Sally E. Wenzel, MD
Professor of Medicine

Dr. Wenzel is the Director of the University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute and a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program.

Office Location:
UPMC Montefiore
NW 628
3459 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15221
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-692-2139


  • MD - 1981, University of Florida

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Wenzel has had a passion for understanding and improving the treatment of asthma, in particular severe asthma. She served as Chair of the ATS workshop on severe asthma which developed the international consensus definition of severe asthma. She has worked to promote severe asthma as a disease whose pathogenesis goes beyond issues of non-compliance/adherence. Her studies of asthma phenotypes have led the field in understanding the complexities of asthma, and in explaining why mouse models of allergic inflammation do not adequately mirror the human condition.

Research Interests

In relation to her clinical interest in asthma, Dr. Wenzel has developed a strong translational program to study the pathobiology of the human disease. She is one of four NHLBI funded investigators in the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) network. Through SARP and her own efforts, Dr. Wenzel has accumulated a clinical database of nearly 500 subjects with asthma and normal controls, most of whom have matching airway tissue, cells and sputum/lavage. Her lab is one of very few labs which is able to match an extensive clinical phenotype of a subject with responses at a cellular/molecular level. Her current bench-lab interests include the role of epithelial cells in controlling airway inflammatory responses, as well as their interactions with mast cells, Th1 and Th2 cytokines and how cytokines/growth factors interact with the IL-4Ra receptor to enhance Th2 inflammation and mucus production through the 15 lipoxygenase pathway.


Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine

Awards and Honors

  • 2005 - ATS – Elizabeth A. Rich MD Award
  • 2005 - Colorado ALA President’s Award
  • 2010 - American Thoracic Society Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishment
  • 2011 - John E. Salvaggio Memorial Lectureship, AAAAI
  • Best Doctors in America 2001 – Present

Selected Publications

View Dr. Wenzel's publications on PubMed

Balzar S, Fajt M, Comhair S, Erzurum S, Bleecker E, Busse W, Castro M, Gaston B, Israel E, Schwartz LB, Curran-Everett D, Moore C, Wenzel SE. Phenotype, location and activation of mast cells in severe asthma. Data from the Severe Asthma Research Program. E-Pub Sept 2, 2010 Am J Resp Crit Care Med. PMID: 20813890

Gamble C, Talbott E, Youk A, Holguin F, Pitt B, Silveira L, Bleecker E, Busse W, Calhoun W, Castro M, Chung KF, Erzurum S, Israel E, Wenzel SE. Racial differences in biologic predictors of severe asthma: data from the Severe Asthma Research Program. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Nov 2. PMID: 21051082

Zhao J, O'Donnell VB, Balzar S, St Croix CM, Trudeau JB, Wenzel SE. 15-Lipoxygenase 1 interacts with phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein to regulate MAPK signaling in human airway epithelial cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. E-pub 2011 Aug. PMID: 21831839

Wenzel SE. Asthma phenotypes: Evolution from clinical to molecular approaches. Nat Med. 2012 May 4; 18(5):716-25. PMID: 22561835

Zhou X, Haizhen H, Balzar S, Trudeau JB, Wenzel SE. Regulation of IL-4/-13 receptors contributes to the synergistic increase in eotaxin-1 in response to TGF-β1 and IL-13 in human airway fibroblasts. J Immunol. 2012 May 9. PMID: 22573806