Dr. Whitsett has made a series of groundbreaking contributions in pulmonary medicine and biology in his studies of the surfactant proteins A, B, C and D, cloning their genes and clarifying their roles in lung development and function. Throughout his career, Dr. Whitsett has transitioned from molecular biology to animal models and then to the diagnosis and therapy of human disease. Importantly, he has played a critical role in making surfactant protein replacement routine in the treatment of immature lungs and respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants. Notably, his laboratory has contributed to the identification of a number of genes critical for lung formation and function and shown that mutations in genes regulating surfactant homeostasis are responsible for acute and chronic lung disease in infants and adults. Dr. Whitsett is the author of over 500 papers in both the basic science and clinical literature.
Dr. Whitsett is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of various awards, including the Mead Johnson Award, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Merit Award, the William Cooper Procter Award from Cincinnati Children's, the Amberson Lecture Award of the American Thoracic Society, and the prestigious Daniel Drake Medal for scientific contributions from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, the highly respected Arvo Ylppö Medal Award from Finland, and the Grand Hamdan International Award on Neonatal Medicine from the United Arab Emirates.