Charles Esther Jr. M.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Esther obtained his MD and PhD degrees from Emory University in 1998 then completed Pediatric residency and Pediatric Pulmonology fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since completing training in 2004, he has remained on faculty at the UNC Chapel Hill, providing clinical care to children with cystic fibrosis and other disease while maintaining active research laboratory and serving as director of the Pediatric Pulmonology Fellowship Training Program. His research has focused on using mass spectrometric (MS) methods to measure metabolites and metabolic pathways active in the airways of patients with lung disease. These metabolites can potentially serve as biomarkers of disease severity and progression, and Dr. Esther has developed methods to measure airway biomarker metabolites non-invasively through analysis of exhaled breath condensate (EBC). Using MS, he has demonstrated that EBC adenyl purines, biologically active signaling molecules closely linked to airway inflammation, are elevated in airway samples from patients with cystic fibrosis, asthma or COPD. More recently, he has been utilized metabolomics technologies to discover novel relationships between airway metabolic pathways and lung disease, with a goal of identifying both new biomarkers and new therapeutic targets. These studies and others had led to over 40 scientific publications and have been supported by grants from the NIH, CF Foundation, and industry.