Dr. Lahm is a physician scientist with a focus on the study of right ventricular (RV) function in pulmonary hypertension (PH). The overall goal of his research is to identify novel therapeutic interventions for PH and PH-induced RV dysfunction. In particular, he is interested in the contribution of sex hormones to pulmonary artery endothelial cell (PAEC) proliferation and adaptive and maladaptive RV remodeling in PH. His laboratory was the first to show that 17β-estradiol (E2) attenuates hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular and RV remodeling via estrogen receptor (ER)α- and ERβ-dependent mechanisms. His investigations revealed for the first time that E2 exerts specific anti-proliferative effects on PAECs during hypoxia, but not during normoxia. His laboratory is now focusing on effects of ERα signaling on cell survival pathways in the RV. The Lahm lab recently demonstrated for the first time that E2 exerts protective effects on RV function in severe angioproliferative PH and identified ERα as a potential mediator of these effects. Other areas of interest in the Lahm lab center around the study of mechanisms of cell death in RV failure, such as autophagy. In collaborative studies with investigators at Indiana University and other institutions, Dr. Lahm studies RV-pulmonary vascular interactions after postnatal hyperoxia exposure (with Dr. Kara Goss; University of Wisconsin), exercise effects on RV function (with Dr. Mary Beth Brown; IU Department of Physical Therapy), effects of chronic hypoxia on lung development (with Dr. Robert Tepper; IU Department of Pediatrics), and mechanisms of EMAP II-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling (with Dr. Matthias Clauss; IU Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology).
Dr. Lahm’s clinical interest is in pulmonary vascular disease, right heart failure and critical care medicine. He sees patients at the Indiana University Pulmonary Vascular Disease Center and the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center. He performs clinical studies focusing on unique characteristics and phenotypes of PH in veterans, optimization of exercise interventions for PH patients (with Dr. Mary Beth Brown), and nitric oxide treatment for acute pulmonary embolism (with Dr. Jeff Kline; IU Department of Emergency Medicine).
Dr. Lahm is heavily involved with multiple professional societies, such as the American Thoracic Society, The Pulmonary Hypertension Association and the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute. He takes particular pride in his mentoring activities, which include the training of post-doctoral fellows, residents, as well as Life Health Sciences Initiative (LHSI) students, Bridges to Baccalaureate students, and Project SEED students.