American Lung Association and American Asthma Foundation Partner to Fund Research by Nobel Prize Winner

Washington, D.C. (July 6, 2011)

The American Lung Association has partnered with the American Asthma Foundation to develop and fund the new American Lung Association/American Asthma Foundation Senior Investigator Award. The Senior Investigator Award—a three-year award valued at $250,000 per year—is given to a non-pulmonologist conducting novel and innovative research on asthma.

The inaugural American Lung Association/American Asthma Foundation Senior Investigator Award recipient is Roger Tsien, Ph.D., a 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner located at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Tsien’s research focuses on the workings of proteases, which are ubiquitous enzymes involved in many biological processes including the inflammation that underlies asthma.

The development of agents to target these enzymes for the treatment of asthma requires knowledge of exactly where, when and how they act in the lung.  Dr. Tsien’s project proposes using recently developed, highly sophisticated and novel approaches to imaging proteases in an animal model of asthma. In addition, it is planned to develop technology to image these molecules in intact humans as well.

“This partnership is an exciting opportunity for the American Lung Association to help support research that may lead to the development of a system for delivery of protease blockers as a new therapeutic tool for asthma,” said Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. “We are most pleased to be partnering with the American Asthma Foundation in supporting this important research.”

Recipients of this award are selected from researchers currently taking part in the American Asthma Foundation’s research program. The program is designed to recruit outstanding investigators not previously involved in asthma research.

“By thinking outside the box, we are able to bring a new perspective to asthma.” Betsy Biern, American Asthma Foundation Executive Director. “We know of no other model among disease-oriented foundations that casts such a wide net to attract the best and brightest scientists, wherever they can be found.”

More than 24 million people in the United States have asthma. It is a leading cause of activity limitation and costs our nation $50 billion in health care costs annually. The American Lung Association and the American Asthma Foundation are committed to working together to improve the lives of those affected by asthma.

For more information on the American Asthma Foundation visit

For more information on the American Lung Association visit


About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit

About the American Asthma Foundation
The American Asthma Foundation (AAF) is the only national organization in the United States dedicated solely to eradicating asthma, a chronic condition affecting 23 million Americans. AAF’s mission is to improve treatment, prevent, and find a cure for the disease. In order to achieve these goals, the Foundation fosters highly innovative, cutting-edge research through an international grants program designed to recruit outstanding investigators not involved in asthma research.