Cassano Research Group

The overarching goal of our work is to define the role of nutrition and its interaction with the genome in the etiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Studies completed over the past decade supported a role of nutrients with antioxidant properties in the etiology of lung disease, leading to a randomized trial of nutritional supplementation. The randomized study of vitamin E and selenium studied 3 years of supplement in relation to rate of lung function decline--the first publication is due in early 2015. The role of vitamin D in lung health is under investigation, and several findings were published in 2014/2015.  

Understanding the role of genetic variation, and the interaction between genes and nutrients is a common theme in our projects, with the overall objective to identify prevention targets. The newest study is in collaboration with the CHARGE and SpiroMeta consortia, and investigates gene x nutrient interactions in relation to pulmonary function, focusing on omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and vitamin D.

Current projects include:

  • Randomized controlled trial of selenium and/or vitamin E effects on rate of decline in lung function and risk of COPD
  • GWAS studies of lung function, with CHARGE pulmonary working group, using 1000 genomes and exome chip data
  • Prospective cohort study to investigate genetic variants in vitamin D metabolic and responsive genes in relation to lung outcomes
  • A pilot cohort study for EnHANCE, a research project conducted by the Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, and directed by Dr. Pat Cassano(

Please visit the research page for more detailed information. Current funding sources: NIH R21 HL125574; Past funding sources: NIH R01 HL071022, R03 HL095414 and RC1 AG03583.

Dr. Patricia A. Cassano is an Associate Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, Associate Professor Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and a member of the Graduate Fields of Nutrition and Epidemiology. She currently serves as Director of Graduate Studies for the Field of Epidemiology.