Newswise — CHICAGO (February 13, 2020) – The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF)—the charitable arm of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS)—has awarded 29 new grants totaling $1,047,500 in support of research and education programs in cardiothoracic surgery. These grants will help advance treatment options for patients with heart and lung diseases and offer much-needed assistance to underserved patients in developing countries, including Armenia, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sub Saharan Africa. In June, the Foundation plans to distribute educational and travel scholarship awards for cardiothoracic surgeons, making its 2020 award total $1,127,500.

“Choosing the grant recipients was a tough decision; many worthy funding applications were received, and the selected 29 rose to the top,” said TSF President Joseph E. Bavaria, MD. “The results from these projects will help us understand more about the biology and treatment of heart and lung diseases. The contributions of these award recipients to cardiothoracic surgery and our patients will be significant.”

The TSF Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the following projects for 2020:


Feredun S. Azari, MD, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, “Tumor-Associated Neutrophils (TANs) – A Key Player in the Tumor Microenvironment?”, TSF Resident Research Fellowship Award, $60,000

Renee M. Cholyway, MD, Virginia Commonwealth University, “Mitochondrial Transfusion to Recover Function in Donor After Circulatory Death Hearts”, Southern Thoracic Surgical Association (STSA) Resident Research Award, $48,000

Keith A. Dufendach, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “Weakly Supervised Machine Learning for Automated Transthoracic Echocardiogram Interpretation”, TSF Resident Research Fellowship Award, $60,000

David Kalfa, MD, PhDThe Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York“Development of an Innovative Biomimetic Patch to Improve the Durability of Valve Repairs”TSF Research Award, $80,000

Ian A. Makey, MD, Mayo Clinic, “Atrial Trans-Septal ECMO Cannulation”, TSF Research Award, $40,000

Cynthia L. Miller, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, “Induction of Heart Allograft Tolerance in Cynomolgus Macaques via En Bloc Thymus Transplantation”, Nina Starr Braunwald Research Fellowship Award, $60,000

Navyatha Mohan, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, “Leveraging Machine Learning Algorithms to Develop Risk Models in Cardiac Surgery”, Nina Starr Braunwald Research Fellowship Award, $30,000

Albert C. Pai, MD, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, “Effects of Severe Lung Injury from Airway Stem Cell Implantation”, TSF Resident Research Fellowship Award, $30,000

Parth M. Patel, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital/Emory University, “Achieving Tolerance in NHP Heart Transplant Recipients with Donor Exosomes”, TSF Resident Research Fellowship Award, $30,000

Adam C. Soloff, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, “Enhancing the Functionality of T cells for Next Generation Adoptive Cell Transfer Therapy for Advanced Lung Cancer”, American Lung Association/TSF Lung Cancer Research Award, $80,000

Matthew L. Stone, MD, PhD, University of Colorado School of Medicine, “Improving Heart Transplantation Outcomes with Sphingosine-Targeted Therapies”, STS Research Award, $80,000

Matthew D. Taylor, MD, The Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine, “Targeting Metastasis Suppressor 1 Regulation as a Novel Therapy for the Prevention of Metastasis in Lung Adenocarcinoma”, TSF Research Award, $80,000


Robert C. Groom, MS, CCP, FPP, Tenwek Hospital, Sarns Terumo Perfusion Fellowship Award, $10,000

Puja G. Khaitan, MD, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, “Robotic Esophageal Surgery”, Carolyn E. Reed Traveling Fellowship Award, $7,000

Raghav A. Murthy, MD, Mount Sinai Hospital, “Management of MAPCA’s, Complex Tracheal Surgery and Complex Single Ventricle VAD’s”, Robert L. Replogle Traveling Fellowship Award, $10,000

Jennifer S. Nelson, MD, Nemours Children’s Hospital, “Cone Repair for Ebstein’s Anomaly”, Robert L. Replogle Traveling Fellowship Award, $10,000

Uma M. Sachdeva, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, “Resection and Lab-Based Techniques for Treatment and Study of Early-Stage Esophageal Cancer”, Carolyn E. Reed Traveling Fellowship Award, $10,000

Kanika Kalra, MD, Emory University, “Outcomes of Valve Sparing Root Replacement vs. Traditional Bentall Procedure in Patientswith Aortic Root Aneurysms with Non-Stenotic Bicuspid Aortic Valve”, STS/EACTS Award, $2,500


Immanuel I. Turner, MD, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Heart Institute, “Innovation in Mechanical Circulatory Support”, The Levi Watkins Innovation and Leadership Development Scholarship, $5,000


Adanna C. Akujuo, MD, Albany Medical Center, Underserved Region: Nigeria, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $35,000

Ganesh Kumar K. Ammannaya, MD, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College & General Hospital, Underserved Region: India, Dhule, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $29,000

Zachary O. Enumah, MD, Cardiac Surgery Intersociety Alliance, Underserved Region: Sub-Saharan Africa, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $35,000

Jessica Forcillo, MD, Montreal University Hospital Centre, Underserved Region: South Africa, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $29,000

Lyle D. Joyce, MD, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin, Underserved Region: Kenya/Tenwek Hospital, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $35,000

Reza A. Khodaverdian, MD, Eisenhower Medical Group, Underserved Region: Enugu/Nigeria, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $29,000

Carmelo A. Milano, MD, Duke University, Underserved Region: Honduras, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $30,000

Mubashir A. Mumtaz, MD, UPMC Pinnacle, Underserved Region: Pakistan, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $29,000

Jay D. Pal, MD, PhD, University of Colorado, Underserved Region: Nepal, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $35,000

Harma K. Turbendian, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Underserved Region: Armenia, TSF Every Heartbeat Matters Award, $29,000

For more information about TSF awards, visit


Contact: Priscilla S. Kennedy, TSF Executive Director, [email protected], 312-202-5868.

About STS

Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 7,500 cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy. For more information, visit

About TSF

The Thoracic Surgery Foundation is a pivotal force for growth and vitality in cardiothoracic surgery, especially for research and academic career development, awarding more than $17 million in cardiothoracic surgery research and education grants. The Foundation was first established in 1988 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization and is the charitable arm of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. The mission of TSF is to foster the development of surgeon scientists in cardiothoracic surgery, increasing knowledge and innovation to benefit patient care. For more information, visit