Homer Boushey, M.D.
Professor and Chief of Asthma Clinical Research Center (ACRC)
Division of Allergy and Immunology
University of California, San Francisco
505 Parnassus Avenue
Room M1292, Box 0130
San Francisco, CA 94143
Pulmonary and Critical Care Division
Dr. Boushey received in his M.D. degree from the UCSF in 1968. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at UCSF and at the Beth-Israel Hospital of Harvard Medical School. He then pursued specialty training in Pulmonary Medicine at Oxford University and at UCSF. He joined the UCSF faculty in 1974 and, except for a year’s sabbatical at the University of Paris (Cochin Hospital), has remained here for his entire career. He has served as Vice-Chair of the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Medical Service (1989-1995) and recently as Chief of the Division of Allergy/Immunology and Director of the Asthma Clinical Research Center. Dr. Boushey’s major academic interests include clinical research on the pathogenesis and treatment of asthma, focusing especially on the role of viral respiratory infections in triggering asthma exacerbations. He serves also on editorial boards, expert panels, and advisory committees. He currently also serves as the secretary-treasurer of the American Thoracic Society.
Asthma has come to be regarded as chronic inflammatory diseases of the airways, but the causes, nature, and consequences of inflammation are imprecisely understood. Working closely with Drs. Fahy (Pulmonary), Avila (Allergy), Lazarus (Pulmonary), and Janson (Pulmonary, School of Nursing), Dr. Boushey’s research team has focused on methods for assessing airway mucosal inflammation (eg., sputum induction), on examining the effects of new, specifically targeted therapies (egs., monoclonal anti-IgE antibody, cell adhesion molecular inhibitors), on comparing existing therapies (inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting beta-agonists, and leukotriene antagonists, given alone or in combination), and on defining the mechanisms by which viral respiratory infection alters upper and lower airway function.
Asthma occurs uniquely in humans, and while animal models offer great promise for defining key steps in the pathophysiologic cascade that accounts for the structural and functional changes in asthma, confirmation of the relevance and importance of new findings ultimately requires testing in humans with the disease. Conversely, new targets for study through the application of genetic manipulation in murine models sometimes are defined by observations made in human subjects. The exchange of information between bench and clinical investigators is facilitated by the development and application of tests based on advances in molecular biology and genetics to the study of people. The era of truly "translational" research is opening, and will open first to centers where basic and clinical investigation is closely integrated, and where basic and clinical investigators have a tradition of exchange. Dr. Boushey regards these traditions at UCSF as essential for his own success in clinical research, and believes they also serve for the training of future academic investigators.