photo of Robert Foronjy

Robert Foronjy, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Education and Training:
  • St. Joseph's University – BA, BS 1990
  • Temple School of Medicine – MD, 1995
  • Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center – Internal Medicine Residency, 1995-1998
  • Columbia University Medical Center – Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship, 1998-2001
Career / Research Interests:

After graduating from Temple Medical School in 1995, Dr. Foronjy completed his internal medicine residency and then pulmonary and critical care fellowship training at Columbia University Medical Center. Upon completing fellowship in 2001, he joined the faculty at Columbia and began his career in basic and translational science. This research focused on better understanding the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). During this time at Columbia, Dr. Foronjy developed both genetic and disease exposure models in mice to study the underlying causes of COPD. Using these animal models, he showed for the first time that a lung antioxidant, superoxide dismutase-1, could protect against smoke-induced inflammation and emphysema formation thus establishing the therapeutic potential of antioxidants for this disease. His work on redox biology of the lung was awarded an NIH grant and, in 2011, he was recruited to become the Director of Lung Research at St. Luke's Roosevelt Medical Center. Over the next several years his research group demonstrated that antioxidants mediate their protective effects by increasing protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activity in the lung. Furthermore, his research group showed that the serum protein alpha one antitrypsin acts via PP2A to counter the inflammatory and proteolytic processes that result in the development of COPD. These studies established novel anti-inflammatory effects for both PP2A and A1AT in the lung. In 2015, Dr. Foronjy accepted the position as Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. Here, his research group continues to work to identify the basic mechanisms of lung injury in COPD and other pulmonary diseases in order to develop better treatments for patients in the future. In addition, the research group is dedicated to training young faculty, fellows, residents, medical and doctoral students in translational lung science.

  • Foronjy R., and D'Armiento J. The role of collagenase in emphysema. Respir Res. 2001;2(6):348-52.
  • Shiomi, T., Okada, Y., Foronjy, R., Schiltz, J., Jaenish, R., and D'Armiento, J. Emphysematous changes are caused by degradation of type III collagen in transgenic mice over expressing tissue collagenase. Experimental Lung Research. 2003. 29(1): 1-15.
  • Foronjy, R, Okada Y., Cole, R and D'Armiento, J. Progressive Adult-Onset Emphysema In Transgenic Mice Expressing MMP-1. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2003 May;284(5):L727-37.
  • Foronjy, R., Mercer, B., Maxfield, M., Okada, Y., Powell, C. and D'Armiento, J. Structural Emphysema Does Not Correlate with Lung Compliance: Lessons from the Mouse Smoking Model. Experimental Lung Research 2005 Jul-Aug;31(6):547-62.
  • Klotz, S., Foronjy, R., Dickstein, M., Gu, A., Garrelds, I., Danser, A.H., Oz, M., D'Armiento, J., Burkoff, D. Mechanical Unloading During LVAD Support Increases Left Ventricular Collagen Cross-linking and Myocardial Stiffness. Circulation 2005 Jul 19;112(3):364-74
  • Foronjy, R., Mirochnitchenko, O., Propokenko, O., Lemaitre, V., Jia, Y., Inouye, M., Okada, Y. and D'Armiento, J. Superoxide Dismutase Expression Attenuates Cigarette Smoke or Elastase Generated Emphysema in Mice American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2006. Mar 15. 173(6):623-631.
  • Foronjy, R. and D'Armiento, J. The Effect of Cigarette Smoke Derived Oxidants on the Inflammatory Response of the Lung. Clinical and Applied Immunology Reviews 2006. Jan-Feb;6(1):53-72.
  • Wise, B., Connett, J., D'Armiento, J., Foronjy, R., Friedman, P., Goldin, J., Louis, T., Mao, J., Muindi, J., O'Connor, G., Ramsdell, J., Ries, A., Roth, M., Scharf, S., Schluger, N., Sciurba, F., Skeans, M., Walter, B. and Wendt, C. Clinical, Functional, Biochemical and Imaging Outcomes from the Feasibility of Retinoid Treatment for Emphysema (FORTE) Study Chest 2006. 130:1334-1345.
  • Klotz, S., Danzer, J., Foronjy, R., Oz, M., Wang, J., Mancini, D., D'Armiento, J. and Burkhoff, D. The Impact of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitor Therapy of the Extracellular Collagen Matrix during LVAD Support. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2006. 49(11): 1166-1174.
