2 University of Pittsburgh Researchers Join American Lung Association’s 2021-2022 Research Team and Receive a Total Research Investment of $125,000 to Improve Lung Health and Prevent Lung Disease

Recipients part of organization’s $12.6 million-increase in research funding

As new and pressing lung health challenges emerge with the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change and youth e-cigarette use, researchers have been at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs. Here in Pittsburgh, two distinguished scientists are being awarded research grants to help change how lung diseases, including COVID-19 and lung cancer, impact people’s lives.

The Lung Association announced that it increased its research funding to award $12.6 million for more than 100 research grants. The funded projects address a wide range of lung health topics, including COVID-19 in children, the public health impacts of e-cigarette policy and lung cancer in never smokers. The following local researchers from University of Pittsburgh have received a 2021-2022 Lung Association total research investment of $125,000:

Amanda Poholek, Ph.D., Pittsburgh resident Squirrel Hill neighborhood, assistant professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh,– received $75,000 Innovation Award fundingfor the “Learning Protein’s Role in Allergic Asthma Could Lead to New Treatments” project.

Maryam Sharifi-Sanjani, Ph.D., Pittsburgh resident, research instructor at the University of Pittsburgh, received $50,000 Catalyst Award funding for the “Assisting Heart Function in Pulmonary Hypertension” project.

“The University of Pittsburgh has a breadth of investigators who share the American Lung Association vision of “A world free of lung disease.” We are extraordinarily proud of our talented researchers, Dr. Amanda Poholek and Dr. Maryam Sharifi-Sanjani for receiving these prestigious awards,” said Mark Geraci, M.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Interdisciplinary Research, Health Sciences, at the University of Pittsburgh.

“These researchers are part of an elite team that join the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Nearly 37 million Americans live with lung disease, and as we face new challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, lung health research is more important than ever,” said Caroline Hutchinson, executive director of Pennsylvania at the Lung Association. “We are proud to have these researchers on our team to help us realize our vision of a world free of lung disease.”

Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through a rigorous peer review committee and represent the investigation of a wide range of complex issues to help reduce the burden of lung disease. Awards are given in eight different grant types: 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, Lung Cancer Discovery Award, and Public Policy Research Award.

In total, $12.6 million was awarded for more than 100 grants, including seven new COVID-19 research grants. Meet the full Lung Association research team, including current awardees and their full abstracts at Lung.org/research-team.

To schedule a media interview with a Lung Association researcher or lung health expert, contact Val Gleason at 717-971-1123 or [email protected].

For more information, contact:

Valerie Gleason
[email protected]

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