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Nicholas Kenyon, MD


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Nicholas Kenyon, MD is a physician, scientist and expert on diseases affecting the airways and lungs. As Division Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at UC Davis Health, Dr. Kenyon oversees faculty, staff and fellows providing care and conducting research on conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and more. As a clinician, Dr. Kenyon specializes in treating patients with severe or complex asthma who don’t respond well to standard therapies.

Dr. Kenyon’s current research focus is on the relationship between asthma, L-arginine and nitric oxide. L-arginine is an amino acid that supplements nitric oxide, a gas and powerful neurotransmitter that relaxes and opens up blood vessels and airways to the lungs. L-arginine and nitric oxide play important roles in controlling lung inflammation and asthma.

Dr. Kenyon recently completed a phase II clinical trial assessing how well L-arginine decreases flare-ups in people suffering from severe asthma. Building on years of previous research in mice, Dr. Kenyon is studying how L-arginine interacts with a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists, which can improve the way beta-receptors in cells receive signals opening up the airways and helping people with asthma breathe easier. 

Dr. Kenyon also is working with colleagues in the Bioinstrumentation and BioMEMS Lab of Dr. Cristina Davis to develop a portable device that measures what’s in exhaled breath, to better target treatments and disease management in patients with asthma.



Phone: (916) 734-8230 

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Positions at UC Davis

Division Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, UC Davis Health

Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, UC Davis Medical School

Co-Director, UC Davis Asthma Network

Director, Clinical and Translational Science Center Pre-doctoral Training Program

Areas of expertise

  • Airway diseases
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Metabolomics
  • Pulmonary and critical care medicine
  • Sepsis

Dr. Kenyon is the Principal Investigator at UC Davis for PrecISE (Precision Interventions for Severe or Exacerbation-prone Asthma), a 5-year study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the forefront of innovative clinical trials on severe asthma.

To help train the next generation of physician-scientists and clinical fellows, Dr. Kenyon serves as Director of the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center Pre-doctoral Training Program, as well as Associate Director for the UC Davis Center of Comparative Respiratory Biology and Medicine and National Institutes of Health Training Program in Pulmonary Medicine.

Major research papers

Zamuruyev KO et al. 2018. Effect of temperature control on the metabolite content in exhaled breath condensate. Analytica Chimica Acta. May 2;1006:49-60. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2017.12.025.

Lam J et al. 2018. A cost-effectiveness analysis of reslizumab in the treatment of poorly controlled eosinophilic asthma. The Journal of Asthma. Aug 29:1-10. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2018.1500584.

Zamuruyev KO et al. 2018.  Power-efficient self-cleaning hydrophilic condenser surface for portable exhaled breath condensate (EBC) metabolomic sampling. Journal of Breath Research. Jun 8;12(3):036020. doi: 10.1088/1752-7163/aac5a5.

Bratt JM et al. 2018. Farnesyltransferase inhibition exacerbates eosinophilic inflammation and airway hyperreactivity in mice with experimental asthma: The complex roles of ras gtpase and farnesylpyrophosphate in type 2 allergic inflammation. Journal of Immunology. Jun 1;200(11):3840-3856. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1601317.

Showalter MR et al. 2018. Obesogenic diets alter metabolism in mice.  PLoS One. Jan 11;13(1):e0190632. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190632.

Ghavami S et al. 2018. Autophagy and the unfolded protein response promote profibrotic effects of TGF-β1 in human lung fibroblasts. American Journal of Physiology. Lung Cellular Molecular Physiology. 2018 Mar 1;314(3):L493-L504. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00372.2017.

Cagle LA et al. 2017. Effects of positive end-expiratory pressure and recruitment maneuvers in a ventilator-induced injury mouse model. PLoS One. Nov 7;12(11):e0187419. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187419.

Tan LD et al. 2017. Bronchial thermoplasty: implementing best practice in the era of cost containment. Journal of Asthma and Allergy. Jul 26;10:225-230. doi: 10.2147/JAA.S135291.

