The I.M. Rosenzweig Junior Investigator Award Winners
The I.M. Rosenzweig Junior Investigator Award was established to encourage researchers to maintain and enhance their interest in PF research during the early stages of their academic career.
Jose D. Herazo-Maya, MD
Proposal Title: "Serum microRNA Expression Profiles as Biomarkers in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis"
This proposal is funded by GenentechDr. Herazo-Maya is an instructor in medicine in the Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Yale University. He obtained his MD degree at the University of Cartagena School of Medicine in Colombia. In 2008, he became a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease, under the mentorship of Dr. Naftali Kaminski, where he worked in the area of functional genomics, molecular biology, and bioinformatics. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Pittsburgh and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship at Pittsburgh and Yale.
Dr. Herazo-Maya’s research focus is the identification of molecular profiles associated with increased mortality in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) using high-throughput “omic” technologies and precision medicine approaches. His ultimate goal is to identify new therapeutic targets for IPF that can improve patient survival. His previous research demonstrated a 52-gene signature that predicted survival in IPF and tied these gene expression changes with shifts in immune cell subpopulations. Most recently, he has developed an interest in studying microRNAs in serum as potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in IPF and their mechanistic role in disease severity and progression.
Jonathan Kropski, MD
Proposal Title: "RTEL1 and DNA Damage Signaling in Pulmonary Fibrosis"
This proposal is funded by the NYC Run-Walk-Hike for Pulmonary Fibrosis.Dr. Kropski is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Davidson College and completed his medical education, internal medicine residency, and pulmonary/critical care fellowship at Vanderbilt. Dr. Kropski’s research interest focuses on determining the molecular mechanisms that mediate the early pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis, with an emphasis on the role of genetic factors that influence alveolar epithelial injury and repair. As a fellow working under Dr. Timothy Blackwell, Dr. Kropski identified mutations in DKC1 and RTEL1 as the basis for disease in some families with pulmonary fibrosis. His independent work now utilizes cell and animal-based models to determine the mechanisms through which these and other genetic risk factors for pulmonary fibrosis contribute to the development of disease. His ultimate goal is to use genetic and genomic profiling to develop rational and specific therapies for patients with pulmonary fibrosis.
The Albert Rose Established Investigator Award Winners
Created to allow established investigators to explore novel, innovative areas of research, the Albert Rose Established Investigator Award provides critical support to the development of new projects, and enables the investigator to pursue additional funding through the National Institutes of Health or other agencies. Two $50,000 grants are awarded per annual cycle, disbursed over a two-year period.
Tracy Luckhardt, MD, MS
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Proposal Title: “Frailty as an Outcome Measure in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis"
This proposal is funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Dr. Luckhardt is an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She received her Bachelor of Science in microbiology at Louisiana State University in 1996 and her Medical Doctorate from Louisiana State University School of Medicine at Shreveport in 2000. She completed her internal medicine training at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where she was also chief medical resident. She trained in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Michigan Health Systems. She also received her master’s degree in biostatistics and clinical research design from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She has been on the faculty at UAB since 2009. Dr. Luckhardt’s research and clinical interests are in interstitial lung disease, particularly idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and connective tissue related-interstitial lung disease. She is the director of clinical research at UAB and has been prinicipal investigator of multiple Phase II clinical trials. Dr. Luckhardt has also investigated the role of herpes virus infections in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis, and has collaborated with multiple groups investigating the pathogenesis and new therapeutics in pulmonary fibrosis.
Hon Yuen, PhD, MS
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Proposal Title: “Home-Based Pulmonary Rehab for Patients with Pulmonary Fibrosis"Dr. Yuen received his education in occupational therapy at the University of Queensland, Australia. His doctoral training at the University of Florida focused on the area of research, evaluation, and measurement methodology. He has consistently received National Institute of Health funding on grant projects, as well as foundation grants between 2002 and 2012. His research interests in the area of physical rehabilitation include strategies to improve physical activity adherence through therapeutic modification of the physical and psychosocial environments, and the use of interactive health video games. This includes delivering and evaluating exercise interventions using the Nintendo Wii Fit Plus in persons with chronic diseases. He has several publications on incorporating game activities as an incentive to improve motivation and adherence to home-based exercise for these populations. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Established Investigator Award will help facilitate Dr. Yuen’s work on his long-term career goals of studying the impact of home-based exercise, especially using exergames to improve physical fitness, and alleviating fatigue among people with chronic health conditions.