Division of Pediatric Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine

Dr. William Gershan

William Gershan, MD, Professor, Division of Pediatric Pulmonology

The Division of Pediatric Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine discovers and delivers outstanding medical care, enabling children with respiratory disease to lead a full life.

Our mission is to prevent respiratory disease and improve the health of infants, children, and young adults with respiratory disease through research, education, and clinical care.

Education & Training

The University of Minnesota offers a 3-year, ACGME-accredited fellowship in Pediatric Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine.

Patient Care

Our pulmonology team cares for children with a host of lung-related concerns. We also have specialized programs dedicated to some very specific conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, allergies, neuromuscular care and pediatric sleep disorders. For over 50 years, pulmonologists at The Minnesota Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Center at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital have been at the forefront of CF care for children from Minnesota, across the nation and around the world. Our pediatric pulmonology program is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country.


Laboratory Research

In collaboration with adult Pulmonary Allergy and Critical Care Medicine and our CF Affiliate Center headed by Dr. Joanne Billings, we perform testing and contribute data and specimens to projects funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Therapeutics Development Network, a nationwide effort of CF centers to evaluate new therapies for CF.

Clinical Testing

We offer clinical testing of neutrophil function in our CLIA-certified Host Defense Laboratory. Three tests are available for screening patients suspected of having a neutrophil-based immune deficiency. Neutrophils are first separated from the peripheral venous blood sample by a standard process, then tested in any or all of the following procedures:

Learn more about the procedures

  1. Chemiluminescence is a quantification of the relative amount and rate of reactive oxygen products generated by neutrophils after stimulation by serum opsonized zymosan particles and by phorbol-myristate-acetate. The chemiluminescence assay measures the light produced when the reactive oxygen compounds react with luminol. Normal quantities of light are produced 1) if the cells can take up particles at a normal rate and 2) if the cells can be stimulated to generate the light-producing biochemical reaction that is associated with normal intracellular killing of bacteria and fungi. This test is useful for patients with recurring infections and in diagnosis of chronic granulomatous disease.
  2. Nitroblue tetrazolium reduction is also a measure of reactive oxygen products. This method allows microscopic examination and percent quantitation of neutrophils that generate superoxide in response to phorbol-myristate-acetate and therefore reduce the NBT dye, forming insoluble intracellular granules (formazan). This test is useful in the diagnosis of chronic granulomatous disease.
  3. Chemotaxis under agarose measures the distance neutrophils migrate under a layer of agarose toward a chemical gradient of zymosan activated serum (C5a) and to the peptide N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. Adhesion to the tissue culture substrate is the initial step required for cells to chemotax and subsequently, the ability to move randomly as well as orient in the chemical gradient. Approximately twenty clinical syndromes with abnormal chemotaxis have been described in the literature. This test is an aid to diagnosis of neutrophil adhesion molecule defects in patients with recurrent infections.

Call 612-624-0438 to schedule testing.