McCartney MM et al. 2017. An Easy to Manufacture Micro Gas Preconcentrator for Chemical Sensing Applications. ACS Sensors. Aug 25;2(8):1167-1174. doi: 10.1021/acssensors.7b00289.

Aksenov AA et al. 2017. Analytical methodologies for broad metabolite coverage of exhaled breath condensate. Journal of Chromatography. B AnalyticalTechnologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences. Sep 1;1061-1062:17-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2017.06.038.

Nguyen DV et al. 2017. Glucagon-like peptide 1: A potential anti-inflammatory pathway in obesity-related asthma. Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Dec;180:139-143. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2017.06.012.

Zeki AA et al. 2017. Editorial: New insights into a classical pathway: Key roles of the mevalonate cascade in different diseases (Part II). Current Molecular Pharmacology. 10(2):74-76. doi: 10.2174/187446721002170301204357. No abstract available. 

Alizadeh J et al. 2017. Mevalonate Cascade Inhibition by Simvastatin Induces the Intrinsic Apoptosis Pathway via Depletion of Isoprenoids in Tumor Cells. Scientific Reports. Mar 27;7:44841. doi: 10.1038/srep44841.

Nguyen DV et al. 2017. Obesity-related, metabolic asthma: a new role for glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists. The Lancet. Respiratory Medicine. Mar;5(3):162-164. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(17)30051-6. Review. No abstract available.

Schivo M et al. 2017. Paradigms in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: phenotypes, immunobiology, and therapy with a focus on vascular disease. Journal of Investigative Medicine. Aug;65(6):953-963. doi: 10.1136/jim-2016-000358.

Cagle LA et al. 2017. Injectable anesthesia for mice: Combined effects of dexmedetomidine, tiletamine-zolazepam and butorphanol. Anesthesiology Research and Practice. 2017:9161040. doi: 10.1155/2017/9161040.

Black C et al. 2017. Early life wildfire smoke exposure is associated with immune dysregulation and lung function decrements in adolescence. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. May;56(5):657-666. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2016-0380OC.

Zamuruyev KO et al. 2016. Human breath metabolomics using an optimized non-invasive exhaled breath condensate sampler. Journal of Breath Research. Dec 22;11(1):016001. doi: 10.1088/1752-7163/11/1/016001.

Sriratanaviriyakul N et al. 2016. LINX®, a novel treatment for patients with refractory asthma complicated by gastroesophageal reflux disease: A case report. Journal of Medical Case Reports. May 24;10(1):124. doi: 10.1186/s13256-016-0887-6.

Tan LD et al. 2016. Benralizumab: a unique IL-5 inhibitor for severe asthma. Journal of Asthma and Allergy. Apr 4;9:71-81. doi: 10.2147/JAA.S78049.


  • Association of American Medical Colleges Award for Innovative Institutional Partnerships in Research and Research-Focused Training (2013)
  • Joan Oettinger Memorial Research Award (2012)
  • Outstanding Teaching Award, Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine Fellows (2008)
  • Paper of the Year Award, Society of Toxicology, Inhalation and Respiration Section (2007)
  • UC Davis, Department of Internal Medicine, Outstanding Faculty Teacher Award (2005)
  • American College of Chest Physicians, Affiliate's Case Presentation Award (2000)

Video archive


Waking Up to Wildfires: Searching for sanctuary, a clip from the documentary about the 2017 North Bay wildfires, with Nicholas Kenyon and his patient Tammy Scott

Does this smoke have long-term health effects? Fox 40 News segment, November 16, 2018


  • MAS, Clinical Research, UC Davis, Davis, California (2007)
  • Fellowship, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento CA (1998-2001)
  • Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin (1994-1998)
  • MD, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont (1994)
  • BA, English, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts (1988)
  • BA, Biology, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts (1988)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine (2012)
  • American Board of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine (2011)
  • American Board of Internal Medicine (2007)