San Francisco Researcher Awarded Lung Association Grant to Determine Roll of Genetic Ancestry in Lung Health

Today, the American Lung Association Research Institute announced it awarded $13.6 million in research grants to fund 129 innovative projects to advance today’s science to end lung disease tomorrow, including a project in San Francisco, California. Dr. Jonathan Witonsky of The University of California – San Francisco was awarded the Catalyst Award to determine whether genetic-ancestry informed lung function references overcome the biases of race/ethnicity-based methods.

Lung research is critical because 4,031,000 in California are living with lung disease and each year, millions of people are impacted by respiratory viruses like COVID-19 and influenza. Through the Awards and Grants Program, the Lung Association supports trailblazing research, novel ideas and innovative approaches. The funded researchers investigate a wide range of lung health topics, including asthma, COPD, lung cancer, infectious lung diseases and more.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Jonathan Witonsky to the elite American Lung Association Research Institute and our efforts to fundamentally transform lung health here in California and across the nation,” said Carrie Nash, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in California – Greater Bay Area. “Our research investment is key to unlocking solutions to alleviate the burden of lung disease. The Lung Association’s Awards and Grants Program promotes innovative research, collaboration, translation of discoveries and scientific exchange to transform today’s science into tomorrow’s solutions. Because when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”

Dr. Witonsky’s work will identify if genetic data testing is more precise than existing pulmonary function tests (PFTs) as it pertains to social determinants of lung function.

This year, awards were given in different categories addressing many aspects of lung disease; 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 and Lung Cancer Discovery Award. Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through rigorous scientific peer review and awardees investigate a wide range of complex issues.

The Lung Association’s Research Institute includes the Awards and Grants program, and also the Airways Clinical Research Network, the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and COPD research. The Lung Association is currently accepting applications for its 2024-2025 research awards and grants cycle. For more information about the active research funding opportunities, visit Lung.org/awards.

For more information about the new grant awardees and the entire American Lung Association Research Team, visit Lung.org/research-team.

 

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