Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

Faculty Profiles

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photo Daniel J. Kass, MD

Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

Associate Professor of Medicine

Director, Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)


Phone: 412-624-7225

Office: Starzl Biomedical Science Tower, W1240
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-624-7225
Fax: 412-624-1670
Administrative Assistant:
Stacie Truszkowski
Phone: 412-624-7225
Fax: 412-624-1670
Education and Training
BA, magna cum laude, Chemistry and Latin, Columbia College, New York, 1995
MD, New York University School of Medicine, 1999
Residency, Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, 2002
Fellowship, Pulmonary and Critical Care, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, 2005
Research Interest
The focus of Dr. Kass' lab is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). It is a progressive, scarring of the alveolar parenchyma that ultimately leads to respiratory failure and death. Pathologically, this disease is characterized by the unremitting accumulation of fibroblasts. These are the cells responsible for the deposition of extracellular matrix in pulmonary fibrosis.

Dr Kass' research has focused on two critical areas of fibroblast biology. The first is the differentiation of fibroblasts to the highly contractile and synthetic myofibroblast. This fundamental feature of fibrosis leads to the deposition of matrix and the contraction of the gas exchange units in the lung that characterizes IPF. Dr Kass and his lab have discovered that the receptor for the hormone relaxin, RXFP1, is decreased in IPF. The loss of this receptor has several implications for patients: first, IPF patients with the lowest expression of RXFP1 have the most compromised pulmonary function. Second, these patients may be relatively insensitive to the anti-fibrotic effects of relaxin-based therapies. Relaxin has been shown to reverse many of the pathologic events associated with myofibroblast differentiation.

Dr Kass has also focused on the role of fibroblasts as regulators of the degree and extent of inflammation in the lung. To this end, he has focused on the role of twist1, a transcription factor with enriched expression in IPF. Deranged expression of twist1, a well-known inhibitor of NF-kappaB signaling, can lead to dramatic changes in the local inflammatory infiltrate in animal models of pulmonary fibrosis.
Clinical Interest
Dr. Kass practices at the Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) with a particular interest in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Since 2001, the Simmons Center has provided outstanding multidisciplinary care to over 4,000 patients with ILD from all over the United States. 31% of the Simmons patients have IPF. 25% have sarcoidosis, and about 12% have ILD associated with autoimmune diseases. Under the direction of Dr Kathleen Lindell, the Simmons Center offers monthly support groups. Simmons providers meet weekly with members of the Divisions of Rheumatology and Cardiology as well as the Departments of Radiology and Pathology to review our cases.
Educational Interest
Dr Kass teaches research methods and critical review of the medical literature to medical students at the Pitt School of Medicine. Dr Kass also teaches Pulmonary Medicine and Interstitial Lung Disease to residents and fellows in the clinic and on the floors of UPMC Presbyterian. Dr Kass has lectured on lung development and fibrosis in the Pitt Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and on interstitial lung disease at the Pitt School of Nursing.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Tan J, Tedrow JR, Dutta JA, Nouraie M, Juan-Guardela B, Chu Y, Trejo Bittar H, Ramani K, Biswas PS, Veraldi KL, Kaminski N, Zhang Y, Kass DJ. Expression of RXFP1 is Decreased in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: Implications for Relaxin-Based Therapies. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2016.
Xue J*, Kass DJ*, Bon J, Vuga L, Tan J, Czimadia E, Otterbein L, Soejima M, Levesque MC, Gibson KF, Kaminski N, Pilewski JM, Sciurba F, Duncan SR. Plasma B-Lymphocyte Stimulator (BLyS) and B-cell Differentiation in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Patients. Journal of Immunology. 2013; 191(5): 2089.
Kass DJ, Yu G, Loh KS, Savir A, Borczuk A, Kahloon R, Juan-Guardela B, Deiuliis G, Tedrow J, Choi J, Richards T, Kaminski N, Greenberg SM. Cytokine-like factor 1 gene expression is enriched in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and drives the accumulation of CD4+ T cells in murine lungs: evidence for an antifibrotic role in bleomycin injury. American Journal of Pathology. 2012; 180(5): 1963.
Yu, G, Herazo-Maya, JD, Nukui, T, Romkes, M, Parwani, A, Juan-Guardela, B, Robertson, J, Gauldie, J, Siegfried, J, Kaminski, N, Kass, DJ. Matrix metalloproteinase-19 promotes metastatic behavior in vitro and is associated with increased mortality in non-small cell lung cancer. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2014; 190(7): 780-90.
Sponsored Research/Activities
Title: Epidemiology of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in Western Pennsylvania R2019-01
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: Boehringer Pharmaceuticals
Grant Number: CONTRACT
Start Year: 2020
End Year: 2022
Title: University of Pittsburgh International Lung Conference 2018--Pulmonary Medicine: Basic Biologies and Novel Therapeutics
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute
Grant Number: R13 HL145999
Start Year: 2018
End Year: 2019
Title: Twist1 Subphenotypes and Pulmonary Fibrosis
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute
Grant Number: R01 HL126990
Start Year: 2015
End Year: 2020
Title: Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes of Hydroxychloroquine Trial (HERO-HCQ Trial)
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: Duke Clinical Research Institue / Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Grant Number: RES
Start Year: 2020
End Year: 2021
Title: A Novel Approach to Reverse the Ineffectiveness of Relaxin-Based Anti-Fibrotic Therapy in SSc
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Health
Grant Number: R21 AR076024
Start Year: 2019
End Year: 2021