Public Release: 

AGA receives $2.25 million endowment for new research into neuroenteric disease

American Gastroenterological Association

Bethesda, MD (Feb.26, 2015) -- The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Research Foundation has received a generous gift from prominent San Francisco philanthropist Athena Blackburn, which will create new research opportunities for young investigators who are interested in neuroenteric disease. The AGA-Athena Troxel Blackburn Research Scholar Award in Neuroenteric Disease will provide $270,000 over three years to young investigators who are interested in advancing research in neuroenteric disease. AGA will match this donation, resulting in a $2.25 million endowment.

The overall objective of the research scholar award is to enable young investigators to develop independent and productive research careers in digestive diseases by ensuring that a major proportion of their time is protected for research. This award is intended to support research in neuroenteric disease, which affects the brain-gut axis, or the relationship between the enteric nervous system and central nervous system, and includes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The award will fund a young investigator working in the field of neuroenteric disease and, in particular, conducting research that will enhance the fundamental understanding of IBS in order to ultimately prevent or develop a cure for the disease.

"On behalf of the AGA Research Foundation, I would like to thank Mrs. Blackburn for this significant donation," said Martin Brotman, MD, AGAF, chair of the AGA Research Foundation. "This grant will not only benefit young researchers, but also the field of gastroenterology by furthering our understanding of neuroenteric disease."


Junior faculty interested in applying for the AGA-Athena Troxel Blackburn Research Scholar Award in Neuroenteric Disease should visit The deadline for this application is June 5, 2015, and funding will commence in October 2015. The recipient of the AGA-Athena Troxel Blackburn Research Scholar Award in Neuroenteric Disease will be selected by the AGA Research Awards Panel in accordance with AGA Institute policies and practices governing research grants.

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 $43 million in research grants to more than 790 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 the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include 17,000 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. Follow us on Twitter @AmerGastroAssn. Become an AGA fan on Facebook.

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