Dean Schraufnagel, MD, program director of pulmonary and critical care at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine, has been named the next president of the American Thoracic Society, according to an announcement from the school. Schraufnagel’s term will begin next May.

"Dr. Schraufnagel has a strong national and international reputation as both an effective pulmonary physician and an innovative translational pulmonary scientist," said John W. Christman, MD, chief of pulmonary, critical care, sleep and allergy at UIC. "His tireless and focused energy, enlightened wit, strong intelligence and determination will benefit the American Thoracic Society, one of our most influential professional organizations."

According to UIC, Schraufnagel is a specialist in pulmonary disorders, including schleroderma, mycobacterial diseases, pulmonary vascular disease, bronchiectasis and sickle cell lung disease. In addition to his clinical interests, Schraufnagel’s research interests include clinical and basic science investigations in pulmonary disorders.

"My interest in mycobacterias began when I contracted TB myself during my fellowship," said Schraufnagel. The experience led to his interest in bronchiectasis. Schraufnagel is on the board of directors of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. He helped in the effort to have 2010 declared the Year of the Lung and is editing a book on respiratory disease, which he hopes will introduce the issues of lung disease and research to a wide audience.

"This is a very exciting time in our field because we are really starting to understand the basics of lung disease," said Schraufnagel in the announcement of his presidency. "We can see cures coming, if not immediately, certainly in our children’s lifetime."