Dr. Perlman’'s laboratory studies lung mechanics in the context of acute lung injury. One of the hallmarks of acute lung injury is pulmonary edema, where liquid leaks out of the blood vessels into the airspace of the lung. This liquid-filling of the airspace causes patients to have difficulty breathing.

For breathing assistance, patients with acute lung injury are treated with mechanical ventilation. In providing sufficient gas exchange, however, mechanical ventilation can cause over-distension injury of the lungs and prevent recovery. The mortality rate is about 30% and patients often die from the ventilator injury, not the underlying lung disease.

To address this problem, her research analyzes the inflation mechanics of the edematous lung. The goal is to use her understanding of mechanics to inform development of novel treatment methods that reduce ventilator induced lung injury.