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My long-term goal is to understand the role of the lung microbiota in the pathogenesis of inflammatory lung disorders. In conjunction with collaborators including Dr. Chris Wendt (pulmonologist) and Dr. Cavan Reilly (biostatistician), I have investigated the COPD lung microbiota in order to discover microbiota characteristics that may lead to disease. Our work thus far has resulted in 10 publications on the human lung microbiota. I am currently analyzing two clinical studies at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center which were funded by my 5-year independent career development award—both of which evaluate the lung microbiota in COPD. I also held two other early-career investigator grants from the University of Minnesota and a research grant from the American Lung Association to support my work on the lung microbiota. In addition, we recently published a clinical trial of chlorhexidine mouthwash and its effects on the oral and lung microbiota in COPD. I recently completed a "transition to independence" award from the University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute. I recently began a VA Merit Award-funded study examining correlations between airborne pollution exposure among veterans deployed to southwest Asia and the sputum, oral, and stool microbiota. Our work on the lung microbiota draws on my knowledge of infectious disease, pulmonary medicine, and microbiology, and allows me to extend these skills to a much more complex model of disease—one involving multiple bacterial organisms in the human lung.