Newswise — Dec. 21, 2017 The American Thoracic Society Foundation has announced that 16 researchers have been awarded unrestricted research grants totaling more than $1 million to advance pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine around the world. These one-year, $40,000 grants can be used to support basic science, patient-oriented, and public health research.

Since it began in 2004, the ATS Foundation Research Program has awarded $16 million to 210 investigators, both in the U.S. and internationally. These researchers have gone on to receive $215 million in federal funding. 

In recent years, the Research Program has expanded the number and kinds of researchers it funds, but the primary emphasis remains on promising young investigators making the transition from working in established laboratories to becoming independent researchers. Their work spans basic, translational, and clinical research in pediatric and adults respiratory medicine.

“The ATS grants can be an enormous stepping stone to a successful career,” says Dean Schraufnagel, MD, chair of the ATS Foundation and professor of medicine at the University of Illinois Chicago. “They indicate that the research and researcher are recognized by a review team of a leading scientific society in respiratory medicine. Getting an ATS grant greatly increases the ability to compete for major grants from the National Institutes of Health and other national and international agencies.”

Richard J. Schwab, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and chair of the ATS Scientific Advisory Committee that is charged with selecting the best grant proposals, said, “This year we were singularly impressed by the high quality and innovative proposals that were submitted to the ATS Foundation,” he said. “In particular it was exciting to be able to award such a large number of unrestricted grants to support early career investigators in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep.”

The ATS 2017 Foundation Research Program Unrestricted Grants recipients are:

Sandeep Bodduluri, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham “Lung Mechanics in Active Smokers With and Without COPD”

Erin Crowley, MD Indiana University “Development of a Social Complexity Risk Factor Scale”

Robert Hamanaka, PhD University of Chicago “Metabolic Regulation of Lung Fibrosis”

Peggy Lai, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital “Solar Lighting to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution in Rural Uganda”

Chelsea Magin, PhD University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus “Bio-Inspired 3D Cell Culture Platforms for Improved Modeling of Lung Epithelium In Vitro”

Suzanne Pollard, PhD Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine “Feasibility Trial of a Community Intervention to Improve Asthma Self-Management Practices in Peru”

Hideo Watanabe, MD, PhD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai “Characterizing Novel Candidate Super-Enhancers for Lineage Factors in Lung Adenocarcinomas”

Gareth Willis, PhD Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School “Therapeutic Capacity of Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Exosomes in Models of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia”


Critical Care
Brian Anderson, MD University of Pennsylvania “IDO Activation and Neurocognitive Outcomes in Sepsis” Joshua Englert, MD The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center “Zinc as a Novel Therapy to Prevent Ventilator Induced Lung Injury in ARDS”

Meeta Kerlin, MD University of Pennsylvania “The Role of Behavioral Economic Interventions to Promote Utilization of Lung Protective Ventilation”

Thomas Raffay, MD UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital/Case Western Reserve University “S-Nitrosoglutathione-Based Therapy in a Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Model”

Peter Sottile, MD University of Colorado “The Association between Ventilator Dyssynchrony and Lung Injury”



Tetyana Kendzerska, MD, PhD The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute “Sleep Apnea and Cancer Development and Progression: Evidence From Clinical and Administrative Data”

Omar Mesarwi, MD University of California, San Diego “Mechanisms of Liver Fibrosis and Steatosis in Obstructive Sleep Apnea”

Abdulghani Sankari, MD, PhD Wayne State University “Animal Model of Sleep Disordered Breathing and Novel Therapeutic Targets”


About the American Thoracic Society Foundation The ATS Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American Thoracic Society and is committed to improving the quality of life for patients with respiratory disease, their families and communities worldwide through research, education and training. The Foundation partners with nonprofit organizations and corporate members to maximize grant support for early-career investigators.

About the American Thoracic Society: Founded in 1905, the ATS is the world's leading medical association dedicated to advancing pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. The Society’s 15,000 members prevent and fight respiratory disease around the globe through research, education, patient care and advocacy. The ATS publishes three journals, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology and the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

The ATS will hold its 2017 International Conference, May 19-24, in Washington, DC, where world-renowned experts will share the latest scientific research and clinical advances in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine.