CU Denver Researcher Awarded Grant to Study Early Detection of Lung Cancer

American Lung Association’s funding provided at critical time for research

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 Colorado announced that Moumita Ghosh, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado Denver was awarded the Lung Cancer Discovery Award.

“Here in Colorado, we face lung health challenges every day but we are proud that Colorado is a leader in medical research. We are thrilled to add this study to the many we have funded right here locally, and it is only made possible through the direct support of the Colorado community. Their efforts help the more than 680,000 people in Colorado living with chronic lung disease,” said Ellen Penrod, Executive Director at the Lung Association. “We are excited for Dr. Ghosh to join the American Lung Association Research Team to help improve lung health here in Colorado and across the nation.” 

The goal of Dr. Ghosh’s research is to identify changes in the lung that occur during lung cancer development, to improve early detection. Epithelial stem/progenitor cells are critical for tissue repair, to maintain a healthy lung. Preliminary data shows that these cells are impaired in people with lung cancer, coinciding with an increased presence of immune cells. Dr. Ghosh will study epithelial progenitor cells, how their function is affected by their location relative to a tumor, and by the presence of immune cells. Dr. Ghosh will use lung tissues from patients with early-stage lung cancer to identify important factors that influence progenitor function. Findings can be used for early detection or targeted to enhance progenitor function and constrain cancer formation.

In the 2022-2023 grants cycle, the Lung Association is funding $13.1 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.  

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 Lung Association Research Team, visit

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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