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., C. G. Willett, K. Patidar, and S. A. Graham. “Modulation of oncogene and tumor suppressor gene expression in a hamster model of chronic lung injury with varying degrees of pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia.” Lab Invest 70, no. 6 (June 1994): 875–88.


King, K. A., J. Hua, J. S. Torday, J. M. Drazen, S. A. Graham, M. A. Shipp, and M. E. Sunday. “CD10/neutral endopeptidase 24.11 regulates fetal lung growth and maturation in utero by potentiating endogenous bombesin-like peptides.” J Clin Invest 91, no. 5 (May 1993): 1969–73.

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Sunday, M. E., J. Hua, B. Reyes, H. Masui, and J. S. Torday. “Anti-bombesin monoclonal antibodies modulate fetal mouse lung growth and maturation in utero and in organ cultures.” Anat Rec 236, no. 1 (May 1993): 25–32.

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Polak, J. M., K. L. Becker, E. Cutz, D. B. Gail, L. Goniakowska-Witalinska, J. R. Gosney, J. M. Lauweryns, I. Linnoila, E. M. McDowell, and Y. E. Miller. “Lung endocrine cell markers, peptides, and amines.” The Anatomical Record 236, no. 1 (May 1993): 169–71.

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Stephens, N. L., H. Jiang, A. Halayko, D. E. Johnson, S. P. Sorokin, R. F. H. Jr, E. Cutz, et al. “Role of airway smooth muscle in asthma: Possible relation to the neuroendocrine system.” Anatomical Record 236, no. 1 (1993): 152–67.


Speirs, V., E. Bienkowski, V. Wong, E. Cutz, J. M. Polak, D. W. Scheuermann, M. E. Sunday, et al. “Paracrine effects of bombesin/gastrin-releasing peptide and other growth factors on pulmonary neuroendocrine cells in vitro.” Anatomical Record 236, no. 1 (1993): 53–67.


Gosney, J. R., E. S. Nylen, R. F. H. Jr, R. I. Linnoila, D. R. Springall, J. M. Polak, S. P. Sorokin, et al. “Pulmonary neuroendocrine cells in species at high altitude.” Anatomical Record 236, no. 1 (1993): 105–12.


Jr, R. F. H., S. P. Sorokin, E. M. McDowell, N. A. McNelly, J. M. Polak, D. W. Scheuermann, D. E. Johnson, et al. “Neuroepithelial bodies and growth of the airway epithelium in developing hamster lung.” Anatomical Record 236, no. 1 (1993): 15–24.


Johnson, D. E., W. R. Anderson, B. A. Burke, J. M. Polak, R. F. H. Jr, K. L. Becker, N. L. Stephens, M. E. Sunday, and E. Cutz. “Pulmonary neuroendocrine cells in pediatric lung disease: Alterations in airway structure in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia.” Anatomical Record 236, no. 1 (1993): 115–21.


Adriaensen, D., D. W. Scheuermann, E. Cutz, S. P. Sorokin, R. I. Linnoila, J. M. Polak, R. F. H. Jr, S. M. Aguayo, and M. E. Sunday. “Neuroendocrine cells and nerves of the lung.” Anatomical Record 236, no. 1 (1993): 70–86.