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Lung disease foundation lauds investigators

Jan. 16, 2014, 9:09 AM

Two Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators recently received awards from the ATS Foundation and its partners to support their lung disease-related research efforts.

• Harikrishna Tanjore, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Medicine, received $80,000 to further his research related to Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS), which causes albinism, bleeding problems and often scarring of lung tissue.

Harikrishna Tanjore, Ph.D.

In his study, Tanjore will use mouse models to explore how transforming growth factor-b (TGF-b) contributes to the development and progression of lung scarring in HPS.

“I am optimistic that an understanding of how TGF- b interacts with other cell types already known to be involved in HPS will lead to the development of new drugs,” Tanjore said. “The goal for these new therapies would be to block these interactions and halt the disease’s progression.”

• Jonathan Kropski, M.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care, received $50,000 to support his study of drugs to possibly treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Patients with IPF have scarring in their lungs, leading to impaired oxygen exchange.

Jonathan Kropski, M.D.

“The most exciting part about my project is that the two drugs that I will be examining for their use in IPF are already FDA-approved,” Kropski said. “If they are effective in animal models, then there would be strong rationale to quickly move toward studying these medications in patients with IPF. We are very encouraged that this could lead to a new treatment for IPF, which today has no known therapies.”

Tanjore’s award is from the ATS Foundation and the Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Network.
Kropski’s award is from the ATS Foundation and German pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim.

The ATS Foundation has awarded more than $10 million in grants to early career investigators conducting research in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine.

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