Arkansas Researcher Awarded American Lung Association Innovation Award

Lung health research is more important than ever. Never have we faced so many challenges to our lung health, including COVID-19, vaping and smoke from increased wildfires. Today, the American Lung Association in Arkansas announced that Roy Morello, Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences was awarded the Innovation Award.

Dr. Morello’s project aims to focus on clarifying the role of type I collagen mutations on respiratory function in osteogenesis imperfecta (OI – brittle bone disease). This is a disease that causes severe bone fragility as well as potential respiratory distress at birth and decreased respiratory function in adulthood. “I was ecstatic and grateful to learn that I received the Innovation Award from the American Lung Association this past summer,” said Dr. Morello. “I was vacationing in Italy with my family and this news made the vacation even more special. With this award we plan to study the underlying causes of the impaired respiratory function in OI, including at the tissue, cellular and molecular level using models that closely mimic OI disease. Ultimately, our goal is to identify new therapeutic targets and approaches to improve the overall health of patients with OI”.

“Here in Arkansas, we face lung health challenges every day like higher smoking/vaping rates and high lung cancer and COPD rates. In addition, more than 408,000 people in our state are living with chronic lung disease,” said Laura Turner, senior manager of advocacy for Arkansas for the American Lung Association. “We are excited for Morello to join the American Lung Association Research Team to help improve lung health here in Arkansas and across the nation.” 

In the 2022-2023 grants cycle, the Lung Association is funding $13.2 million for more than 130 lung health research grants. For this round of funding, the organization placed a greater focus on strategic partnerships with key organizations like American Thoracic Society and CHEST, and grants that focus on equity like the Harold Amos Scholar.

Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through rigorous scientific review and awardees represent the investigation of a wide range of complex issues. Awards were given in eight different categories: ALA/AAAAI Allergic Respiratory Diseases Award, ALA/ATS/CHEST Foundation Respiratory Health Equity Research Award, Catalyst Award, COVID-19 Respiratory Virus Research Award, Dalsemer Award, Innovation Award, Lung Cancer Discovery Award, and Public Policy Research Award. 

The Lung Association’s Nationwide Research Program includes the Awards and Grants Program, and also our Airways Clinical Research Network, the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and COPD treatment research.

For more information about the new grant awardees and the entire American Lung Association Research Team, visit

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For more information, contact:

Jill Smith
[email protected]

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