Currently Funded

Respiratory Health Association funds ground-breaking lung disease research at major Chicagoland institutions. We are currently funding the following researchers and projects: 

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Research Award:
Bria Coates, MD, Northwestern University

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Award:

Ai P “Anna” Lam, MD, Northwestern University

Lung Cancer Research Award:
Gye Young Park, MD, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Coates aims to improve ARDS through her research of IAV
Investigator: Bria Coates, MD, Instructor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Project Title: Role of NOD-­like receptor proteins in juvenile influenza A virus infection (Funded by: Respiratory Health Association)

 Respiratory Health Association encouraged grant applications from junior investigators interested in conducting innovative research studies into the causes and mechanisms of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The Respiratory Health Association's Research Review Committee was particularily impressed by the innovative nature of Dr. Coates' work and felt that her research will strongly impact those living with ARDS in the future. It is the goal of the committee that this award will advance Dr. Coates' future research around this lung issue.

Research Summary: Dr. Coates is investigating the role of IAV in development of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The Influenza A virus (IAV) is a highly contagious virus that causes respiratory infections in up to 40% of children each year. Both the virus and the immune system’s response to the virus can damage the lungs in IAV Infection, leading to ARDS. Her goal is to determine how NLRP3 and NOD2 contribute to IAV induced lung injury in children.  

Dr. Lam investigates important pathways in the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis
Investigator: Anna Lam, MD, Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Dermatology, Northwestern University

Project Title: Wnt/beta-catenin signaling impacts macrophage differentiation in persistence of pulmonary fibrosis (Funded by: Respiratory Health Association)

: Respiratory Health Association encouraged applications from investigators interested in conducting innovative research studies in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) to build upon an existing portfolio of research. The committee appreciated the novel connection of the function of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway to pulmonary fibrosis. We are hopeful her efforts will lead to enhancements in the lives of those living with IPF in the future and further advance the study of the genetic factors impacting IPF.

Research Summary: Dr. Lam is investigating important pathways in the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. Core pathways, such as Wnt/beta-catenin, that are important during human prenatal development, are altered in IPF. Abnormal function of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway is known to cause human diseases such as colon cancer and osteoporosis. Dr. Lam and her team are the first to link this pathway to lung fibrosis.

Dr. Park is investigating a new therapeutic strategy for lung cancer
Investigator: Dr. Gye Young Park, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of the Pulmonary and Diagnostic Laboratory, The University of Illinois at Chicago 

Project Title: Macrophage Regulation of Lung Cancer Progression 
(Funded by: Respiratory Health Association)

Background: RHA sought applications designed to investigate lung cancer and the development and testing of new methodologies including models to treat this disease. The committee felt that Dr. Park’s research closely aligns with RHA’s mission and looks forward to the advancements that this award will have on lung cancer treatment in the future.

Research Summary: Dr. Park is investigating a new therapeutic strategy for lung cancer by modifying the phenotype of tumor associated macrophages (TAMs). It is known that macrophages inside or within the surrounding area of a tumor play a role in tumor growth. However, this type of macrophage secretes biologically active substances to enhance tumor growth. The alteration of TAM characteristics could be implicated and improve treatment of lung cancer. Dr. Park will examine the involvement of the macrophage cellular and biochemical mechanisms as it relates to lung cancer in an effort to develop new approaches for treatment resulting in an increased survival rate.

More information about research and areas of study:

For more information about RHA's involvement in research,
contact Jennifer Kustwin, MPH by phone at (312) 628-0219 or email Research.