Texas Researchers Awarded American Lung Association Grants to Study Extracellular Vesicles and T Cell Pathways

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 two projects in Houston, Texas. Dr. Tiziana Corsello-Gorgun from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston was awarded the Catalyst Award to study extracellular vesicles (EVs) and how they carry viral infections. Dr. William Hudson from Baylor College of Medicine was awarded the Lung Cancer Discovery Award to study T cell pathways interactions within cancerous tumors.

Lung research is critical because 3,135,000 in Texas 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. Tiziana Corsello-Gorgun and Dr. William Hudson to the elite American Lung Association Research Institute and our efforts to fundamentally transform lung health here in Texas and across the nation,” said Charlotte Maffia, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Texas. “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. Corsello-Gorgun’s team at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston will work to discover what role EVs have in carrying cells during a viral infection. The team will work to better understand EVs and how they may be used to better target infections within the body. 

“Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the most common viruses affecting the respiratory system of children. Although new passive neutralizing antibody strategies have recently become available for prevention of virus-associated serious lower airway disease, neither a vaccine for infants that would prevent RSV infection in the upper airways, nor a specific pharmacologic treatment have been developed to date,” said Dr. Corsello-Gorgun. “EVs have the potential to carry medicine to target organs within the body. Improving the knowledge of EVs during viral infections is the goal of my American Lung Association (ALA) Catalyst Award project, and it will help to provide the basis for potential EV-mediated antiviral strategies to treat infections.”
Dr. Hudson’s research at the Baylor College of Medicine will research T cells, isolating the cells from lung tumors and working to understand the pathways more fully. 

“T cells are immune cells that directly kill cancer cells. The research in our laboratory focuses on how they become dysfunctional and allow tumors to grow,” said Dr. William Hudson. “This American Lung Association award will help us use new techniques to track the location of T cells within lung tumors and identify new strategies to improve their anti-cancer 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.

Media Resources
•    Media b-roll is available here: Broll: ALA Research Team.mp4 | Powered by Box
•    American Lung Association logos and other media resources are available at Lung.org/media

For more information, contact:

Katie Geraghty
[email protected]

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