Nicola Hanania, M.D.

Principal Investigator

As a pulmonary physician in Houston, Nicola Hanania, M.D., has had plenty of opportunity to observe the relationship between ozone and asthma. Dr. Hanania, Principal Investigator of the ACRC at Baylor College of Medicine, has been studying how the environment affects asthma control. He is co-investigator of a study that is looking at the effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution on asthma in middle school children. "Unfortunately, Houston received a grade of "F" for ozone air pollution yet again this year in the American Lung Association's State of the Air report, so we have a big problem with air pollution and asthma here," he says. The Chair of the Environmental Health Committee for the American Lung Association of Texas, Houston and Southeast Region, Dr. Hanania has studied the correlation between ozone levels and emergency room visits for asthma.

Dr. Hanania also is interested in the role of beta agonists in the management of asthma. He is  studying whether pharmacological differences between beta agonists translate into differences in asthma control.

Dr. Hanania was the Principal Investigator for a substudy done in conjunction with the first ACRC study, which investigated the immune response to the influenza vaccine in asthmatics receiving high doses of inhaled steroids. "We found that while inhaled steroids do not affect the response to the influenza A antigen but may lower the response to the influenza B antigen in patients with asthma," he says.  This study has now been published in the Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology.

The Chair of the American College of Chest Physicians' Pulmonary Network, Dr. Hanania is also involved in researching drugs for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as studying new physiologic predictors of clinical response to treatment in patients with COPD.