Gleghorn awarded NIH funding to identify molecular mechanisms underlying lung development and congenital diaphragmatic hernia

The University of Delaware’s Jason Gleghorn has received a $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate pressure in lung development and congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).

“CDH is a devastating structural birth defect, resulting in significant prenatal and newborn morbidity and mortality,” says Gleghorn, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

He explains that in CDH, a failure of the diaphragm to completely close allows abdominal organs to move into the chest cavity, compressing the developing lungs and resulting in often deadly pulmonary underdevelopment, or hypoplasia.

CDH occurs in about one in every 2,500 live births. About 45 percent of babies with the condition do not make it to term, 10-20 percent that are born die within weeks, and the remainder often have significant respiratory challenges.

“As the high morbidity and mortality of CDH is linked to a structural defect with no consistent genetic defect, it has been challenging to identify signaling pathways that can be targeted for treatment,” Gleghorn says.

Read more…