Mary Elizabeth Anne Sunday, MD, PhD

Professor of Pathology
Professor in Cell Biology
Professor of Medicine
Professor in Pediatrics
Campus mail Davison Bldg., 2nd Floor, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 681-4945
Email address

Oxygen (O2) is essential for life, but excessive oxygen causes tissue injury, scarring, aging, and death. We are studying mechanisms of injury mediated by O2-sensing pulmonary neuroendocrine cells, especially gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP). GRP secretion is induced by O2-related (oxidant) injury, leading to acute and chronic lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis (PF). Our key model is PF due to ionizing radiation to the thorax. This is clinically relevant to PF triggered by many environmental exposures or autoimmune diseases, as well as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). There is no cure for PF. We seek to reverse fibrotic responses in lung.

Education and Training

  • Research Fellow, Pathology, Children's Hospital, Boston, 1986 - 1987
  • Research & Clinical Fellow, Pathology, Madigan Army Medical Center, 1985 - 1987
  • Research Fellow, Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, 1983 - 1987
  • Resident, Anatomic Pathology, Pathology, Madigan Army Medical Center, 1983 - 1985
  • Intern, Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, 1982 - 1983
  • Ph.D., Harvard University , 1982
  • M.D., Harvard University , 1982
  • B.S., University of Toronto (Canada), 1976


Sunday, M. E. “Corrigendum: Oxygen, gastrin-releasing peptide, and pediatric lung disease: Life in the balance [Front Pediatr, 2, 72 (2014)] doi: 10.3389/fped.2014.00072.” Frontiers in Pediatrics 2, no. OCT (October 1, 2014).

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Zhou, Shutang, Esther Nissao, Isabel L. Jackson, Wei Leong, Lindsay Dancy, Frank Cuttitta, Zeljko Vujaskovic, and Mary E. Sunday. “Radiation-induced lung injury is mitigated by blockade of gastrin-releasing peptide.” Am J Pathol 182, no. 4 (April 2013): 1248–54.

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Lin, Rui, Simone Degan, Barbara S. Theriot, Bernard M. Fischer, Ryan T. Strachan, Jiurong Liang, Richard A. Pierce, et al. “Chronic treatment in vivo with β-adrenoceptor agonists induces dysfunction of airway β(2) -adrenoceptors and exacerbates lung inflammation in mice.” Br J Pharmacol 165, no. 7 (April 2012): 2365–77.

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Ingram, Jennifer L., Molly J. Huggins, Tony D. Church, Yuejuan Li, Dave C. Francisco, Simone Degan, Rafael Firszt, et al. “Airway fibroblasts in asthma manifest an invasive phenotype.” Am J Respir Crit Care Med 183, no. 12 (June 15, 2011): 1625–32.

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Zhou, Shutang, Simone Degan, Erin N. Potts, W Michael Foster, and Mary E. Sunday. “NPAS3 is a trachealess homolog critical for lung development and homeostasis.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106, no. 28 (July 14, 2009): 11691–96.

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Ledford, Julie G., Hisatsugu Goto, Erin N. Potts, Simone Degan, Hong Wei Chu, Dennis R. Voelker, Mary E. Sunday, et al. “SP-A preserves airway homeostasis during Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in mice.” J Immunol 182, no. 12 (June 15, 2009): 7818–27.

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Zaas, David W., Zachary D. Swan, Bethany J. Brown, Guojie Li, Scott H. Randell, Simone Degan, Mary E. Sunday, Jo Rae Wright, and Soman N. Abraham. “Counteracting signaling activities in lipid rafts associated with the invasion of lung epithelial cells by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.” J Biol Chem 284, no. 15 (April 10, 2009): 9955–64.

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