Current KL2 Scholar
David McCulley, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the UW-Madison Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology. As a clinician, Dr. McCulley cares for infants born prematurely or who have developmental anomalies that impair lung or pulmonary vascular development and function. As a developmental biologist, his research is focused on understanding the primary developmental defects of the lung and pulmonary vasculature associated with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). CDH is a common birth defect associated with a 20-40% mortality rate. Despite its severity, little is known about the genetic and developmental mechanisms of the disease and as a result therapeutic options remain limited.
The goal of McCulley’s research is to demonstrate the mechanisms by which a gene known to be crucial for diaphragm formation, pre-B-cell leukemia factor 1 (Pbx1) controls postnatal alveologenesis and pulmonary vascular development. The results of these investigations will be applicable not only to patients with CDH but also to infants born prematurely or with developmental anomalies that impair normal lung development.
McCulley’s mentors include Xin Sun, PhD (SMPH, Genetics), Marlowe Eldridge, MD, MSME (SMPH Pediatrics), Naomi Chesler, PhD (College of Engineering Biomedical Engineering).