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NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Meshell D. Johnson, MD

Staff Physician, Medical Service, SFVAHCS
Assistant Professor of Medicine In Residence, UCSF


Fluid Balance in the Lung

The main function of the lung is gas exchange. Millions of tiny air sacs, called alveoli, take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Certain diseases, such as pulmonary edema or acute respiratory distress syndrome, interfere with the lung's ability to regulate fluid transport and as a result, the alveoli become flooded, causing impairment of gas exchange. A better understanding of how the lung regulates fluid balance will help develop ways to prevent or treat this distress. Dr. Johnson's research focuses on the study of ion (electrically charged atom) and fluid transport in the lung, with an emphasis on ion transport in alveolar type I cells, which cover the vast majority of the internal surface area of the lung. Her work has demonstrated that type I cells transport ions and contain the molecular machinery for active ion transport. Because it was previously thought that type I cells were inert cells that only performed a barrier function in the lung and allowed the passive transport of water, her findings altered the previous paradigms of ion and fluid transport in the lung. Her research continues to focus on understanding the mechanisms of ion and fluid transport in the lung.

To see Dr. Johnson on Pub Med, click here.