Alpha-1 Foundation Awards 2021 Grants


The Alpha-1 Foundation has established priorities that are important to its mission of proceeding as rapidly as possible toward a cure for Alpha-1. These research priorities are broad categories of immediate and long-term interest to the Foundation. The in-cycle investigator-initiated grants program is the main element in the Foundation’s research portfolio. The Foundation has invested more than $81 million to support Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) research and programs. Research projects have been conducted at 119 institutions in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. The level of research activity in AAT is at an all-time high and holds much hope for the future for people diagnosed with AAT Deficiency.

The Foundation is proud to announce its In -Cycle grant awardees for 2021 and 10 grant recipients will receive $1.5 million in total for their projects. Of this year’s grant award recipients’ fields of study, 50 percent are lung focused, 30 percent are liver focused and 20 percent are focused in both areas. The research is focused 70 percent in basic research and 30 percent in translational research, keeping a well-rounded portfolio.

“This is always an exciting time of year for the Foundation as we award our in-cycle grants. I congratulate each awardee for their outstanding submissions and look forward to seeing the outcomes of their funded studies. The focus of the Alpha-1 Foundation’s Peer reviewed grants program is to promote research that will eventually result in the improved health of individuals with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Over the past 26 years the patient has been the center of the over $81 million dollars invested in research. We are proud to partner with researchers around the world that work tirelessly each and every day towards a cure,” said Dr. Mark Brantly, Scientific Director of the Alpha-1 Foundation.

The annual Grant Awards Reception will be held on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 from 6:00pm-7:00pm ET. The reception will feature live presentations from our newly awarded investigators that will include an overview of their projects and the impact their research will have on Alpha-1 patients. The reception will also feature a special performance from Dr. Sandy Sandhaus’ band, DINGO.

“We invite and encourage members from the entire Alpha-1 community to join us for this informative evening where the newly awarded researchers from around the world will present their projects and its impact on Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency research. This highly anticipated annual special event is a highlight of the Foundation’s research program and we are grateful to hold this reception virtually for the very first time allowing everyone to be a part of the excitement,“ stated Dr. Jeanine D’Armiento, Chair of the Board of Directors, Alpha-1 Foundation.

The audience for the reception will include Alpha-1 patients, donors, researchers, Clinical Resource Centers (CRCs), and members of the Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC), Grants Advisory Committee (GAC), and the Board of Directors.

Congratulations to the 2021 Research Grant Awardees

Pilot and Feasibility Grant Awards

Stefanie Krick, M.D. Ph.D.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

“Targeting Mucociliary Clearance Pathways in Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency”

Lela Lackey, Ph.D.

Clemson University

“Regulation of A1AT expression via nuclear retention of SERPINA1 mRNA”

Jungnam Lee, Ph.D.

University of Florida 

“A high concentration of a-defensins impairs macrophage differentiation and function 

Research Grant Awards

Annamaria Fra, Ph.D.

University of Brescia, Italy

“Molecular bases of alpha-1-antitrypsin functional deficiency”

Scott Gordon, Ph.D.

University of Kentucky Research Foundation

“High Density Lipoprotein Targeting Protease Inhibitors for Preservation of Lung Function”

Sheikh Tamir Rashid, M.D., Ph.D.

 Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, UK

“The role of LRRK2 in Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency”

Emer Reeves, Ph.D.

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

“C3d: a key driver of inflammation in patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency”

 Karina Serban, M.D.

National Jewish Health

“Mannose-Binding-Lectin function in Alpha-1 deficiency with Mycobacteria pulmonary disease”

Juncheng Wei, Ph.D.

Northwestern University

“Role of HRD1-METTL14 axis in alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency induces liver disease”