The research of Andrew H. Limper, M.D., explores how the lungs defend against and eliminate fungal infections, such as pneumocystis pneumonia, in people with impaired defense systems. Lung infections, called pneumonias, are particularly life-threatening in people with weakened host immunity.
Dr. Limper and his team find new ways, beyond traditional antibiotics, to prevent and fight lung infections in these individuals. Research approaches include molecular analysis, applied immunology, cellular and animal models of infection, and studies of human infections.
Additionally, his research interests focus on interstitial lung diseases and pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Limper’s laboratory team studies the causes and mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis to identify new combinations of medicines that may be beneficial for people with these disorders. His studies of pulmonary fibrosis also employ large real-world data analysis, radiological imaging and artificial intelligence approaches. These methods facilitate earlier accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of people with these disorders.
Dr. Limper heads the Thoracic Diseases Research Unit at Mayo Clinic. This unit is an integrated group of scientists and clinicians studying a variety of lung diseases, including lung infections, asthma, COPD, lung cancer, lung fibrosis, interstitial diseases and vasculitis.
- Dr. Limper and his team have identified novel classes of medicines that strongly suppress infection in fungal pneumonias. His team has found important components in the lungs that can help clear infection quickly and promote lung healing. Dr. Limper’s studies in pneumocystis pneumonia, and other fungal infections, indicate that these findings hold significant promise for treating serious fungal infections of the lung.
- Dr. Limper’s lung fibrosis studies leverage large patient datasets and CT imaging data. His team uses traditional statistical and epidemiological analysis, as well as machine learning approaches, to find new ways to more accurately diagnose people with early lung fibrosis and implement effective therapies to improve outcomes.
Significance to patient care
Fungal pneumonias such as pneumocystis pneumonia and invasive aspergillus pneumonia have high fatality rates in people who are immunocompromised. These fatality rates exceed 50% in some cases. Better treatments are required to improve survival rates in people with these serious infections. The research of Dr. Limper and his team strives to develop new medicines to treat these fungal pneumonias.
People with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis experience progressive loss of lung function, leading to death in 3 to 5 years on average after diagnosis. The disease is often misdiagnosed with the correct diagnosis being delayed for several years, limiting the effectiveness of available therapies. Early accurate diagnosis and appropriate use of effective therapies promise better outcomes for people with this serious disease.
- Director, Thoracic Diseases Research Unit, Division of Pulmonary Critical Care and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2012-present.
- Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2006.
- Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Associate Dean for Practice Transformation, Mayo Clinic, 2017-2021.
- Chair, Pulmonary and Critical Care, Mayo Clinic, 2004-2012.