Sanjay Sethi, MD, right, accepts the 2019 Stockton Kimball Award for outstanding scientific achievement and service from Michael E. Cain, MD.

COPD Specialist Wins Stockton Kimball Award

Published June 24, 2019

story by dirk hoffman

Sanjay Sethi, MD, professor of medicine and assistant vice president for health sciences, has received the 2019 Stockton Kimball Award for outstanding scientific achievement and service.


As chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine, Sethi specializes in pulmonology, and his primary clinical and research interest is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He is listed as one of the top five COPD specialists in the country.

Began Career at UB in 1990

In presenting the award, Suzanne G. Laychock, PhD, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and facilities, noted Sethi “more than fulfills the criteria for the award that recognizes a professional career of consistent academic accomplishment, a national and international recognition for scholarship and significant research contributions.”

“Dr. Sethi has exemplified excellence in its broadest sense, and we at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences are fortunate to have the benefit of his extensive contributions to his field, the university and school.”

Sethi began his career at UB as a pulmonary/critical care fellow and clinical instructor in 1990 and gained additional research training following the clinical fellowship as a recipient of the Dr. Henry C. and Bertha H. Buswell Fellowship.

He has served as staff physician at the Buffalo VA Medical Center since 1993 and moved through the academic ranks at UB to be promoted to associate professor in 2001 and to professor in 2006.

Sethi is board certified in pulmonary disease and sees lung disease patients in UBMD clinics and affiliated hospitals. He is a UB Exceptional Scholar — Sustained Achievement awardee and a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Recent Studies Involve Microbiome in COPD

His research spans his interests in COPD and respiratory infections, especially in the causation, treatment and prevention of COPD exacerbations. His recent work has utilized contemporary “omics,” including studies of the microbiome, epigenome and system biology.

Sethi has published 208 papers and edited two books. He has also made 127 national and international presentations on his research and clinical interests. The work done by Sethi and his colleagues has fundamentally changed the paradigm of the role of bacterial infection in COPD from being regarded as an epiphenomenon to now being understood as a major driver of disease progression.

He is currently funded as co-principal investigator on a Department of Defense grant and site investigator for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) trial.

Sethi was also a co-investigator on the Clinical and Translational Science Award given to the Jacobs School in 2015 and has served as principal investigator on single and multi-site research grants funded by the NIH, industry and Veterans Affairs Merit Awards.

Extensive Contributions in Field of Teaching

Laychock noted that Sethi has spent the majority of his career at UB and has made significant contributions to the school and university during this time.

“His teaching contributions are extensive, and he has trained many postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students and serves as course director for the medical course IMC 604 Pulmonary Medicine,” she said.

“In addition, he has led medical student small group sessions and problem solving, and he has trained third- and fourth-year medical students, fellows and residents on the wards.”

‘Exemplary’ Service is Far-Reaching

Laychock said Sethi’s service is also “exemplary,” noting he has served on the editorial boards of eight journals and on the international advisory board for Thorax, one of the world’s leading respiratory medicine journals, in addition to providing many ad hoc journal reviews.

Sethi has also provided grant reviews for the NIH, Veterans Administration and many international review bodies over many years. He was a regular study section member for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute from 2010 to 2014 and the Pulmonary Study Section for the Veterans Affairs Merit Review Program.

Locally, he served as vice chair for research for the Department of Medicine for four years, as director of the Clinical Research Office and most recently as assistant vice president for health sciences.

Award Honors Former Medical School Dean

Sethi accepted the honor June 18 during the Jacobs School’s Faculty and Staff Recognition Awards celebration.

He will deliver the Stockton Kimball Lecture in 2020.

The award and lecture recognize an outstanding scholar and researcher who has also contributed significantly to the school. It is named in memory of Stockton Kimball, MD ’29, dean of the medical school from 1946 to 1958.