U of M Researcher Awarded $200K American Lung Association Grant to Study Covid-19 Respiratory Viruses

The American Lung Association Research Institute has awarded $13.6 million in research grants to fund 129 innovative projects to advance science to end lung disease, including a project from Michigan. Yanzhuang Wang, Ph.D. from the Regents of the University of Michigan was awarded the COVID-19 Respiratory Virus Research Award. For the next two years he will receive $100,000 under the award for a grant total of $200,000.

Lung research is critical because 1,433,000 people in Michigan 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. Wang to the elite American Lung Association Research Institute and our efforts to fundamentally transform lung health here in Michigan and across the nation,” said Carma Peters, Local Leadership Board Chair at the Lung Association. “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. Wang’s project will investigate how the SARS-CoV-2 infection alters a structure called the Golgi apparatus that is found in cells. The Golgi distribute proteins to their proper locations, but the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection causes it to fragment and scatter. Dr. Wang’s research will look at how Golgi structural changes affect SARS-CoV-2 virus intracellular transport and release; plus try to identify therapeutic targets that can be used in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“I am deeply honored to receive this research award from the American Lung Association. This recognition highlights the significance of our ongoing efforts to advance our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its implications for human health,” said Dr. Wang. “I am committed to continuing this important work to benefit individuals and families affected by COVID-19 and related infections. Thanks to the American Lung Association for the support and acknowledgment.”

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 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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For more information, contact:

Janye Killelea
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Detroit, MI | May 29, 2024