News Release

AGA Research Foundation announces 2016 class of research award winners

Grant and Award Announcement

American Gastroenterological Association

San Diego, CA (May 20, 2016) -- At Digestive Disease Week® 2016, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Research Foundation will honor its 2016 class of research award winners. The AGA Research Awards Program serves to support talented investigators who are pursuing careers in digestive disease research. A research grant from the AGA Research Foundation ensures that a major proportion of the recipient's time is protected for research.

"The AGA Research Foundation received a record number of applications in 2016 from young investigators working to advance our understanding of digestive and liver diseases," said Robert S. Sandler, MD, MPH, AGAF, incoming chair of the AGA Research Foundation. "AGA is proud to invest in these 66 talented scientists and looks forward to seeing how each of their research projects will ultimately lead to better care for patients suffering from digestive disorders."

The AGA Research Awards Program is made possible thanks to the foundation's generous donors. To show your support for GI research, visit

Below are the 2016 AGA Research Foundation award recipients. To learn about upcoming research funding opportunities, visit

Research Scholar Awards

  • Silvia Giugliano, PhD, University of Colorado, Denver
  • Adam D. Gracz, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Ana Maldonado-Contreras, MSc, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester
  • Kyle Staller, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

AGA-CCFA-Janssen Research Award in IBD Epigenetics Research

  • Theresa Alenghat, MD, PhD, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH

AGA-Athena Troxel Blackburn Research Scholar Award in Neuroenteric Disease

  • Maxime M. Mahe, MS, PhD, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH

AGA-Gilead Sciences Research Scholar Award in Liver Disease

  • Brian J. DeBosch, MD, PhD, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

AGA-Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Research Scholar Award in Neurogastroenterology

  • Meenakshi Rao, MD, PhD, Columbia University, New York, NY

AGA-Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Research Scholar Award in Gut Microbiome

  • Lea Ann Chen, MD, New York University Langone Medical Center

AGA-Boston Scientific Career Development Technology and Innovation Award

  • Guan Xu, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

R. Robert & Sally D. Funderburg Research Award in Gastric Cancer

  • Richard J. DiPaolo, PhD, St. Louis University, MO

AGA Microbiome Junior Investigator Research Award

  • Ting-Chin D. Shen, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

AGA-Rome Foundation Pilot Award in Functional Gastroenterology and Motility

  • Ans Pauwels, MPharmSc, PhD, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Flanders, Belgium
  • Izumi Kaji, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles/CURE

AGA-Caroline Craig Augustyn and Damian Augustyn Award in Digestive Cancer

  • Costas A. Lyssiotis, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

AGA-Medtronic Research and Development Pilot Award in Technology

  • Wa Xian, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston

AGA Elsevier Pilot Research Award

  • Barbara Jung, MD, AGAF, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Kirk Wangensteen, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

AGA-Elsevier Gut Microbiome Pilot Research Award

  • Mohamad Mokadem, MD, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City

AGA Investing in the Future Student Research Fellowships

  • Kimberley Agbo, Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford, NJ
  • Uzoamaka Aniagba, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • Deborah Ehie, Missouri State University, Springfield
  • Elizabeth Edouard, Mt. Saint Mary's University, Emmitsburg, MD
  • Pierre B. Leconte, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
  • Safra A. Mohamed, Saint Olaf College, Northfield, MN
  • Danelvis Paredes, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan
  • Rani Richardson, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • Roberto Solis, Texas Tech University Health Science Center, Lubbock
  • Oscar Tovar-Camargo, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Bryan
  • Alexander Worix, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
  • Madelaine A. Yuchang Bauzon, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis

AGA-Eli and Edythe Broad Student Research Fellowships (high school)

  • Enea Cominelli, University School, Hunting Valley, OH
  • Anna M. Dang, Skyline High School, Front Royal, VA
  • Jacob Duijser, University School, Hunting Valley, OH
  • Sophia Izhar, Hinsdale Central High School, IL
  • Bryce Liao, James Logan High School, Union City, CA
  • Michael J. Moore, Henry Herbert Dow High School, Midland, MI
  • Vijaya L. Sundaram, Hurricane High School, UT
  • Ashley N. Watson, Howard High School, Ellicott City, MD

AGA/AGA-GRG Fellow Abstract Prizes

  • Dustin A. Carlson, MD, MS, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Laura Edgington-Mitchell, PhD, Monash Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Parkville, Australia
  • Basavaraj Kerur, MD, Hasbro Children Hospital, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI
  • George Kunnackal John, MBBS, MSc, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
  • Nabil Mansour, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Katsuyuki Miyabe, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
  • Saowanee Ngamruengphong, MD, John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Gopanandan Parthasarathy, MBBS, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
  • Amit Patel, MD, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
  • Eric Shah, MD, MBA, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Sarah P. Short, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Mimi Chang Tan, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

AGA-APFED Abstract Awards in Eosinophilic GI Disease Research

  • Paul Dobria, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Alison Goldin, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

AGA Student Abstract Prizes

  • Javier Aguilera-Lizarraga, MSc, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Flanders, Belgium
  • Aimee Alexoff, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Chicago, IL
  • Dafne Balemans, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Flanders, Belgium
  • Patricia Costacurta, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN
  • Ping He, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, NY
  • Karissa Kao, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Michael Laffin, MD, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Cindy Law, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Kimberley van der Sloot, University of Groningen, Netherlands
  • Thomas Van Stappen, PharmD, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Flanders, Belgium
  • Yun Wang, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

AGA-Moti L. and Kamla Rustgi International Travel Awards

  • Valentina Discepolo, MD, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • Sudarshan Paramsothy, MBBS (Hons I), MRCP, FRACP, St Vincent's Hospital Clinical School, South Wales, Australia


About the American Gastroenterological Association

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization.

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About the AGA Research Foundation

The AGA Research Foundation, formerly known as the Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition, is the cornerstone of AGA's effort to expand digestive disease research funding. Since 1984, the AGA, through its foundations, has provided more than $47 million in research grants to more than 870 scientists. The AGA Research Foundation serves as a bridge to the future of research in gastroenterology and hepatology by providing critical funding to advance the careers of young researchers between the end of training and the establishment of credentials that earn National Institutes of Health grants. Learn more about the AGA Research Foundation or make a contribution at

About DDW®

Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. Jointly sponsored by the AGA Institute, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT), DDW takes place May 21-24, 2016, at the San Diego Convention Center, CA. The meeting showcases more than 5,000 abstracts and hundreds of lectures on the latest advances in GI research, medicine and technology. More information can be found at

Follow DDW on Twitter @DDWMeeting; hashtag #DDW16. Become a fan of DDW on Facebook.

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