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Robert M. Senior, MD, MLA

Robert M. Senior, MD, the Dorothy R. and Hubert C. Moog Professor of Pulmonary Diseases in Medicine and professor of cell biology and physiology, is internationally known for his research on the cellular mechanisms of lung remodeling and matrix cell biology.

Senior was among the first researchers to recognize that immune cells called macrophages and neutrophils produce enzymes that break down the lung’s extracellular matrix — a process that prompts the initiation and progression of emphysema. His research group has also demonstrated a correlation between cigarette smoking and the recruitment of inflammatory cells to the lung. Senior has published more than 250 scientific articles in these areas of research and serves on numerous NIH committees and editorial boards. For the American Thoracic Society, he co-founded and edited the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, which is now a leading journal in the field.

In addition to his scientific leadership, Senior is highly esteemed by his trainees and colleagues, even prompting their creation of an annual teaching award named after him. He gives generously of his time, advising many leaders in pulmonary research and medicine.

Senior obtained his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and medical degree from George Washington University. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Barnes and Jewish Hospitals and a two-year cardio-respiratory physiology fellowship at Columbia University. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He then came to Washington University’s Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care to head the pulmonary division at Jewish Hospital. He has been on the Washington University faculty for more than 40 years.

Published: 01/27/2014