Richard Casaburi, Ph.D., M.D.

Richard Casaburi, PhD, MD

Investigator, The Lundquist Institute
Associate Chief for Research, Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Physiology and Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Medical Director, Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center, LA BioMed


Chronic and Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), exercise physiology, pulmonary rehabilitation

Research Description

Dr. Casaburi is an internationally renowned expert on Chronic and Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), now the third leading cause of death in the United States. He has extensive experience in clinical trials evaluating interventions designed to improve the lives of COPD patients. Pulmonary rehabilitation has been a major focus; his laboratory’s work has been a key driver in the establishment of the physiologic basis of rehabilitative strategies. He has held the Grancell/Burns Chair in the Rehabilitative Sciences since 2001; he is the Chair of the Rehabilitation Assembly of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) in 2017-2019 and is a member of the Board of Directors of both the ATS and the COPD Foundation. Dr. Casaburi has been Site Principal Investigator for 3 NHLBI-sponsored long-term large-scale multicenter clinical trials. He has published over 300 scientific papers (Google Scholar h-index=81, total citations=56,541), 280 abstracts and has given over 750 invited lectures across the United States and abroad. He is Co-Medical Director of the Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center whose laboratories occupy one-third of a 24,000 ft2 research facility, the Chronic Disease Clinical Research Center, purpose-built with NIH funding in 2012, where multiple concurrent clinical research studies are performed. Exercise testing and training are major areas of the laboratory’s expertise.


  • BS, 1968, Rensselaer Polytech Institute, Troy, NY
  • MEng, 1969, Rensselaer Polytech Institute, Troy, NY
  • PhD, 1971, Rensselaer Polytech Institute, Troy, NY
  • MD, 1980, University of Miami, Miami, FL

Recent and/or Significant Publications

Casaburi, R. and R. ZuWallack. Pulmonary rehabilitation for the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. New Engl. J. Med. 360:1329-1335, 2009.
Weiss, D., R. Casaburi, R. Flannery, M. Williams, D. Tashkin. A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in COPD. Chest. 143:1590-1598, 2013.
Porszasz, J., R. Cao, R. Morishige, L.A. van Eykern, A. Stenzler, R. Casaburi. Physiologic effects of an ambulatory ventilation system in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 188:334-342, 2013.
Maltais, F., M. Decramer, R. Casaburi, E. Barreiro, Y. Burelle, R. Debigaré, P.N.R. Dekhuijzen, F. Franssen, G. Gayan-Ramirez, J. Gea, H.R. Gosker, R. Gosselink, M. Hayot, S.N.A. Hussain, W. Janssens, M.I. Polkey, J. Roca, D. Saey, A.M.W.J. Schols, M.A. Spruit, M. Steiner, T. Taivassalo, T. Troosters, I. Vogiatzis, P.D. Wagner. An official American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society Statement: Update on limb muscle dysfunction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 189(9):e15-e62, 2014.
Criner, G.J., J. Connett, S. Aaron, R. Albert, W. Bailey, R. Casaburi, A. Cooper, J. Curtis, M. Dransfield, M. Han, B. Make, N. Marchetti, F. Martinez, D. Niewoehner, P. Scanlon, F. Sciurba, S. Scharf, D. Sin, H. Voelker, G. Washko, P. Woodruff and S. Lazarus, for the NHLBI COPD Clinical Research Network and the Canadian Institute of Health Research. Prospective randomized placebo-controlled trial of simvastatin in the prevention of COPD exacerbations (STATCOPE). N. Engl. J. Med. 370:2201-2210, 2014.
Casaburi, R., F. Maltais, J. Porszasz, F. Albers, Q. Deng, A. Iqbal, H.A. Paden, D.E. O’Donnell. Effects of tiotropium on hyperinflation and treadmill exercise tolerance in mild–moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Ann. American Thoracic Soc. 11(9):1351-1361,2014.
Casaburi, R., J. Nakata, L. Bistrong, E. Torres, M. Rambod, J. Porszasz. Effect of megestrol acetate and testosterone on body composition and hormonal responses in COPD cachexia. J. COPD Foundation: Chronic Obstr Pulm Dis (Miami). 3(1): 389-397, 2015
Wise, R.,
R. Albert, D. Au, A. Blackford, R.
Casaburi, A. Cooper, G. Criner, P.
Diaz, A.
S. Gay, R.
Kanner, N. MacIntyre,
F. Martinez, R.
S. Piantadosi, F.
Sciurba, D.
Shade, T. Stibolt, J.
Stoller, R.
Yusen, J.
Tonascia, A.
Sternberg, W. Bailey. A randomized trial of long-term oxygen treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with moderate desaturation. New Engl. J. Med. 375:1617-27, 2016.
Roman, M.A., H.B. Rossiter, R. Casaburi. Exercise, ageing and the lung. In the State of the Art Series: Multimorbidity and the Lung. Edited by Fabbri, L.M., J.M. Drazen. Eur. Respir. J. 48:1471-1486, 2016.
Adami, A., R. Cao, J. Porszasz, R. Casaburi, H.B. Rossiter. Reproducibility of NIRS assessment of muscle oxidative capacity in smokers with and without COPD. Respir. Physiol. Neurobiol. 235:18-26, 2016.


Dr. Richard Casaburi Discusses COPD on American Health Journal