University of Arizona’s Dr. Fernando D. Martinez to Lead Transformative Research Center Focused on Asthma and Airway Disease

Center to focus on translational studies of asthma immunology, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment

Fernando D. Martinez, MDFernando D. Martinez, MD, UA Regent’s Professor and Swift – McNear endowed chair of pediatrics, has been tapped to lead the University of Arizona Health Sciences’ expanded translational research efforts and program innovation in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of asthma and airway disease. Dr. Martinez has been named inaugural director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center by Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences.

“I am truly excited by this opportunity to further the scientific growth of this important area of research study,” said Dr. Martinez. “The UA Health Sciences has a tremendous research base that can be leveraged to accelerate our efforts to understand the basis of asthma and airway diseases toward the development of precision therapies and prevention strategies.”

“Fernando is among the world’s leading authorities on asthma and chronic airway diseases – health problems that affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide and cause considerable morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Garcia. “Through his many years of rigorous research productivity, Fernando has positioned the UA for leadership in the development of effective new therapies and predictive tools that will dramatically improve the management of airway disease.”

In taking on leadership of the new Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center, Dr. Martinez will step down as director of the UA BIO5 Institute, a position he has held since 2009.

“I am grateful to Dr. Martinez for his exceptional leadership of the BIO5 Institute. BIO5 has an outstanding record of achievement due in large part to Fernando’s leadership over the past seven years,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, PhD, UA senior vice president for research. “I am equally excited for the opportunity to support Fernando in his efforts to push forward transformative research and establish UA as the nation’s preeminent scientific program in asthma and airway diseases.”

Dr. Martinez is a member of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Advisory Council and member of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. He has been a member of the Board of Extramural Advisors of the NHLBI, and of the Pulmonary and Allergy Drug Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He also was a member of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program’s Expert Panel, which developed the last two versions of the NHLBI Guidelines for the Treatment of Asthma.

His research is well detailed in more than 250 original research papers and editorials, many in collaboration with investigators from around the world. Dr. Martinez also is an outstanding educator, investing major efforts in training clinical and research fellows, guest lecturing in a variety of courses and mentoring visiting postdoctoral scholars, many of whom now are in academic positions and have become highly respected researchers in their own right.

He received his medical degrees from the University of Chile in Santiago and the University of Rome in Italy. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Rome, specializing in pediatric pulmonology. He has been at the University of Arizona since 1987.