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Lynn Schnapp MD

Lynn M Schnapp MD

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  • Professor
  • College of Medicine
  • Medicine
Academic Focus
  • Mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis
  • Acute lung injury
  • HIV-related lung diseases
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Lynn M Schnapp, MD is Professor of Medicine and Division Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  She received her BS from MIT and her MD from University of Pennsylvania, where she also completed her medical residency.  Dr. Schnapp completed a Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship at UCSF, where she remained on faculty for several years before moving her research program to Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY.   She returned west to University of Washington in 2000 where she rose to the rank of Professor of Medicine, in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.   At UW, she directed the Respiratory Cell Molecular Biology Research Track and led the Career Development Core for the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award.  In Dec, 2013, she relocated to MUSC to assume the position of Division Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy Medicine.

Dr Schnapp is an established NIH-funded investigator in cell and molecular biology with clinical and research expertise in lung injury and repair. She is using unique mouse models to identify cells and pathways that may be potential targets for lung injury. Her research areas include:

Lung Injury and Repair.  Dr Schnapp has focused on the role of matrix remodeling in lung injury, repair and fibrosis.  She began her research career trying to identify and characterize novel members of the integrin family, which led her to clone the human integrin a8 subunit and identifying the integrin a8b1 as a receptor for three components of the extracellular matrix enriched at sites of tissue injury and fibrosis (including in the lung).  She first demonstrated the role of a8b1 in pulmonary fibrosis in an important paper in Am J Pathology and described its unique expression pattern in lung myofibroblasts and hepatic stellate cells.   She followed up this line of investigation by identifying latent TGFb as a novel ligand of a8b1, which adds a unique twist to the role of a8b1 role in pulmonary fibrosis.  More recently, she has focused on the origin of lung myofibroblasts, and performed key fate mapping experiments demonstrating the importance of pericytes as myofibroblast progenitors in the lung.    

Impact of HIV infection on lung injury. Since early in the HIV epidemic, pulmonary diseases have been among the most common complications of HIV, which is unchanged in the era of antiretroviral therapy. How HIV impacts the pathogenesis of lung diseases is unclear. Dr Schnapp’s seminal 2000 paper in the Journal of Immunology was the first suggestion that a component of the extracellular matrix (fibronectin) could be an important co-factor in HIV infection. That paper has triggered considerable interest in this previously unexpected effect. Dr Schnapp showed how this effect works (by increasing the stability and infectivity of HIV virions and that HIV infection itself affects secretion of fibronectin by infected lymphocytes – an important potential positive feedback loop. She applied her expertise in proteomics to analyze the HIV BAL proteome which demonstrated that HIV appears to induce local immunosuppression in the lung, which may contribute to the increased susceptibility of HIV(+) patients to develop a wide range of infectious and noninfectious pulmonary diseases.  Her recent work has focused on the role of HIV infection on the pathogenesis of emphysema.

Biomarker analysis.  Dr Schnapp is one of the early innovators in developing shotgun proteomics for bronchoalveolar lavage fluid to identify new pathways involved in lung injury. She incorporated to state-of-the-art computational and pathway-focused network analysis to lung proteomics data in order to identify novel pathways for involved in ARDS, and predictors of ventilator associated pneumonia.  Her proteomic analysis led to the identification of IGF pathway as a therapeutic target in lung injury, which resulted in patent award.  Her study comparing mouse and human lung proteome illustrated critical differences in lung proteomes, which are important considerations when extrapolating mouse studies to humans.  

Education and Mentorship. She is also recognized for her long-standing commitment to mentorship and leadership in research training and has received several honors for mentoring. Her prior trainees hold faculty positions at esteemed institutions including the University of Washington, Yale University and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her national leadership experience includes numerous leadership positions in the American Thoracic Society including Chair of the Respiratory, Cell, and Molecular Biology (RCMB) Assembly,  RCMB Program Chair for the ATS International Conference, Chair of the Membership Committee, and Executive Board member.  She has been an active mentor in several programs that support the participation of underrepresented minority students (including high school students and undergraduates) such as the NIH Minority Access for Research Careers (MARC) Program and the NHLBI Stipends for Training Aspiring Researchers (STAR) Program.