Rochester and Buffalo Researchers Awarded 3 Lung Association Grants Totaling $175,000 to Study Asthma Education, Youth Vaping Cessation and Pulmonary Fibrosis

Recipients belong to cohort of researchers receiving a total $12.6 million in research funding from the American Lung Association

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 Western New York, $175,000 has been divided among three distinguished scientists to help change how lung diseases, including COVID-19 and lung cancer, impact people’s lives.

“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 Kaelyn Gates, executive director for the American Lung Association in Western New York. “We are proud to have these researchers on our team to help us realize our vision of a world free of lung disease.”

The Lung Association recently announced that it increased its research funding to award $12.6 million for a total of over 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. In Western New York, grants went to:  

  • Francisco Cartujano, M.D., University of Rochester Medical Center, Wilmot Cancer Institute on a research project studying the use of e-cigarettes (vaping) among young adults with particular attention paid to Latinos who have the highest use rates in the U.S. This project, called “Kick Vaping” will study  whether text messaging might be a useful intervention to help Latino young adults quit vaping.    
  • Sean M Frey, MD,    University of Rochester will test an innovative technology-enhanced approach to asthma education for children (5-11 years) who are hospitalized due to asthma. 
  • Ruogang Zhao, Ph.D., The Research Foundation of SUNY, will study the development of human-relevant lung disease models for translating the scientific discoveries from the labs to the clinics. 
  • Dr Zhao said, “With this award from the American Lung Association, we will examine the role of inflammation in the formation of pulmonary fibrosis, which can potentially help thousands of patients with Covid-19 infection.” 

Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through a rigorous 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 categories: 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 to 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

To schedule a media interview with a Lung Association researcher or lung health expert, contact Jen Solomon at 516-680-8927 or [email protected] 

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Solomon
(516) 680-8927
[email protected]

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