Steven L. Brody, MD


Professor of Medicine
Dorothy R and Hubert C Moog Professor of Pulmonary Medicine

Research Interests

The effort of our laboratory is to identify fundamental mechanisms that are responsible for abnormalities of the airway epithelial cell differentiation in chronic lung disease. We seek to identify the genetic and acquired defects that are responsible for the pathology and symptoms of airway diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), asthma, bronchitis, bronchiectasis, respiratory virus infection and chronic bacterial infection. Studies concern each of the specific cell types in the airway, stem cells, ciliated and secretory cells and their relationship to lung disease. To accomplish these studies we are using human tissues, cultured human and mouse airway epithelial cells and mouse models.

Mechanisms of ciliogenesis. Ciliated cells line the airway and are essential for airway clearance. We have identified and characterized key regulatory factors that control the biogenesis of primary and motile cilia in airway epithelial cells. Much of our attention concerns the role of master ciliogenesis gene Foxj1. How Foxj1 functions to control a network for cilia biogenesis and how these programs are disrupted in lung disease is a central theme for our projects.

Genetic causes of cilia disease. In collaboration with the Washington University cilia group, our laboratory has identified novel genes responsible for the genetic cilia disease Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD; Kartegener’s Syndrome). Our current work is to understand early assembly steps that are defective in one group of patients with PCD, with the long term goal of finding therapies.
Airway stem cells. Airway stem cells are required for maintaining the balance of cell types specific regions of the airway and for repair. We are investigating how stem cells make decisions between ciliated and mucus cells fates. We identified the regulatory factor Myb as an important intermediate between uncommitted stem cells and differentiated cells. Current studies are directed toward determining how Myb performs these functions and roles in COPD.

Mucus cell differentiation and secretion. More recently, we are working to identify how mucus is secreted and the relationship to autophagy pathways in chronic airways disease such as asthma and COPD.

Airway epithelial cell core. To understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate normal differentiation in disease, we model airway epithelial cell growth and differentiation in primary culture human and mouse airway epithelial cells. We have established a core facility for the isolation and culture of airway epithelial cells from human tissues, genetically defined mice, and other species (rat, pig). See {link to Pulmonary Cores}

Nanoparticles, airway delivery and lung imaging. In a multidisciplinary effort, our group has capitalized on advances in chemistry and imaging to utilize targeted nanoparticles and peptides for delivery of therapeutics to the airway. Current efforts are directed toward using some of the same technologies to track immune cells following airway injury.

Education and Training

  • 1976 B.S., Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
  • 1980 M.D., University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • 1980-1983 Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1989-1994 Fellowship, Pulmonary Medicine, Pulmonary Branch, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 1994-1995 Post-Doctoral Training, Developmental Biology, Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, Missouri

Faculty Positions

  • 1984-1985 Senior Associate, Department of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1985-1989 Assistant Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine (section of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care)
  • 1989-1994 Senior Staff Fellow, Pulmonary Branch, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health
  • 1994-2002 Assistant Professor of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2002-2011 Associate Professor of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2011-2012 Associate Professor of Medicine and Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2012-present Professor of Medicine and Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

Honors and Awards

  • 1987 Readers’ Poll “Best Issue of the Year”, How the ACLS Recommendations Affect Cardiac Arrest Management, Emergency Medicine Reports, 1986
  • 1988 “Golden Apple Award”, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, House Staff Teacher of the Year Award
  • 1988 Best CPC Award”, Clinicopathological Competition, Southern Medical Association, Emergency Medicine Section, New Orleans, November, 1988
  • 1989 “Best Clinical Instructor”, awarded by Emory University School of Medicine, Class of 1989
  • 1996 Trudeau Research Award, American Lung Association
  • 1998 Basil O’Connor Research Award, March of Dimes
  • 2004 Robert Senior Award, for the Outstanding Attending Physician, given by the Fellows in Pulmonary and Critical Care, Washington University
  • 2004-07, 2012 Listed in “Guide to America’s Top Physicians” edition, Consumer Research Council of America, Washington, D.C.
  • 2014 Dorothy R and Hubert C Moog Chair in Pulmonary Medicine

Board Certification

  • Diplomat, American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Critical Care Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Pulmonary Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Diplomat, American Board of Emergency Medicine
  • Internal Medicine: Certified through 12/31/2023, Not Participating in MOC
  • Critical Care Medicine: Certified through 12/31/2023, Participating in MOC
  • Pulmonary Disease: Certified through 12/31/2023, Participating in MOC
  • Enrolled in Maintenance of Certification (MOC) through 12/31/2023


View Steven L. Brody’s research publications on PubMed »