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Find Faculty / David Hill

Contact Information:

David Hill

7109 Marsico Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Research Areas:
  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Ph.D., Wake Forest University, 2003
  • B.S., Stetson University, Physics, 1998


During normal respiration, thousands of bacteria and other airborne irritants are inhaled every hour. Despite this constant intake of pathogens, the body is able to maintain sterility in the airways below the larynx. The task of accomplishing this feat falls to the protect airway surface layer, a two-phase liquid consisting of a viscoelastic mucus layer as well as the periciliary layer through which cilia beat, clearing mucus from the airways. In diseases such as cystic fibrosis, the mucus layer becomes increasingly solid-like, leading to a decrease in mucus clearance as well as an increase in infections and inflammation. To understand the phenomena of mucociliary clearance, it is necessary to understand the physical properties of the mucus layer as well as the driving forces that propel the fluid: forces imparted on the mucus layer by beating cilia. It is the goal of my research to characterize and model the airway surface liquid in terms of its physical properties, chemical composition, flow and response to pathogenic material. The primary interest of my research is how mucociliary clearance is affected by muco-obstructive pulmonary diseases such as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis and asthma.

Research Interests

Mucus Composition, Structure, Rheology, and Flow
Mucus Adhesion
Cilia Force Generation
Muco-obstructive Pulmonary Disesase

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