University of Kentucky Researcher Awarded American Lung Association Grant to Study Pulmonary Fibrosis

Today, the American Lung Association Research Institute announced it has 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 from Kentucky. Christine Fillmore Brainson, Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky Research Foundation was awarded the Innovation Award for her work targeting pulmonary fibrosis with epigenetic therapy.

Lung research is critical because nearly 700,000 people in Kentucky live 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. Brainson to join the elite American Lung Association Research Institute and our efforts to fundamentally transform lung health here in Kentucky and across the nation,” said Deena Kinkade Adams, executive director at the Lung Association in Kentucky. “Our research investment is key to unlocking solutions to alleviate the burden of lung disease. Especially in Kentucky, the need to advance lung health is critical.”

Adams added, “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.”

Pulmonary fibrosis, which causes a thickening or scarring of the lungs, is a progressive, incurable disease with few treatment options. Dr. Brainson’s project centers on epigenetics, the study of how behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way genes work. She seeks to determine how drugs that regulate epigenetic changes can treat lung fibrosis. Her work will also expand knowledge about how epigenetic drugs influence other types of lung disease.

"We are delighted to explore treatment and prevention of pulmonary fibrosis with an epigenetic therapy with the support of the American Lung Association,” said Dr. Brainson. “The Lung Association’s goal of improving lung health is also our mission, and we are excited to apply our expertise in lung stem cell biology and epigenetics to the complex disease of pulmonary fibrosis."

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 treatment 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

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

Get involved and help the mission of American Lung Association. The 11th annual Fight For Air Climb – Louisville is coming up on Sunday, March 24, 2024. This event provides significant revenue to fund research and advancement of lung health. Learn more at

For more information, contact:

Victoria O'Neill
(312) 273-5890
[email protected]

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