Sally Wenzel, MD

  • Director, University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute @ UPMC
  • Chair, Dept of Environmental and Occupational Health, GSPH
  • UPMC Chair of Translational Airway Biology

Education & Training

  • Medical School – University of Florida – MD
  • Residency – Wake Forest University – Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship – Medical College of Virginia - Pulmonology

Research Grants

NIH Grants:  R01, P01, U10, UG1

Research Summary

Dr. Wenzel studies pathophysiology and mechanisms of severe asthma and their phenotypes from the clinical-epidemiologic to the molecular level. She has recruited hundreds of severe asthma patients for human-based research studies. She is considered to be one of the key scientists initiating the concept of asthma phenotypes, having written review articles for both the Lancet and Nature Medicine and led groundbreaking clinical trials of Type-2 targeted therapies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet. She was the first to identify a novel asthma phenotype associated with granulomatous lesions in the airways and parenchyma. These studies support her long-standing belief that Type-2 immunity alone is not sufficient to drive all aspects of disease severity/exacerbations. Dr. Wenzel is one of seven NHLBI funded investigators in the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) network and Co-PI on a PO1 on severe asthma. Her lab is one of few which is able to match an extensive clinical phenotype of a subject with responses at a cellular/molecular level. Her current bench-lab interests include the role of epithelial cells in controlling airway inflammatory responses, oxidative stress, and their interactions with mast cells and Th1 immune responses. She has authored more than 250 publications and is the recipient of numerous awards including the ERS Presidential Award in 2017 and ATS Foundation Breathing for Life 2016 Award. She would provide a superb training environment for faculty in clinical, basic, or translational research relating to Immunology, Environmental Health or Pulmonology. Dr. Wenzel has also mentored over 30 MDs and PhDs over the past 10 years, many of whom now have faculty positions.

Representative Publications

  1. Luyster FS, Ritterband LM, Sereika SM, Buysse DJ, Wenzel SE, Strollo PJ. Internet-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Adults With Asthma: A Pilot Study. Behav Sleep Med. 2018 Sep 25:1-13. doi: 10.1080/15402002.2018.1518229. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30252506.
  2. Lima JJ, Castro M, King TS, Lang JE, Ortega VE, Peters SP, Denlinger LC, Israel E, Sorkness CA, Wechsler ME, Wenzel SE, Smith LJ. Association of free vitamin D(3) concentrations and asthma treatment failures in the VIDA Trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2018 Oct;121(4):444-450.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2018.06.001. Epub 2018 Jun 14. PubMed PMID: 29908319.
  3. Kimura H, Konno S, Makita H, Taniguchi N, Shimizu K, Suzuki M, Kimura H, Goudarzi H, Nakamaru Y, Ono J, Ohta S, Izuhara K, Ito YM, Wenzel SE, Nishimura M; Hi-CARAT investigators. Prospective predictors of exacerbation status in severe asthma over a 3-year follow-up. Clin Exp Allergy. 2018 Sep;48(9):1137-1146. doi: 10.1111/cea.13170. Epub 2018 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 29781543
  4. Busse WW, Maspero JF, Rabe KF, Papi A, Wenzel SE, Ford LB, Pavord ID, Zhang B, Staudinger H, Pirozzi G, Amin N, Akinlade B, Eckert L, Chao J, Graham NMH, Teper A. Liberty Asthma QUEST: Phase 3 Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study to Evaluate Dupilumab Efficacy/Safety in Patients with Uncontrolled, Moderate-to-Severe Asthma. Adv Ther. 2018 May 3. doi: 10.1007/s12325-018-0702-4. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29725983; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5960488.
  5. Ash SY, Rahaghi FN, Come CE, Ross JC, Colon AG, Cardet-Guisasola JC, DunicanEM, Bleecker ER, Castro M, Fahy JV, Fain SB, Gaston BM, Hoffman EA, Jarjour NN,  Mauger DT, Wenzel SE, Levy BD, San Jose Estepar R, Israel E, Washko GR; SARP Investigators. Pruning of the Pulmonary Vasculature in Asthma. The Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) Cohort. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018 Jul 1;198(1):39-50. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201712-2426OC. PubMed PMID: 29672122; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6034125.
  6. DeBoer MD, Phillips BR, Mauger DT, Zein J, Erzurum SC, Fitzpatrick AM, Gaston BM, Myers R, Ross KR, Chmiel J, Lee MJ, Fahy JV, Peters M, Ly NP, Wenzel SE, Fajt ML, Holguin F, Moore WC, Peters SP, Meyers D, Bleecker ER, Castro M, Coverstone AM, Bacharier LB, Jarjour NN, Sorkness RL, Ramratnam S, Irani AM, Israel E, Levy B, Phipatanakul W, Gaffin JM, Gerald Teague W. Effects of endogenous sex hormones on lung function and symptom control in adolescents with asthma. BMC Pulm Med. 2018 Apr 10;18(1):58. doi: 10.1186/s12890-018-0612-x. PubMed PMID: 29631584; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5891903.
  7. Ricklefs I, Barkas I, Duvall MG, Cernadas M, Grossman NL, Israel E, Bleecker ER, Castro M, Erzurum SC, Fahy JV, Gaston BM, Denlinger LC, Mauger DT, Wenzel SE, Comhair SA, Coverstone AM, Fajt ML, Hastie AT, Johansson MW, Peters MC, Phillips BR, Levy BD; National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s Severe Asthma Research Program- Investigators. ALX receptor ligands define a biochemical endotype for severe asthma. JCI Insight. 2018 Mar 22;3(6). pii: 120932. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.120932. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29563345; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5926903.