Breathing is an involuntary reflex action and one of the most basic yet important functions that the body performs. However, for millions who suffer from chronic lung problems and respiratory disease, a single breath is never taken for granted. Certain respiratory diseases are the leading cause of death in the US and include chronic lung problems, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. In addition, heart attack and accident victims, premature infants, and people with cystic fibrosis and lung cancer suffer from respiratory problems. Although the severity may differ, common types include obstructive, restrictive and inflammatory lung, pleural cavity and pulmonary vascular diseases as well as respiratory tract infections. Respiratory diseases such as pulmonary embolism and bacterial pneumonia can often be life-threatening, if not checked and treated effectively. Developing effective, fast-acting and potentially life-saving drugs that target specific respiratory diseases depends on understanding the disease biology and knowing the right biomarkers.