The American Thoracic Society Foundation has announced that 22 researchers have been awarded grants totaling more than $1 million to advance pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine around the world.

Since it began in 2004, the ATS Foundation Research Program has awarded $15 million to 189 investigators, both in the United States and internationally. These researchers have gone on to receive $188 million in federal funding.

In recent years, the program has expanded the number and kinds of researchers it funds, but the primary emphasis remains on promising young investigators making the transition from working in established laboratories to becoming independent researchers. Their work spans basic, translational, and clinical research in pediatric and adults respiratory medicine.

“These grants can be transformational for researchers, most of whom are at the beginning of their careers,” says Dean Schraufnagel, MD, chair of the ATS Foundation and a faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago, in a release. “Beyond the cachet of being recognized by what is widely regarded as the leading scientific society in respiratory medicine, researchers use these funds to test their hypotheses and make discoveries that greatly increase their ability to compete for major grants from the National Institutes of Health and other national and international agencies.”

Richard J. Schwab, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and chair of the ATS Scientific Advisory Committee that is charged with selecting the best grant proposals, says that this year’s process was especially competitive.

“The quality and scientific rigor of the research grants awarded this year were outstanding,” he says. “We reviewed many high-impact research proposals and are excited that these investigators will provide important new scientific information that should improve patients’ lives.”

The 2016 ATS Foundation Research Program grant categories and recipients are:

Unrestricted Grants in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep

These one-year, $40,000 grants can be used to support basic science, patient-oriented, and public health research.

Clemente Britto, MD
Yale University
“SPLUNC1: A Sputum Biomarker of Future Exacerbations in Cystic Fibrosis”

Jennifer Honda, PhD
University of Colorado, Denver
“Using Clinical Isolates from Hawai’I to Understand Mycobacerium Avium Complex Species Virulence”

Darcy Wagner, PhD
Comprehensive Pneumology Center (Germany)
“Impaired Hippo Signaling in Fibrosis Activates YAP/TAZ in the Distal Lung Epithelium”

Critical Care
Jeremy Beitler, MD, MPH
University of California, San Diego
“Sizing the ‘Baby Lung’ for Lung Injury in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome”

Robert Dickson, MD
University of Michigan
“Bacterial Translocation in Sepsis: A Multifaceted Molecular Approach”

Lioudmila Karnatovskaia, MD
Mayo Clinic
“Early Psychological Support for the Critically Ill”

Brian Cade, PhD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
“Resolving Heterogeneity and Identifying Informative Traits of Sleep Apnea in Humans”

Jonathan Jun, MD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
“Beta Blockade for Nocturnal Metabolic Dysfunction in Obstructive Sleep Apnea”

Andrew Varga, MD, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
“Differentiating Intermittent Hypoxia and Sleep Fragmentation Effects of OSA on Memory Formation”

Recognition Awards for Outstanding Early Career Investigators

These one-year, $40,000 grants support researchers transitioning from a fellowship training program in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine to a junior faculty position.

Laura Elise Crotty Alexander, MD
University of California, San Diego
“E-Cigarette Vapor Decreases Host Defenses and Promotes Inflammatory Pathways”

Kenneth Remy, MD
Washington University in St. Louis
“Impact of Red Blood Cell (RBC) Derived DAMPs Upon Innate Immunity in Sepsis (RBC-DAMPS)

2016 Partner Grants

These grants are offered in partnership with ATS Foundation Research Program’s non-profit partners to support disease-specific research in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. Most Partner Grants award $40,000-$50,000 annually for two years.

Megan Ballinger, PhD
The Ohio State University
“The Role of SOCS1 in Regulating Macrophage Activation During Pulmonary Fibrosis”
Partner: Genentech (IFP)

Olivier Boucherat, PhD
IUCPQ (Quebec Heart and Lung Institute)
“Forkhead-Box (FOX) Transcription Factors in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension” Partner: Pulmonary Hypertension Association, which fully funds this $80,000 award known as the Rino Aldrighetti Leadership Award.

Emily Henkle, PhD
Oregon Health & Science University
“Health-Related Quality of Life as a Clinical Trial Endpoint for Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Disease”
Partner: American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific

Jinghong Li, MD, PhD
University of California, San Diego
“Targeting CTLA4 and PD-L1 for Treatment of Allergic Asthma”
Partner: Breathe California of LA

Farbod Nicholas Rahaghi, MD, PhD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
“CT Imaging Markers of Pulmonary Arterial and Venous Remodeling in Pulmonary Hypertension”
Partner: Pulmonary Hypertension Association

Recognition Awards for Outstanding Established Investigators

Offered for the first time, these awards support researchers who are between the National Institute of Health’s R Series grants, which primarily support independent investigators. Recipients are awarded $40,000 annually for two years to explore research questions in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine that can lead to new R-level funding.

Ian Christopher Davis, PhD
The Ohio State University
“Role of Alveolar Type II Cell MicroRNA-155 in the Pathogenesis of Influenza-Induced ARDS”

Seyedtaghi Takyar, MD, PhD
Yale School of Medicine
“A Cell-Specific Endothelial MicroRNA Adenylation Pathway Regulates Th2 Inflammation in Asthma”

2016 MECOR Research Awards

These one-year, $5,000 grants are awarded to graduates of the ATS Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical, and Operations Research (MECOR), an international program to spur research worldwide in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine.

Juliana Ferreira, MD, PhD
University of Sao Paulo
“Reporting Quality of Abstracts Submitted by MECOR Graduates to ATS International Conference”

Patrick de Marie Katoto, MD
Universite Catholique de Bukavu (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
“Household Air Pollution and Risk of Tuberculosis in HIV Infected Patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”

Phuong Thi Mai Ngyuen, MS
Vietnam National Lung Hospital
“Relation Between Bedaquiline Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Parameters and DR-TB Treatment Outcome”

Ogonna Nwota Odi Nwankwo, MB, BS
University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (Nigeria)
“Evaluation of an Innovative Research Capacity Building Program in Africa: The Pan Africa Thoracic Society-MECOR Program”