  • Parvez F, Chen Y, Brandt-Rauf PW, Bernard A, Dumont X, Slavkovich V, Argos M, D'Armiento J, Foronjy R, Hasan MR, Eunus HE, Graziano JH, Ahsan H. Nonmalignant respiratory effects of chronic arsenic exposure from drinking water among never-smokers in Bangladesh. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Feb;116(2):190-5.
  • Foronjy, R., Sun, J., Lemaitre, V. and D'Armiento, J. Transgenic Expression of MMP-1 Inhibits Myocardial Fibrosis and Prevents the Transition to Heart Failure in a Pressure Overload Mouse Model. Hypertension Research. 2008; Apr;31(4):725-35.
  • Foronjy, R., Wallace, A. and D'Armiento, J. The Pharmokinetic Limitations of Antioxidant Treatment for COPD. Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2008;21(2):370-9. Epub 2007 Oct 23.
  • Foronjy, R., Thankachen, J., Okada, Y. and D'Armiento, J. The Transgenic Expression of MMP-9 in Mice Causes Adult-Onset Emphysema Associated with the Loss of Alveolar Elastin. American Journal of Physiology Lung and Molecular Cell Biology. March 2008. Jun;294(6):L1149-57.
  • Ghio AJ, Hilborn ED, Stonehuerner JG, Dailey LA, Carter JD, Richards JH, Crissman KM, Foronjy RF, Uyeminami DL, Pinkerton KE. Particulate matter in cigarette smoke alters iron homeostasis to produce a biological effect. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2008. Dec 1;178(11):1130-8. Epub 2008 Aug 21.
  • Lee YC, Block G, Chen H, Folch-Puy E, Foronjy R, Jalili R, Jendresen CB, Kimura M, Kraft E, Lindemose S, Lu J, McLain T, Nutt L, Ramon-Garcia S, Smith J, Spivak A, Wang ML, Zanic M, Lin SH. One-step isolation of plasma membrane proteins using magnetic beads with immobilized concanavalin A. Protein Expr Purif 2008 Dec;62(2):223-9. Epub 2008 Aug 15.
  • Golovatch P, Mercer B, Lemaitre V, Wallace A, Foronjy R and D'Armiento J. Role of Cathepsin K in Emphysema in Smoke-Exposed Guinea Pigs. Experimental Lung Research. October 2009. 5(8): 631-645.
  • D'Armiento J, Scharf S, Roth M, Connett J, Ghio, A, Goldin J, Sternberg D, Goldin J, Louis T, Mao J, O'Connor G, Ramsdell J, Ries A, , Schluger N, Sciurba F, Skeans M, Voelker H, Walter B, Wendt C, Weinmann G, Wise R, and Foronjy R. Eosinophil and T cell Markers Predict Functional Decline in COPD Patients. Respiratory Research. Nov;19(10):113
  • Foronjy R, Imai K, Shiomi T, Mercer B, Thankachen J, Bodine P and D'Armiento J. The Divergent Roles of Secreted Frizzled Related Protein-1 (SFRP1) in Lung Development and Emphysema American Journal of Pathology. Aug;177(2):598-607
  • Wallace AM, Hardigan A, Geraghty P, Salim S, Gaffney A, Thankachen J, Arellanos L, D'Armiento JM, Foronjy RF. Protein Phosphatase 2A Regulates Innate Immune and Proteolytic Responses to Cigarette Smoke Exposure in the Lung. Toxicol Sci. 2012 Apr;126(2):589-99. Epub 2012 Jan 5.
  • Flores G, Dastmalchi K, Dabo AJ, Whalen K, Pedraza-Penalosa P, Foronjy RF, D'Armiento JM, Kennelly EJ. Antioxidants of therapeutic relevance in COPD from the neotropical blueberry Anthopterus wardii. Food Chem. 2012 Mar 1;131(1):119-125.
