UA Doctor Selected To Give Prestigious International Lecture

April 4, 2008
Dr. Fernando D. Martinez
Dr. Fernando D. Martinez

Dr. Fernando D. Martinez, director of the Arizona Respiratory Center at The University of Arizona College of Medicine, has been selected to present the J. Burns Amberson Lecture at the American Thoracic Society international conference in Toronto in May.

Martinez, who has served as director of the Arizona Respiratory Center since 1996, will discuss Genes and the Environment in Asthma and COPD: Does it All Begin in the Cradle? "Since 1957, the Amberson Lecture honor has been bestowed only upon those with the deepest knowledge in our field and greatest contributions to pulmonary science or clinical practice," David H. Ingbar, president of the American Thoracic Society, wrote in a letter announcing the honor.

Martinez is a member of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program that was responsible for the development of the Expert Panel Report: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma in 1997 and its first revision in 2001.

He also has been a member of the FDA Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee and the Board of Extramural Advisors of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute since 1999. His research has been funded continuously by the institute since 1991.

At the Arizona Respiratory Center, Martinez has overseen development of a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to the study of the factors that determine the development of asthma, sleep disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other chronic respiratory conditions.

The center has fostered the integrated work of clinicians, epidemiologists, immunologists, pharmacologists, molecular and cellular biologists and population geneticists – all centered on the effort to uncover the mechanisms that determine these complex respiratory diseases, with the purpose of developing new ways to prevent and treat them.

In his own work, Martinez has studied the natural history and risk factors for asthma and other wheezing disorders from birth to early adult life. In addition, his laboratory has made important contributions to our understanding of the genetic factors that predispose for the development of asthma and allergies.

Martinez also is principal investigator of one of the centers that are part of the Childhood Asthma Research and Education network, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. As part of this network, studies are being conducted to determine the factors associated with response to current asthma therapy that will provide the greatest relief of symptoms and the best possible quality of life for each child with asthma.

The Amberson lecturer is an individual with a career of major lifetime contributions to clinical or basic pulmonary research and/or clinical practice. The lecture is given in honor of James Burns Amberson, an international authority on chest disease and tuberculosis.