NIH grant received in 2010 to study the interactions between pulmonary airflow, lung mechanics, and cell response for the human airway defense system, which was a competitive renewal of his earlier NIH grant received in 2005 to develop a multi-scale digital lung mode.

Lin also received an NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant (SIG) in 2008 to purchase a supercomputer to support cardiopulmonary research. Lin was elected and inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows in 2013. Lin also led the effort to publish a special issue of the Journal of Computational Physics on Multi-scale Modeling and Simulation of Biological Systems in 2013.


Ching-Long Lin, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, 319-335-5673


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