Mission

The Center for Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation mission is to create a world-renowned program devoted to understanding physiological challenges to respiratory motor control in health and disease, and to translate our knowledge into strategies of respiratory rehabilitation in devastating clinical disorders that compromise breathing, including (but not limited to):

  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Pompe Disease
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Sepsis
  • Cancer cachexia
  • Ventilator weaning failure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic cough
  • Dysphagia

Our goal is to unite basic and clinician scientists at the University of Florida committed to understanding the biology and pathophysiology of breathing and airway defense. The Center will create important links between the University of Florida and private/public organizations that support biomedical research. Since ventilatory failure is the major cause of death in most traumatic, ischemic and neurodegenerative neuromuscular disorders, many medical foundations realize the critical importance of preserving and/or restoring breathing in their target populations.

The Center focus includes preclinical basic research on respiratory biology, with excellence in neuroplasticity and the control of breathing, airway defense and respiratory muscle biology. Another strength is translational research using animal models and humans with neuromuscular disorders that compromise breathing. Principles derived from studies of respiratory function have already proven relevant in other motor systems such as walking, arm movements and speech/swallowing. Thus, another Center goal is to translate new knowledge to non-respiratory functions.

  • The Center will create an environment that fosters collaborations in research and research training. Accordingly, other major goals are to:
  • Develop an NIH funded program to support pre- and post-doctoral trainees in Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation.
  • Stimulate new basic and applied research initiatives, including program project and center grants.
  • Organize regional, national and international conferences that advance our field and the reputation of UF.
  • Develop core facilities that support Center missions. Although many centers are devoted to pulmonary (lung) function in the United States, we know of no others focused on respiratory neuromuscular function—despite the fact that abnormalities in the neural control of breathing are highly prevalent in all traumatic, ischemic, genetic and neurodegenerative neuromuscular disorders.