Kudos to Dr. Lacher! 

Sarah Lacher, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, received the American Lung Association Research Award for its Catalyst Award program. This grant is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus, and the University of Montana.

The American Lung Association awarded a $100,000 grant with a $50,000 a year distribution of the funds over a 2-year period. The title of the project is: “Using Functional Genomics to Dissect Wildfire Smoke-Induced Pulmonary Disease.” 

Wildfires are increasing every year and climate change is a major contributing factor. They ravage the land and the smoke they produce ravages human health. Asthma, COPD, and lung or heart disease-related deaths are rising at an alarming rate, and patients, caregivers, and the healthcare system is desperate for solutions. The molecular mechanisms that drive wildfire smoke-induced disease are not yet understood. With this grant, Dr. Lacher and her colleagues will address this gap in understanding by exposing mice to levels of woodsmoke air pollution equivalent to those experienced by hard hit communities living with annual wildfires. Using a custom-built inhalation facility and new genomic technology, they will collect and analyze cells in the lung to reveal valuable insights into the causes, preventions, and treatments that will help millions of people live healthier, happier, safer lives.