Dr. Bradford Smith, Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering was awarded $747,000 over three years to study The Importance of Inhomogeneity in the Pathogenesis of Lung Injury (NIH R00 HL128944). This work is motivated by Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a condition that causes more deaths per year than breast or prostate cancer. Treatment for ARDS is based around supportive mechanical ventilation, but this can cause ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) and worsen outcomes. The major obstacle to developing personalized mechanical ventilation strategies that prevent VILI is an incomplete understanding of the microscale fluid-mechanical forces responsible for injury. In the proposed research, Dr. Smith will investigate the role of alveolar interdependence in the parenchymal stress balance and VILI pathogenesis. A detailed understanding of the stresses and strains that cause VILI will improve the treatment of ARDS and thus reduce mortality for a significant number of people.