Meet the 2023 ATS Research Program Awardees


The Annual ATS Research Program Benefit is the biggest networking event at the ATS International Conference and an excellent way to support young investigators in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. This year’s event will be held directly after the conference’s Opening Ceremony on Saturday, May 20, from 6–7:30 p.m. ET at the Grand Hyatt Washington. 

Recognizing the importance of this opportunity to reconnect with respiratory health colleagues, the ATS has eliminated the formal program to enable attendees to make the most of the networking time while enjoying light refreshments. Participants are encouraged to then go out and support the local restaurants of Washington, DC.

The benefit has evolved, but the mission remains the same and is more essential than ever. Each ticket still includes a tax-deductible donation to the ATS Research Program, which directly supports early career scientists.

“The ATS Research Program is one of our most important priorities,” said ATS President Gregory P. Downey, MD, ATSF. “If science stagnates, solutions for patients also stagnate.”

Tickets to the benefit can be purchased when registering for the International Conference. Your ATS 2023 conference badge will serve as your ticket.

2022-23 RESEARCH PROGRAM AWARDEES

ATS/CSL Behring Research Award in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Aartik Sarma, MD, MAS
University of California, San Francisco
Biological effects of mesenchymal stromal cells in patients with ARDS

ATS Research Award in Interstitial
Lung Disease

Alison DeDent, MD, MAS
University of California, San Francisco
Telehealth Expansion and Access to Interstitial Lung Disease Specialty Care for Rural Populations

This award is sponsored by
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 

ALA/ATS/CHEST Foundation Respiratory Health Equity Research Award

Stephanie LaBedz, MD

Stephanie LaBedz, MD
University of Illinois at Chicago
Determinants of Medication Non-Adherence Among Adults with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

ATS Diversity Grant

Marlene Cano, MD, PhD, BS, BA

Marlene Cano, MD, PhD, BS, BA
Washington University in St. Louis
Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Early Adverse Outcomes After Lung Transplant

ATS Unrestricted Research Grant

Bongani Liberty Mthunzi, PhD, BSc

Bongani Liberty Mthunzi, PhD, BSc
Columbia University
Developing a Novel Cell-Targeted Therapy for Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury

ATS Unrestricted Research Grant

Joselyn Rojas-Quintero, MD, MS
Baylor College of Medicine
Protective effects of metformin against methylation of AT2 cells in emphysema

ATS Unrestricted Research Grant

Nooralam Rai, MD
Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Characterizing the Role of SFRP-1 in Lung Development and Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

ATS Unrestricted Research Grant

Syed Saif Hasan, PhD, BSc, MSc
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Structural Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein

ATS Unrestricted Research Grant

Tristan Kooistra, MD
Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital
Airway Stem Cell Notch Signaling Regulates Tissue Macrophage Function


Established in 2004, the ATS Research Program bolsters new investigators as they strive to launch independent research careers dedicated to innovation in patient care. Since 2004, the Research Program has awarded $22.8 million in research grants to 334 investigators who have gone on to secure more than $784.8 million in federal funding. That is a return on investment of $34 per dollar awarded.

While research has led to significant advances in medicine, there remains much to be learned, especially in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. According to the World Health Organization, more than a billion people globally suffer from chronic respiratory conditions.

The talented basic, translational, and clinical investigators funded through ATS Research Program awards are taking new approaches to unlock the mysteries of respiratory diseases. Their topics of scientific exploration are diverse and include lung cancer, asthma, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep apnea, and more. By providing research grants to promising young investigators, the ATS Research Program launches careers dedicated to advancing scientific discovery—and better patient care.

“Research in the junior professional world was significantly affected by shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Downey said. “It really is a critical time for junior professionals, and we need to do as much as we can to support their essential work.”

Questions about the Research Program Benefit should be addressed to [email protected].

To receive updates on the ATS Research Program, subscribe to the mailing list here. Direct gifts to the ATS Research Program can be made here.

Don’t Miss On-Demand Highlights

Unable to attend every session of interest at the ATS 2023 International Conference? Or couldn’t join us in Washington, DC? Access some of the conference’s best content through the ATS 2023 On-Demand Highlights platform, available this summer. It will include more than 100 scientific and clinical symposia, including Keynote sessions, Clinical Year in Review, and Adult and Pediatric Core Curriculum.