University of Oklahoma Researcher Awarded Grant to Study Lung Development in Premature Babies

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 Oklahoma announced that Dr. Trent Tipple from the Board of Regents University of Oklahoma was awarded the Innovation Award.

“Here in Oklahoma, we face lung health challenges every day like higher smoking and vaping rates, but lest we forget that lung disease also impacts our youngest members of society, like underdeveloped lungs in newborns and premature babies. They are included in the more than 610,000 people in our state that suffer from lung disease,” said Terri Bailey, Executive Director at the Lung Association. “We are excited for Dr. Tipple to join the American Lung Association Research Team to help improve lung health here in Oklahoma and across the nation.” 

The goal of Dr. Tipple’s research is to better understand selenium, a nutritional element in the lungs of premature babies. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is the leading cause of lung problems in premature babies. BPD is caused by exposure to high oxygen levels (hyperoxia) and poor antioxidant defenses. Selenium is a nutritional element that is needed for antioxidant defense. Selenium deficiency is common in premature babies and is a risk factor for BPD development. Infants who develop BPD have a high risk of life-long lung problems. The research will study selenium in a mouse model of BPD, which will lead to better understanding of the ways in which selenium contributes to lung development, antioxidant responses, and BPD. By defining the role of selenium, we can better develop therapies to prevent BPD development in premature babies.

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

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

For more information, contact:

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

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