UTMB Researcher Awarded $100,000 Grant to Study Novel Strategies to Mitigate COVID-19 Pandemic

Two MD Anderson Cancer Center Researchers also receive grants to study lung cancer treatments

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 Texas announced three research awardees in the Houston area. 

  • Yashoda Madaiah Hosakote, Ph.D., from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston received the “COVID-19 Respiratory Virus Research Award;”
  • Yonathan Lissanu Deribe, Ph.D., M.D., from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, received the “Innovation Award;” and  
  • Humam Kadara, Ph.D., from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, received the    Lung Cancer Discovery Award.

"Here in Texas, we face lung health challenges every day, but we are proud that Texas is becoming a leader in medical research. We are thrilled to add these three funded studies locally. They are only made possible through the direct support of the Houston community. Their efforts help the more than 3 million Texans living with chronic lung disease,” said Charlotte Maffia, Executive Director at the Lung Association. “We are excited for all three doctors to join the American Lung Association Research Team to help improve lung health here in Texas and across the nation.” 

The goal of Dr, Hosakote’s research is investigate the role of a protein, called high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), in SARS-CoV-2 infection, which may guide the development of novel therapeutic strategies to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Deribe’s research will work on the development of a compound, known as YD23, in patients with SMARCA4, a gene in advanced lung cancers, to help inhibit growth of lung cancer.

Dr. Kadara’s research will target an antigen, called CD24, to develop early immune-based treatment of lung cancer.

In the 2022-2023 grants cycle, the Lung Association is funding $13.2 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 Lung.org/research-team.

For more information, contact:

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

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