University of Michigan Researcher Awarded Grant to Study Disease Progression of Pulmonary Fibrosis

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

With lung diseases like pulmonary fibrosis, vaping and smoke from increased wildfires, lung health research has never been more important. Today, the American Lung Association in Michigan announced that Claudia Loebel, MD, PhD, from The Regents of the University of Michigan, was bestowed the Innovation Award to study how pulmonary fibrosis progresses in patients.

“Here in Michigan, we face lung health challenges like higher smoking and vaping rates and high lung cancer and COPD rates. In addition, nearly 1.5 million people in our state are living with chronic lung disease,” said Maureen Rovas, executive director at the Lung Association in Michigan. “We are excited for Dr. Loebel to join the American Lung Association Research Team to help improve lung health here in Michigan and across the nation.” 

Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease in which a patient’s lungs are scarred, often for unknown reasons. Tissue stiffness due to scarring and accumulation of abnormal cells are characteristic for lungs with this disease. Over time, the scarred tissue prevents oxygen from being taken up by the blood, leading to shortness of breath and often death. Dr. Loebel’s project will focus on how tissue stiffness accelerates the growth of abnormal cells and their communication with other cells during fibrosis. These insights will provide important knowledge towards targeting tissue stiffness-related changes in pulmonary fibrosis.

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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