  • Dastmalchi K, Flores G, Wu SB, Ma C, Dabo AJ, Whalen K, Reynertson KA, Foronjy RF, D Armiento JM, Kennelly EJ.Edible Myrciaria vexator fruits: bioactive phenolics for potential COPD therapy. Bioorg Med Chem. 2012 Jul 15;20(14):4549-55
  • Wallace AM, Mercer BA, He J, Foronjy RF, Accili D, Sandford AJ, Pare PD, D'Armiento JM. Functional characterization of the matrix metalloproteinase-1 cigarette smoke-response region and association with the lung health study. Respir Res. 2012 Sep 19;13:79
  • Flores G, Dastmalchi K, Paulino S, Whalen K, Dabo AJ, Reynertson KA, Foronjy RF, D'Armiento JM, Kennelly EJ. Anthocyanins from Eugenia brasiliensis edible fruits as potential therapeutics for COPD treatment. Food Chem. 2012 Oct 1;134(3):1256-62.
  • Mehra D, Geraghty P, Hardigan A, Foronjy R. A Comparison of the Inflammatory and Proteolytic Effects of Dung Biomass and Cigarette Smoke Exposure in the Lung. PLOS ONE. Epub 2012 Dec 20.
  • D'Armiento J, Goldklang M, Hardigan A, Geraghty P, Roth M, Connett J, Wise R, Sciurba F, Thankachen J, Islam M, Ghio A, Foronjy R. Increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) levels do not predict disease severity or progression in emphysema. PLOS ONE. Epub 2013 Feb 18.
  • Geraghty P, Hardigan AA, Wallace AM, Mirochnitchenko O, Thankachen J, Arellanos L, Thompson V, D'Armiento JM, Foronjy RF. The GPx1-PTP1B-PP2A Axis: A Key Determinant of Airway Inflammation and Alveolar Destruction. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 Apr 5.
  • Flores G, Dastmalchi K, Wu SB, Whalen K, Dabo AJ, Reynertson KA, Foronjy RF, D Armiento JM, Kennelly EJ. Phenol-rich extract from the Costa Rican guava (Psidium friedrichsthalianum_ pulp with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Potential for COPD therapy. Food Chem. 2013 Nov 15;141(2):889-95.
  • Geraghty P, Foronjy R. Protein transfection of mouse lung. J Vis Exp. 2013 May 15;(75).
  • Foronjy R and Majka SM. The Potential for Resident Lung Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Promote Functional Tissue Regeneration: Understanding Microenvironment Cues. Cells. 2012 Dec;1(4):874.
  • Geraghty P, Hardigan A and Foronjy R. Cigarette smoke activates the proto-oncogene c-Src to promote airway inflammation and lung tissue destruction. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2014 Mar;50(3):559-70.
  • Geraghty P, Wyman A, Garcia-Arcos I, Dabo A, Gadhvi S and Foronjy R. STAT3 Counters Cigarette Smoke-Induced Inflammation and Protease Expression. Front Physiol. 2013 Oct 1;4:267
  • Brehm A, Geraghty P, Campos M, Garcia-Arcos I, Dabo AJ, Gaffney A, Eden E, Jiang XC, D'Armiento J, Foronjy R. Cathepsin G degradation of phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) augments pulmonary inflammation. FASEB J. 2014 May;28(5):2318-31.
  • Foronjy RF, Dabo AJ, Taggart CC, Weldon S, Geraghty P. Respiratory syncytial virus infections enhance cigarette smoke induced COPD in mice. PLoS One. 2014 Feb 28;9(2):e90567.
  • Foronjy RF, Taggart CC, Dabo AJ, Weldon S, Cummins N, Geraghty P. Type-I interferons induce lung protease responses following respiratory syncytial virus infection via RIG-I-like receptors. Mucosal Immunol. 2014 Jul 9.
  • Foronjy RF, Dabo AJ, Cummins N, Geraghty P. Leukemia inhibitory factor protects the lung during respiratory syncytial viral infection. BMC Immunol. 2014 Oct 3;15:41. doi: 10.1186/s12865-014-0041-4.
  • Geraghty P, Eden E, Pillai M, Campos M, McElvaney NG and Foronjy R. Alpha one antitrypsin activates protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) to counter lung inflammatory responses. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. Oct 23 2014.
  • Yoo S, Takikawa S, Geraghty P, Argmann C, Campbell J, Lin L, Huang T, Tu Z, Foronjy R, Spira A, Schadt EE, Powell CA, Zhu J. Integrative Analyssi of DNA Methylation and Gene Expression Data Identifies EPAS1 as a Key Regulator of COPD. PLoS Genet. 2015 Jan 8;11(1):e1004898.