Mary Elizabeth Anne Sunday

Mary Elizabeth Anne Sunday
Professor of Pathology
Third Year Mentor - Clinical Research Study Program (CRSP)
Third Year Mentor - Pathology Study Program (PSP)
Campus mail: Davison Bldg., 2nd Floor, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 681-4945

Oxygen (O2) is essential for life, but excessive oxygen causes tissue injury, scarring, aging, and death. We are studying mechanisms of injury mediated by O2-sensing pulmonary neuroendocrine cells, especially gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP). GRP secretion is induced by O2-related (oxidant) injury, leading to acute and chronic lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis (PF). Our key model is PF due to ionizing radiation to the thorax. This is clinically relevant to PF triggered by many environmental exposures or autoimmune diseases, as well as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). There is no cure for PF. We seek to reverse fibrotic responses in lung.

Education and Training

  • University of Toronto (Canada), B.S. 1976
  • Harvard University , M.D. 1982
  • Harvard University , Ph.D. 1982
  • Johns Hopkins University, Intern, Internal Medicine
  • Madigan Army Medical Center, Resident, Anatomic Pathology, Pathology
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Research Fellow, Medicine
  • Madigan Army Medical Center, Research & Clinical Fellow, Pathology
  • Children's Hospital Boston, Research Fellow, Pathology


Airway epithelial cells: current concepts and challenges.

The adult human bronchial tree is covered with a continuous layer of epithelial cells that play a critical role in maintaining the conduit for air, and which are central to the defenses of the lung against inhaled environmental concomitants.

Airway fibroblasts in asthma manifest an invasive phenotype.

Invasive cell phenotypes have been demonstrated in malignant transformation, but not in other diseases, such as asthma. Cellular invasiveness is thought to be mediated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).