Young Investigators Awarded Grants to Study COVID-19 and Lung Cancer

Young Investigators Awarded Grants to Study COVID-19 and Lung Cancer

Behind the Scenes
WCLC 2020 Archive
Feb 05, 2021
Lung Ambition Alliance Logo
Lung Ambition Alliance to award four new Junior Faculty Research Grants.

Four early-career researchers have been selected to receive the Lung Ambition Alliance Junior Faculty Grants for the Study of COVID-19 and Lung Cancer. Research shows that patients with lung cancer have worse outcomes with COVID-19 and these grants are intended to fund groundbreaking research for those patients. Ultimately, the aim is to improve the quality of care and the outcomes for patients with lung cancer who contract COVID-19. These research grants are made possible by funding from Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Novartis and are administered by the International Lung Cancer Foundation.

The grant recipients are:

Dr. Mattia Boeri
Dr. Boeri is a Senior Scientist in the laboratory of Tumor Genetics of the Department of Experimental Oncology at the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (Milan, Italy). His winning research project focuses on investigating possible correlations between COVID-19 and lung cancer risk and will monitor the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in subjects who are at a high-risk for developing lung cancer.  

Dr. Amit Kulkarni
Dr. Kulkarni is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN, USA). His winning research project aims to utilize the carefully curated granular data from lung cancer patients with COVID-19 to analyze the true incidence of severe COVID-19 in patients with lung cancer and attempt to identify clinical, laboratory and lung cancer specific treatment factors associated with severe outcomes and death.

Dr. Jeremias Sulam
Dr. Sulam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, USA). His winning project aims to develop novel methods for generating synthetic COVID-19 images from baseline lung cancer radiographs and CT scans using state-of-the-art generative deep learning models and will validate the realistic-ness of these images by expert radiologists. If successful, these synthetic datasets could alleviate some of the scarcity of images of COVID-19 in lung cancer patients and facilitate the training and controlled validation of deep learning models in these cases, as well as provide educational resources for radiologists and other physicians.

Dr. Jun-chieh Tsay
Dr. Tsay is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at New York University (New York, NY, USA). His winning research project focuses on investigating the residual effects, post COVID-19 recovery, on the tumor microenvironment within a group of people who are newly diagnosed lung cancer. As part of this project, the team will characterize the lower airway immune environment from patients with immunotherapy induced pneumonitis and prior COVID-19 infection.