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Matthias A. Salathe, M.D.

Matthias Salathe portrait
Professor, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

Department Chair, Internal Medicine

Vice Chancellor, Research

Professional Background

Matthias Salathe (MD from the University of Basel, Switzerland) trained in anesthesiology, internal medicine, pulmonary and critical care (one-year support from the Swiss National Science Foundation), and basic science (HHMI funded). IN 1999, he received his first NIH award and has been continuously funded by the NIH, the State of Florida, the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and several other foundations. With initial seminal observations in the area of cilia and mucociliary function, he brought together a diverse group of scientists to broaden interactions, resulting in him proposing and chairing the inaugural, ongoing Gordon Research Conference on “Cilia, Mucus and Mucociliary Interactions”. He contributed to innate airway host defense and airway ion transport. As a translational researcher, he actively repurposes approved medications for airway inflammation and contributed to patient reported outcomes measures. Most recently, his vaping research reveals how vapors cause mucociliary dysfunction via activation of TRP channels and airway inflammation. As an advocate, he actively fights teen vaping. As an educator, he developed and taught the respiratory system module in Miami, receiving 11 student awards for excellence in teaching from 2002-2018. As an academic leader, he was division chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine (Miami) and is now chair of internal medicine (Kansas), rapidly expanding the departmental NIH portfolio. He was recently named the vice chancellor for research at KUMC and held/holds leadership roles in national societies and foundations.

Education and Training
  • MD, Medicine, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • Residency, Anesthesiology, Cantonal Hospital Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Residency, Internal Medicine, Cantonal Hospital Bruderholz, Switzerland
  • Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • Clinical Fellowship, Pulmonary & Critical Care, University of Miami
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology, University of Miami
  • Other, Internal Medicine, University of Miami
Professional Affiliations
  • American Thoracic Society, Fellow, 2020 - Present
  • Association of Professors of Medicine , Member, 2018 - Present
  • American College of Physicians, Fellow, 2001 - Present
  • American Physiological Society, Member, 2001 - Present
  • American College of Chest Physicians, Fellow, 1999 - Present



Dr. Salathe's laboratory studies airway diseases, from bench to bedside. The laboratory was instrumental in developing programs and microscope setups to measure ciliary beat frequency (CBF) and fluorescent signals (including Ca2+, pH, and FRET for PKA activation) simultaneously in the same single, live cell. The laboratory also adapted measurements for airway surface volume determination. We have established a biorepository of airway epithelial cells from now >600 lungs (organ donors) that are used for air-liquid interface (ALI) cultures, cells from transplant recipients including CF patients kept here in biorepository for non-human research and airway samples from patients with airway diseases (including BAL, brushed cells, exhaled breath condensate, and blood for other analyses including cytokines and genetics). The laboratory developed use of lentiviruses to manipulate airway epithelial cell protein expression. Finally, the laboratory initiated measurements of ion transport activities in ALI cultures that revealed novel pathways of maintaining airway surface liquid volume in normal, smoke/e-cigarette vapor exposed and, importantly, CF airway epithelial cells. Our group has an active clinical trials environment around the themes of cystic fibrosis for PI initiated and pharmaceutically sponsored trials. We are developing novel anti-inflammatory therapies for these patients as well.

Current Research and Grants
  • ACTIV-1: Randomized Blinded Controlled Trial of the Safety and Efficacy of Multiple Therapeutics for the Treatment of COVID-19 in Hospitalized Adults, NIH/NCATS, Site-PI
  • Anti-inflammatory therapy to augment CFTR rescue in CF patients, NIH, PI
  • Designing antibiotics for lung retention after inhalation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation , Co-I
  • Mechanisms of mucociliary dysfunction in cystic fibrosis related diabetes, NIH, Multi-Principal Investigator
  • TRP-mediated airway inflammation by e-cigarette vaping, NIH, PI