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Assembly on Respiratory Structure and Function Joseph R. Rodarte Award for Scientific Distinction

                   Meet the 2023 Winner: Susan R. Hopkins, MD, PhD 


sue hopkins

Susan (Sue) R. Hopkins is a Professor of Radiology and Director of the Pulmonary Imaging Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. Dr Hopkins received her undergraduate and medical degrees (1980) from Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's NL Canada. Following internship, she practiced rural family medicine in British Columbia until returning to the University of British Columbia where she completed a Fellowship in Sports Medicine (1987), a Master of Physical Education (1988) degree, and a PhD with a focus on Pulmonary and Exercise Physiology (1993). She came to the University of California, San Diego in 1993 as a postdoctoral fellow and joined the faculty in 1996. She has been a member of the American Thoracic Society and the Respiratory Structure and Function Assembly since 1995. She has previously served the RSF Assembly on the Program (1997-2009, 2018-2021), Planning (2008-2013, 2020), and Nominating (2000-2001) committees. She has also served the ATS on the Membership Committee (2003-2005) and as co-chair of a joint ATS/Fleischner Society Workshop on Quantitative Imaging (2019).

Dr. Hopkins’ has had a sustained research interest in the lung’s response to stressors such as hypoxia and exercise. She was the first to identify that mechanical stress failure occurred in the pulmonary capillaries of some exercising humans. She has conducted several studies that furthered understanding of the relationship between exercise induced pulmonary edema and pulmonary gas exchange, and in particular the role of interstitial pulmonary edema in the development of ventilation-perfusion mismatch. In addition to work in human athletes, she has also explored the relationship between lung structure and gas exchange during exercise in non-human species including monitor lizards, alligators, horses, and emus, showing that across these divergent species ventilation-perfusion matching is remarkably well preserved.

More recently she has pioneered novel functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques to noninvasively quantify pulmonary ventilation and blood flow to offer insights into mechanisms of lung disease. Using these tools, she was the first to show that increases in pulmonary flow heterogeneity in response to hypoxia are a feature of high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). This work links the findings of pulmonary capillary stress failure early in HAPE to its pathogenesis. Her current work focuses on the development of new diagnostic tools for pulmonary arterial hypertension. She has served on NIH study section as part of the Clinical and Translational Imaging Science (CTIS) and Medical Imaging (MEDI) Study Sections

Her work has been supported by an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, and multiple awards from the National Institute of Health. Dr. Hopkins collaborates with researchers across the USA and internationally.

Award Description:

This award honors the life of Joseph Rodarte, M.D.  Dr. Rodarte was a distinguished member of the American Thoracic Society and the Assembly on Respiratory Structure and Function.  Dr. Rodarte was an international leader in the field of respiratory physiology and medicine and made invaluable contributions to our scientific and medical communities.  RSF is proud to honor his memory with an award designated for an established investigator who has made distinguished contributions in the area of respiratory structure and function to the field of respiratory physiology and medicine.  Nomination of diverse candidates is encouraged. 

The award consists of a certificate and an honorarium, which will be presented at the ATS International Conference.  RSF gratefully acknowledges Medical Graphics Corporation (MGC Diagnostics) for their support. 


  • Associate professor, professor or equivalent with distinguished scientific achievement in area of respiratory structure and function that has had a sustained impact, over the nominee’s career, on the field of respiratory physiology and medicine
  • Normally RSF Assembly membership, but suitable candidates from other ATS Assemblies will be considered
  • Nominee’s current curriculum vitae including a list of nominee’s publications
  • Nominator's letter of recommendation
  • Support letters, which are optional but recommended

Nomination/ support letters should describe nominee's:

  • Research contributions, including impact in respiratory physiology and medicine
  • Involvement in ATS, including any involvement in RSF Assembly
  • Service to the broader scientific or medical community
  • Mentorship or teaching record


Nominate Here


View Previous Award Recipients

2022- Y.S. Prakash, MD, PhD
2021 - Stephanie Shore, PhD
2020 - James Martin, MD
2019 - Jason Bates, PhD, DSc
2018 - Raymond B. Penn, PhD
2017 - William Thomas Gerthoffer, PhD
2016 - Andrew J. Halayko, BS(Hons), MSc, PhD (University of Manitoba)
2015 - Herman Meurs, PhD (University of Groningen)
2014 - Eric A. Hoffman, Ph.D. (University of Iowa)
2013 - Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., MD (University of Pennsylvania)
2012 - Judith L. Black, PhD, MD (Institute Of Medical Research)
2011 - Susan J. Gunst, PhD (Indiana University School of Medicine)
2010 - Julian Solway, MD (University of Chicago)
2009 - Peter D. Wagner, MD (University of California At San Diego Medical Center
2008 - Solbert Permutt, MD (Johns Hopkins)
2007 - Rolf Hubmayr, MD (Mayo Clinic)
2006 - Wayne Mitzner, PhD (Johns Hopkins University)
2005 - Newman Stephens, MD (University of Manitoba)
2004 - Shared: Charlie Irvin, PhD (University of Vermont) & Gary Sieck, PhD (Mayo Clinic)
2003 - Peter Paré, MD  (University of British Columbia)
2002 - Jeffery Fredberg, PhD (Harvard University)