Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine
3459 Fifth Avenue,
628 NW
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Academic Office: (412) 692-2210
Comprehensive Lung Center (Patient Care and Referral): (412) 648-6161

Timothy E. Corcoran, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering
W1256 Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
203 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: 412-647-8477
Fax: 412-383-7113
Assistant: M. Sharon Droppa
Assistant Email:


Dr. Corcoran is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division.  He also holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.  He completed his Ph.D. in Bioengineering at Carnegie Mellon University in 2000, after completing his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Lehigh University.

Academic and Research Interests

Dr. Corcoran’s primary research interests include aerosol drug delivery and aerosol-based nuclear imaging of the lung.  He has been extensively involved in the development of inhaled medications for lung transplant recipients and cystic fibrosis patients and the development special techniques for improving inhaled drug delivery such as the use of low density gases and surfactants to improve drug distribution in the lungs.   Dr. Corcoran had developed imaging techniques for quantifying pulmonary physiology including measurements of mucociliary clearance and liquid absorption in the airways. These techniques have been tested in a series of clinical studies involving adult and pediatric patients and will be used to screen new medications for treating lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis.  Dr. Corcoran is currently the Principal Investigator of two NIH RO1 grants.  He has previously directed research funded by the U.S. Army and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Figure 1:

Nuclear imaging techniques are used to depict an inhaled immunosuppressant in the lungs of a lung transplant recipient.  These techniques can be used to measure deposited aerosol medication doses.

Figure 2: Animation showing aerosol depositing in the lungs during a nebulizer treatment with an anti-fungal medication.

Figure 3: Mucociliary clearance in the lungs over 80 minutes as depicted using Technetium 99m sulfur colloid particles.   Deposited particles are cleared from the lungs through the trachea prior to being swallowed.

Key Publications

Corcoran TE, Thomas KM, Brown S, Myerburg MM, Locke LW, and Pilewski JM.  Liquid hyper-absorption as a cause of increased DTPA clearance in the cystic fibrosis airway, EJNMMI Res, 2013, 27; 3(1): 14.  PMID:  23446051.

Corcoran, T.E, Thomas, K.M., Garoff, S., Tilton, R.D., Przybycien, T.M., Pilewski, J.M. Imaging the post deposition dispersion of an inhaled surfactant aerosol, J Aerosol Medicine Pulm Drug Del, 2012, 25(5):290-6 PMID: 22393908.

Corcoran, T.E., Thomas KM, Myerburg MM, Muthukrishnan A, Weber L, Frizzell R, Pilewski JM. Absorptive clearance of DTPA as an aerosol-based biomarker in the cystic fibrosis airway. Eur Respir J, 2010, 35(4):781-6. PMID: 19717485.

Iacono, A.T., Johnson, B.A., Grgurich, W.F., Youssef, J.G., Corcoran, T.E., Seiler, D.A., Dauber, J.H., Smaldone, G.C., Zeevi, A., Yousem, S.A., Fung, J.J., Burckart, G.J., McCurry, K.R., and Griffith, B.P., A Randomized Trial of Inhaled Cyclosporine in Lung Transplant Recipients, N Engl J Med, 2006, 354:141-150. PMID: 16407509.

Corcoran TE, Venkataramanan R, Mihelc KM, Marcinkowski AL, Ou J, McCook BM, Weber L, Carey ME, Paterson DL, Pilewski JM, McCurry KR, Husain S. Aerosol deposition of lipid complex amphotericin-B (Abelcet) in lung transplant recipients. Am J Transplant. 2006 Nov;6(11):2765-73. PMID: 17049064.

PubMed Link


Dr. Corcoran is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery

Clinical trials involving Dr. Corcoran

A description of Dr. Corcoran’s collaboration with the Physics and Chemical Engineering Departments at Carnegie Mellon University

Articles from the Pittsburgh Business Times and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette describing Dr. Corcoran’s studies with the U.S. Army.

News release regarding successful completion of Phase I studies of Inhaled Atropine

News coverage of a presentation by Dr. Corcoran on inhaled immunosuppressants for lung transplant recipients