About the Research Program

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About the Research Program

The ATS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Thoracic Society, was established in 2004 to raise funds for the ATS Foundation Research Program. Through the Research Program, the ATS Foundation invests in talented investigators from around the world, launching careers dedicated to scientific discovery and better patient care. The awardees explore such diverse topics as lung cancer, asthma, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, COPD, sleep apnea, and more.

The Challenge
A decade of federal funding cutbacks for biomedical research continues to threaten the pursuit of new treatments and cures for patients burdened by lung disease. Investigators at the beginning of their careers are especially vulnerable to having a lifetime of discoveries terminated. This is much more than a professional loss: it is a humanitarian one.

Program Impact
Since 2004, the ATS Foundation Research Program has awarded $17.6 million to 235 investigators who have gone on to secure $268 million in federal funding. That’s a return on investment of $15 per dollar awarded. Without this “seed” support, these researchers may not have received their subsequent grants.

ATS Foundation Research Program awardees go on to establish laboratories where they publish their findings in the world’s leading journals… achieve leadership positions at prominent institutions… mentor the next generation of researchers and clinicians… and develop promising new treatments for complex lung diseases. Learn more.

The Foundation in Action
In 2013, when federal funding was at its lowest, and young researchers the most vulnerable, we responded with an aggressive push. We created the Recognition Award for Outstanding Early Career Investigators, providing bridge funding for young investigators who submitted outstanding applications that were close to, but just missed, the NIH grant payline. These awards are a springboard for young researchers: they create protected research time to successfully compete for a K award, which in turn increases an investigator’s likelihood of receiving an R award.

Awardees in Their Own Words
Dr. Marta Kaminska, a 2013 recipient of an ATS Foundation Recognition Award for Outstanding Early Career Investigators, is an assistant professor in respiratory diseases at McGill University. She has teamed up with a neurologist to study the effects of sleep apnea on cognitive dysfunction with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Kaminska began her research with start-up funds from her university, and the ATS Foundation grant “will let me grow my study and publish the results.” With more data and an established track record, she adds, she will be in a much better position to secure a major grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The ATS Foundation, Inc. is 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Learn more about the Research Program awardees.

Download the Research Program brochure

The ATS supports the ATS Foundation’s administrative expenses, assuring that every dollar contributed goes directly to support programs.