Stephen Schworer, MD, PhD, will use the award to better understand the biology of small airways disease in asthma and provide a foundation for mechanistic studies that will inform new therapeutic targets for the condition.
More than 1.4 million people in North Carolina live with lung disease, and each year, millions of people are impacted by respiratory viruses like COVID-19 and influenza. In an effort to “advance today’s science to end lung disease tomorrow”, the American Lung Association Research Institute has awarded $13.6 million in research grants, funding 129 innovative projects across the United States.
Stephen Schworer, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, was awarded the American Lung Association/AAAI Allergic Respiratory Diseases Research Award to better understand the biology of small airways disease in asthma and provide a foundation for mechanistic studies that will inform new therapeutic targets for the condition. The award will provide his lab with $75,000 per year for 2 years.
Schworer’s research will focus on asthma, specifically two features of the disease that could be targets for future treatments: blockages in the lung’s airways caused by mucus and changes in the small airways themselves.
By studying the lungs of people who have died from asthma and people with severe asthma, he will investigate the relationship between airways’ epithelial cells and mucus production, potentially understanding how these genes are turned on and off.
“Funding from the Allergic Respiratory Diseases Award is crucial to my work on two understudied and important features of asthma: mucus plugging and small airways disease,” said Schworer. “This opportunity allows me as an allergist physician-scientist to work with pulmonologists and pathologists to use cutting edge methods to study the molecular features of steroid-refractory severe asthma and fatal asthma.”
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
Media contact: Kendall Daniels, Communications Specialist, UNC Health | UNC School of Medicine