Alpha-1 Foundation Board has New Chair

Published on July 30th, 2018

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The Alpha-1 Foundation has the honor to announce that Jeanine D’Armiento, MD, PhD, has been named as the newest Chair of its board of directors. D’Armiento has served on the Foundation’s board since 2011, and before that, she had participated in the Association before it was merged with the Foundation. From her early career, she has been involved in research on Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1).

She is Professor of Medicine in Anesthesiology at Columbia University in New York City. She is the Director of the Center for Molecular Pulmonary Disease in Anesthesiology and Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, and Director of the Center for Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and Rare Lung Disease. Her clinical center serves as a tertiary referral center for the Northeast region and cares for patients with LAM and Alpha-1.

Dr. D’Armiento’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of lung injury and repair. The foremost goal of her research program is to develop insight into lung physiology and pathology through understanding the fundamental mechanisms modulating lung injury and repair and translating these findings into practical clinical solutions. Another focus of her work has been understanding the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in normal physiology and in human disease, with an emphasis on the processes leading to tissue destruction in the lung and vasculature. Her laboratory integrates both in vitro and in vivo approaches and is uniquely situated to characterize the molecular changes in the study of lung injury and disease to identify potential therapeutic targets.

She was the first to describe the role of collagenolytic enzymes in the pathogenesis of emphysema and has identified the essential signaling pathways leading to the induction of these proteases in lung disease. Her current work in this area is to examine a series of therapeutic approaches blocking expression of these proteases in lung models. Most recently, her group identified a novel compound capable of attenuating lung destruction in animal models of the disease, which she is now developing for use in the clinic.

Currently, she is the principal investigator (PI) of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded R01 exploring the mechanisms of smoke-induced lung injury. Additionally, she is a Co-PI of an NIH funded study exploring non-invasive imaging modalities in lung disease. Through both studies, she is utilizing the knowledge gained from her basic research studies over the past years to develop novel therapeutic agents in the treatment of lung disease. The imaging studies have allowed the development of a new agent targeted to the inflamed lung, which she is actively testing to determine its use as a non-invasive imaging modality in patients with lung disease.

Dr. D’Armiento has been involved with the mentoring and training of young faculty. She has trained over 15 clinical and basic fellows most of which now hold academic and industry positions. In 2008, she completed a two-year appointment as the Associate Dean for Gender Equity and Faculty Development at Columbia University where she concentrated on professional development programs specifically for women faculty.  She currently serves on the Executive committee of the Columbia University Senate and Chairs the Commission on the Status of Women at the University.

She is also presently serving as a Consultant to the Director of the Office of Rare Disease, NCATs, National Institute of Health.

“I want to say how honored I am to Chair the Alpha-1 Foundation and work with each one of the staff and the board of directors over the next few years. Our Foundation has been through some difficult challenges and it is due to your dedication and hard work that we have continued our mission and maintained our excellence,” expressed D’Armiento.

With her leadership on the Alpha-1 Foundation’s board, the Foundation’s mission of finding a cure for Alpha-1 will be further advanced, as well as many other strategies to optimize the functioning and the operating processes of the entire Foundation. One of her major goals is to maintain the optimal quality of all the services that the Foundation grants to the great Alpha-1 community through its various programs.

“I consider it a great privilege to Chair the Alpha-1 Foundation and look forward to working with all of you as we progress together towards a cure for Alpha-1,” D’Armiento added.

There were also other changes in the executive committee of the Foundation’s board. James Quill was named treasurer, aside from being vice chair; Elizabeth Johnson was ratified as secretary of the board; Martin Zamora, MD, remains as scientific advisor; and Gordon Cadwgan, PhD, becomes immediate past chair. Also, Kenneth Irvine was named as the newest member of the board.

“Dr. D’Armiento’s experience and expertise have certainly been an asset to the board of directors of the Alpha-1 Foundation. I am pleased to see her take on this role as Chair and look forward to what we will accomplish under her leadership,” said Henry Moehring, president and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation.

The Alpha-1 Foundation and the Alpha-1 community welcome Jeanine D’Armiento and wish her the most successful tenure as Chair of the board of directors.

Source:  The Alpha-1 Foundation

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