Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

Michael J. Welsh, MD

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Director, Pappajohn Biomedical Institute
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Professor of Neurosurgery
Professor of Internal Medicine - Pulmonary, Critical Care and Occupational Medicine
Professor of Neurology

Contact Information

Iowa City, IA 52242


BS, University of Iowa
MD, The University of Iowa
Resident, Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Fellow, University of California, San Francisco
Fellow, University of Texas Medical School, Houston

Licensure and Certifications

Pulmonary Disease Specialty - American Board of Internal Medicine
American Board of Internal Medicine
Iowa License

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine, Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

The Welsh laboratory emphasizes research in two main areas. The first is understanding the biology of cystic fibrosis (CF), a common lethal genetic disease, and developing new treatments. Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in the gene that encodes the CFTR anion channel. Welsh and his colleagues are learning how the CFTR anion channel is regulated and how mutations disrupt its function. They also focus on the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis lung disease, learning how the loss of CFTR causes the bacterial airway infections and inflammation that destroy the lung. To test key hypotheses, they developed a porcine model of cystic fibrosis that develops all the hallmarks of the human disease. Their studies of this model are providing a new understanding of the disease and are aiding the development of novel therapies. The lab also studies the molecular biology and physiology of changes in brain pH and the effect on acid sensing ion channels and neural function. They are particularly interested in understanding the bases of fear memory and how that memory might be altered to treat people with PTSD.