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Structure and Development of the Alveolus

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Rory E. Morty

 

The Morty Laboratory has two major research themes, both of which relate directly to adult and neonatal critical care medicine.

Dr. Rory E. Morty is appointed as a full-time research scientist in the Department of Lung Development and Remodelling at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim, where he serves as Principal Investigator, leading the research group “Structure and Development of the Alveolus”. Dr. Morty is jointly appointed to the Department of Internal Medicine (Pulmonology) at the University of Giessen School of Medicine and the teaching hospital of the University Hospital Giessen and Marburg. 

 

Dr. Morty was born in South Africa, where he completed his undergraduate and post-graduate tertiary training. This was followed by a four-year post-doctoral stay at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Morty joined the Faculty of the University of Giessen School of Medicine and the teaching hospital of the University Clinic Giessen and Marburg in 2002, and the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in 2010. Dr. Morty serves as Deputy Editor of the American Journal of Physiology (since 2012), Pharmacology & Therapeutics (since 2015), and of PLoS ONE (since 2007), and also serves on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (since 2009), the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (since 2012), and Physiological Reports (since 2014). In addition, Dr. Morty serves as Programme Director of the International Graduate Programme “Molecular Biology and Medicine of the Lung” of the University of Giessen School of Medicine, and as Coordinator of the University of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center School. Dr. Morty has been also appointed as Research Director of the European Respiratory Society for the term 2016-2019. Some of Dr. Morty’s research interests are detailed below, and are also described in the Max-Planck Society Yearbook 2011.

1. Understanding lung development in preterm babies with bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Preterm birth is a very important clinical problem in our society today, and in every neonatal intensive care unit. The development of the lung is dangerously impacted when infants are born prematurely. These infants are ventilated to support life (see image). However, this ventilation process is very damaging to the lung and can cause a disease called bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

A preterm infant in a neonatal intensive care unit undergoing mechanical ventilation as part of life support. This patient has respiratory failure and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

In infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, the development of the alveoli – the principal gas exchange units of the lung – is compromised, with consequences that extend into adulthood. Members of the Morty Laboratory are currently exploring what goes wrong, when premature infants are ventilated and develop BPD, with the aim to develop new ways to clinically manage this complex and important clinical problem encountered in the neonatal intensive care unit.

2. Understanding life-threatening pulmonary oedema

Adult patients with acute respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) have defective ion and fluid transport, leading to pulmonary oedema (see image), and death. This syndrome is responsible for a high proportion of patient deaths in the adult intensive care unit.

An adult patient with acute respiratory distress syndrome that is being mechanically ventilated to manage respiratory failure.

Members of the Morty Laboratory investigate the mechanisms of how ions and water are normally transported into and out of the lung, and what happens when these mechanisms fail in patients with pulmonary oedema (see image). The studies are aiming to obtain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of ARDS, and so establish better management strategies for patients with this devastating syndrome.

The accumulation of fluid in the alveoli (so-called “pulmonary oedema”) leads to life-threatening respiratory failure in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Current members of the Morty Group

Post-doctoral fellows:
Dr. Katrin Ahlbrecht
Dr. Nicola Kuse

Doctoral Students:
Ms. Ivana Mižíková
Mr. Francesco Palumbo
Mr. Claudio Nardiello
Ms. Agnieszka Pożarska
Mr. Jordi Ruiz Camp
Dr. David Surate Solaligue
Mr. Ettore Lignelli
Ms. Aglaia Ntokou
Dr. José Alberto Rodríguez Castillo

Master’s students:

Mr. Philipp Rath

Medical Students:

Mr. Jonas Hönig

 

Technical Assistants:
Mrs. Uta Eule
Ms. Diana Fuchs
Mrs. Nilifer Bouhya-Erdogan

Contact

Dr. Rory E. Morty

Scientific Research Group

Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research

Parkstr. 1

61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 6032 705-271 (office)

Fax: +49 (0) 6032 705-471

 

Assistant:

Monika Haselbauer
Tel.: +49(6032)705-249
Fax.: +49(6032)705-471

Dr. Morty has been elected Research Director of the European Respiratory Society for the term 2016-2019
Dr. Morty is the Deputy Editor of the American Journal of Physiology
Dr. Morty is an Associate Editor of Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Dr. Morty is the Area Leader of the research area “Barrier Integrity During Inflammation and Repair” of the German Research Foundation’s “Excellence Cluster Cardio-Pulmonary System”
Dr. Morty is programme Director of the International Graduate Programme “Molecular Biology and Medicine of the Lung”
Dr. Morty is the coordinator of the “ARDS and Pneumogenic Sepsis” branch of the Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center
Dr. Morty is Coordinator of the University of Giessen and Marburg Lung center School
 
© 2017 Max-Planck-Institut für Herz- und Lungenforschung, Bad Nauheim