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9 New York City Researchers Receive Funding Awards, Joining American Lung Association Research Team for 2019-2020

Nearly $1 million in research funds headed to New York, as Lung Association expands research investment to $8.7 million nationwide, making headway on its commitment to double its investment in research.

(November 25, 2019) - New York, NY

For more information please contact:

Jennifer Solomon
[email protected]
(516) 680-8927

With a vision of a world free of lung disease, the American Lung Association funds a wide range of research to improve lung health, including lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pulmonary fibrosis and more. Today the organization announced its new research team, including 9 New York City-area researchers (the most awards in any metro-area), representing 6 New York City institutions who are now receiving funding.  Awardees are Lisa Carter-Harris, Ph.D., Piro Lito, M.D., Ph.D., and Tuomas Tammela, M.D., Ph.D, with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Moon-Shong Tang, Ph.D. with New York University School of Medicine; David Shechter, Ph.D. with Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Inc.; Dan Landau, M.D., Ph.D. with New York Genome Center; Yen-Hua Chen, Ph.D. with Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University; and Simon Cheng, M.D., Ph.D and Anna Podolanczuk, M.D. with Columbia University Medical Center.

The Lung Association has increased its research investment to $8.7 million, through awards for both our Airways Clinical Research Center (ACRC) Network and its innovative Awards & Grants program. This announcement comes at an important time, as November is both Lung Cancer Awareness Month and COPD Awareness Month. 

“New York City has long been a center of lung cancer and lung disease research, and today, we are proud to celebrate the continued work of so many local researchers and medical professionals,” said Carla Sterling, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in the New York metro area. “With nearly $1 million being distributed for research around the state, New York is sure to remain on the front lines of preventing and treating lung cancer and lung disease.” 

The Awards and Grants Program provides investigators with the funds, at all levels of their career, to conduct novel and promising research to prevent, treat and even cure lung disease. The ACRC is the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and COPD treatment research that promises to have a direct, positive impact on patient care. 

Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through rigorous scientific review and represent the investigation of a wide range of complex issues to help combat and reduce the suffering and burden of lung diseases, including lung cancer. 

Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of both women and men in the U.S. During November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative is dedicated to increasing awareness about the risk of this deadly disease and uniting Americans to raise funds for critical lung cancer research. The Lung Association is funding many research grants dedicated to lung cancer research, including 6 Lung Cancer Discovery Awards in the New York meto-area to explore:

  • How cancer cells bypass inhibition of KRAS (a cancer causing protein) and identify optimal combination therapies, in order to maximize the effect of these drugs in patients. Awarded to Piro Lito, M.D., Ph.D. with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • If inhibitors that target mutant KRAS can intercept early LUAD tumor growths. Awarded to Tuomas Tammela, M.D., Ph.D, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • New ways to use fragments of DNA in the blood to detect lung cancer.  Awarded to Dan Landau, M.D., Ph.D. at New York Genome Center
  • Exploring if e-cigarettes lead to lung cancer, to be researched by Moon-Shong Tang, Ph.D., at New York University School of Medicine
  • Why a class of enzymes is disrupted in lung cancer cells and importantly how drugging these enzymes could be a novel chemotherapy, to be studied by David Shechter, Ph.D. at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Inc.
  • If blocking a certain protein (Bmi1) might improve lung cancer immunotherapy. Awarded to Simon Cheng, M.D., Ph.D at Columbia University in the City of New York

Other awards distributed in the New York City area are:

  • A Social-Behavior Research Grant to Lisa Carter-Harris, Ph.D. at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to better understand low rates of referral for lung cancer screening – a key tool for early diagnosis and improved survival rates.
  • A Dalsemer Research Grant was awarded to Anna Podolanczuk, M.D. at Columbia University Medical Center to investigate home fungal and bacterial exposures as risk factors for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
  • A Senior Research Training Fellowship awarded to Yen-Hua Chen, Ph.D. at Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University to understand how cell-intrinsic metabolic factors, specifically Arginase metabolism, regulate ILC2 (immune cells) function in promoting lung disease pathogenesis.

Together, 11 researchers in the State received awards and were added to the American Lung Association’s Research Team for 2019-2020, totaling over $932,000.  See project overviews of all funded projects at 

Sterling continued, “The research happening in New York will pave the way to better treatments for lung cancer. We are so grateful to have this talented group of researches doing important work that will get us one step closer to a world free of lung disease.”

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health and the American Lung Association Research Team, contact Jennifer Solomon at [email protected] or 516-680-8927 


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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