From May 14 - 18, 2022, thousands of respiratory researchers, clinicians and industry representatives gathered for the American Thoracic Society (ATS) international conference (ATS 2022) in San Francisco, CA. This was an opportunity to share the latest research in lung disease and lung health and create new avenues for collaboration. Events like these are critical for creating partnerships and for clinicians to learn new techniques and fill in the knowledge gaps in their own research.

The Lung Association is known for funding promising individuals that make a huge impact in their respective fields. This year, there were 17 American Lung Association funded researchers presenting cutting-edge research at ATS 2022, ranging from advances in thoracic imaging to new potential therapies for lung cancer, and examining ways to improve policies to curb e-cigarette use.

Here are some highlights from Lung Association funded researchers who presented at ATS 2022:

Andrew Synn, M.D., presented a study which examined why research volunteers are motivated to participate in studies. His team surveyed 50 young adults and found that potential research volunteers like the American Lung Association Lung Health Cohort study were motivated by an altruistic desire to contribute to health sciences and society. Interestingly, his team also identified potential barriers to volunteering such as a lack of trust in institutions and logistical challenges. This research is important to improving the experience of research volunteers and streamlining recruitment for studies which require a large and diverse sample.

Another Lung Association funded researcher, Krishna Reddy, M.D., presented some compelling results from his research on people who have HIV, and the additional harm that smoking has on their health. One big takeaway from his presentation were new strategies to help people with HIV quit smoking as they actually lose more years of life to smoking than they do to HIV. Dr. Reddy is funded by the Lung Association Innovation Award to study the effect of e-cigarette use in young people, but this related work in HIV used many of the same methods, which is a great example of how new discoveries spin out of original research questions.

One major benefit in returning to in-person conferences is the opportunity to network. In addition to sharing research findings and the latest clinical techniques, the American Lung Association Scientific Advisory Committee also convenes. This committee discusses important issues and trends in research, and helps to focus the strategy and direction of our awards and grants program. Additionally, the group had the opportunity to review large, ongoing studies that are conducted by the Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) such as the Lung Health Cohort study and the MATCH study.

You may have noticed Pinky and the Lobe, a pair of stuffed pink lungs - our unofficial mascots of the Lung Association - in several photos and across social media during the event. Seen here is Dr. Sumita Khatri, the Vice Chair of the Lung Association Board of Directors, posing with Pinky and the Lobe during the reception for our Health Industry Council. These meetings are critical in building relationships with our industry partners so we can continue to pursue our mission. Learn more about the Health Industry Council and how to get involved.

To keep up to date about the cutting-edge, lifesaving research that the American Lung Association is supporting, please visit lung.org/research-news.

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