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Dinesh Pillai Dinesh Pillai
Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Office Phone: 202-476-6253
Email: Email
Department: Pediatrics


During pediatric residency, I realized I had a keen interest in pulmonary disorders. As I progressed in my pediatric pulmonary medicine training, I began questioning the genetic and environmental contributions affecting inflammatory lung diseases. My pulmonary fellowship research was a fortunate result of working closely with Dr. Robert Freishtat at Children’s National Medical Center. My project, LTA4H SNP rs2660845 is Associated with Allergic Rhinitis in African American Children with Asthma, introduced me to pharmacogenetics and exposed me to a variety of laboratory techniques. Presenting my work at regional, national, and international meetings has driven me to further my career as a researcher. During the last year of fellowship, I applied for, and was awarded, the NIH K12 Genomics of Lung Career Development Award. This grant, entitled The Role of Circadian Oscillator Gene Polymorphisms in Asthmatic Airway Epithelium, evaluates the influence of cell cycle regulators, circadian oscillator genes, on respiratory epithelial regeneration in asthma. I strongly believe the interaction of these genes in this tissue will play a major role in the understanding and treatment of a wide variety of pulmonary diseases. Over the next few years, I hope to expand my expertise in lung inflammation and airway epithelium genomics and proteomics, continue to present my work locally, nationally and internationally, and hope to be competitive for NIH grants. Ultimately, I hope to establish myself as an active member in the academic community.

Additional Education

Infants and Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn 2003-06 Pediatrics
Children’s National Medical Center  2006-09 Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine


  • Freishtat RJ, Iqbal SF, Pillai DK, Klein CJ, Ryan LM, Benton AS, Teach SJ: High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency among Inner-City African American Youth with Asthma in Washington, D.C. Journal of Pediatrics: In Press.


Genomics and Asthma: Understanding the role of genetics and the impact of gene-environment interactions on disease progression in asthma may lead to optimization of current treatment regimens as well as new treatment options. This suggests personalized medicine in asthma may become a reality. Recent research in our laboratory had been centered on the evaluation of leukotriene metabolism genes in young, urban African American children with asthma. Current projects have focused on evaluating vitamin D metabolism gene variants in asthma for this same population, as this cohort is disproportionately afflicted with both low vitamin D levels and asthma.

Airway Epithelial Response to Injury in Asthma: Recent studies have shown that the asthmatic airway has an abnormal response to injury; however, the mechanisms behind this abnormal response have not been fully understood. Current research in our laboratory examining the chronotherapeutic effect of glucocorticoids suggests that asthmatic epithelium is intrinsically inflammogenic and dyssynchronous in its response to injury. Our evidence suggests the glucocorticoid mechanism of action may not be just anti-inflammatory, but rather may lead to re-synchronization of the epithelial repair response. Our future proteomic studies may reveal previously undetected canonical protein networks as well as novel relationships essential to the regeneration and remodeling of asthmatic epithelium. These findings may have a significant impact on furthering our understanding of mechanisms and treatment options involved in asthma as well as other inflammatory lung diseases.

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None