Born in Athens, Greece, Dr. Sadis Matalon came to the United States in 1966 as an undergraduate Fulbright Scholar and subsequently received a Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Macalester College, cum laude with Special Departmental Honors (1970), followed by a Master of Science in Physics from the University of Minnesota (1973). He continued with a Ph.D. in Physiology (1975) under the mentorship of O.D. Wangensteen and entitled his dissertation “Water and Non-electrolyte Solute Transport across the Pulmonary Capillaries in Newborn Rabbits.” While at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Matalon embraced the opportunity to work with Dr. Arnold Leonard and Dr. Carl Hunt to quantify abnormalities of gas exchange in premature infants with hyaline membrane disease using mass spectrometry. After spending a year as an Associate in the Department of Pediatrics (Children’s Hospital) and Department of Physiology at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, he moved in 1966 to the Department of Physiology at the University of Buffalo as a Research Assistant Professor. While working with Dr. Leon Farhi on gas exchange, ventilation perfusion abnormalities, and pulmonary oxygen toxicity, Dr. Matalon was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1977 and to Associate Professor with tenure in 1982. He worked closely with Dr. Robert Notter and Dr. Bruce Holm from the University of Rochester during this time, studying physiological, biochemical and biophysical injury to pulmonary surfactants when breathing 100% oxygen in vivo and in vitro.
In 1987 Dr. Matalon collaborated with the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Freeman at the Department of Anesthesiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, for studies on free radical biochemistry while on sabbatical and has remained at UAB since. While at UAB he collaborated with Dr. Dale Benos (deceased) to elucidate the biochemical and biophysical nature of ion channels in lung epithelial cells and has concentrated on identifying basic mechanisms by which reactive species alters lung ion channel and pulmonary surfactant structure function relationships in vivo and in vitro. He was named the Alice McNeal Endowed Chair of Anesthesiology in 1999, appointed Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Education in 2001, Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Assistant Provost of Research in 2002, Acting Associate Provost for Research in December of 2002 and Acting Vice President of UAB in July 2003. In 2012 he was named Distinguished Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and currently serves as the Vice Chair for Research of the Department of Anesthesiology and as the Director of the Pulmonary Injury and Repair Center, School of Medicine.
Dr. Matalon has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1978 and received a Career Investigator Award by the American Lung Association (1987–1992), a NIH MERIT Award (1997–2007), a Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishment by the American Thoracic Society (2002), and various awards for teaching from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, including the Joint Health Sciences Presidential Teaching Award (1997), Argus Society Award for Instructional Excellence (Best Instructor, First Year Medical Class; 1997, 1998, 2001) and the Caduceus award for Best Basic Science Professor by the 2004 School of Medicine Class. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Thessaly, Larisa, Greece.
In both 1997 and 2000, Dr. Matalon (in collaboration with Dr. Jacob Iasha Sznajder from Northwestern University) organized two Advanced Study Institutes on acute lung injury (sponsored by the Scientific Affairs 3718Division of NATO;) in Corfu, Greece; and also served as Co-Director (along with Dr. Lester Kobzik, Harvard School of Public Health) of two workshops on Environmental Lung Disease: Environmental Chemical Threats and Lung Injury (Limassol, Cyprus, 2009–2010).
Dr. Matalon has served as Associate Editor of News in Physiological Sciences (1997–2003) and Associate Editor and Deputy Editor of the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (2003–2011). He has been on the Editorial Board of AJP-Lung since 1994 and has been a member of the American Physiological Society since 1975. His current research interests include redox modulation of lung ion channels and implications on lung fluid balance, viral (RSV and influenza) induced injury to the mammalian alveolar epithelium and developing countermeasures against oxidant gas injury to mammalian lungs. He is the Principal Investigator of an R01 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute currently in its 27th year, Co-Principal Investigator of two R21 grants (with Dr. Timothy Ness and Dr. Victor M. Darley-Usmar, respectively) and a Co-Principal Investigator of a U01 (with Dr. Rakesh Patel) funded by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the CounterACT Network. He has trained a large number of fellows who are now independent investigators and continues to be involved in day-to-day experimental design, data analysis, grants writing and manuscript preparation, training graduate students, and teaching pulmonary physiology to graduate students, medical and dental students, and residents.