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Research Awards Nationwide: Where Are They Now?

Each year, the American Lung Association releases the Research Awards Nationwide report, which details the lung disease research, both patient-centered and laboratory, we are funding during the current fiscal year.

Over the years, we've funded more than 1,550 researchers, many of whom have continued their careers in lung disease. We are proud to have supported these individuals who have had such a big impact on lung disease, and look forward to continuing to follow their success, and the success of our current research awardees.

Here's what a few of our previous Research Awards Nationwide awardees are up to now:

Steven D. Shapiro, M.D.

When Dr. Shapiro received his first American Lung Association research grant in 1990 to study the role of immune cells in the development of emphysema, he never dreamed his career would take so many twists and turns. It has taken him from Washington University in St. Louis to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, finally arriving at his current position in Pittsburgh, where he is Executive Vice President, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer and President of the Health Services Division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. His background in research has informed his approach to hospital administration, where he oversees health services for the largest academic medical center in the country. Read more.

Sadis Matalon, Ph.D.

Dr. Matalon has long conducted basic research that has become useful in treating lung disease. In 1987, he received an American Lung Association Career Investigator Award, which he used to study the role of an artificial version of pulmonary surfactant in repairing severe lung injury. He credits the research made possible by that award as acting as a springboard to his many professional accomplishments over the past 30 years, including a prestigious Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishment from the American Thoracic Society and three current NIH grants. Matalon is now studying another aspect of lung injury — how chlorine can damage the lungs. Read more.

Jeffrey Kern, M.D.

Currently the Director of the Lung Cancer Center at National Jewish Health in Denver, Dr. Kern received American Lung Association research grants at three critical points in his career. Dr. Kern continues the lung cancer research he began with a Lung Association grant, in which he identified the role of HER2, a tyrosine kinase, in lung cancer. In his current research, Dr. Kern is taking a broader view, looking at all 600 tyrosine kinases and turning them off in human cells one by one. He is matching drugs that target kinases and are already approved for therapy of other diseases, and testing their potential in targeting tyrosine kinases in lung cancer. One drug developed to treat leukemia is now in advanced testing for lung cancer. "If we find a drug that shows promise in treating lung cancer and is already approved, we can quickly move to clinical trials," he notes. Read more.

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