Public Release: 

AGA Research Foundation funds new wave of young GIs

American Gastroenterological Association

Washington, DC (May 18, 2015) -- The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Research Foundation is pleased to reveal its 2015 research award recipients. This year's honorees consist of young researchers who are pursuing independent research careers in gastroenterology, hepatology, nutrition and related fields. A grant from the AGA Research Foundation ensures that a major proportion of the recipient's time is protected for research.

To continue to preserve the lifeline of new researchers, AGA established the Looking Forward: Giving Back campaign in October of 2011, which called on our industry partners, AGA members, national and family foundations, grateful patients and the entire GI community to commit their support to the AGA Research Foundation. Since its inception, the Looking Forward: Giving Back campaign has raised more than $10.5 million, surpassing our original goal of $7.5 million. These funds will enable AGA to create a self-sustaining endowment that will ensure annual research funding for young investigators for years to come.

"It is an exciting time in medical research, and AGA is proud to support young investigators as they embark on challenging and promising research projects that have the potential to advance our understanding of digestive diseases and improve patient care," said Martin Brotman, MD, AGAF, chair of the AGA Research Foundation. "Thanks to the generous support of the Looking Forward: Giving Back campaign donors, we are able to support the next generation of young scientists committed to advancing our field."

Below are the 2015 AGA Research Foundation award recipients:

Research Scholar Awards:
Arthur Beyder, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Daniel E. Freedberg, MD, MS, Columbia University, New York, NY
Jeffrey K. Lee, MD, MAS, University of California, San Francisco
Christina A. Twyman-Saint Victor, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Xiang Xue, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

AGA-Pfizer JAK-IBD Research Grant:
Clara Abraham, MD, Yale University, New Haven, CT

AGA-Providence Food Intolerance Research Award:
Rodney D. Newberry, MD, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

AGA-Actavis Research Award in Pancreatic Disorders:
Maximilian Reichert, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

R. Robert & Sally D. Funderburg Research Award in Gastric Cancer:
Linda C. Samuelson, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

AGA Microbiome Junior Investigator Research Award:
Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PHD, University of California, San Diego

AGA-Rome Foundation Pilot Award in Functional Gastroenterology & Motility:
Madhusudan Grover, MBBS, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Miranda A.L. van Tilburg, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

AGA-Caroline Craig Augustyn & Damian Augustyn Award in Digestive Cancer:
Janelle C. Arthur, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

AGA-Covidien Research & Development Pilot Award in Technology:
David A. Katzka, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

AGA-June & Donald O. Castell, MD, Esophageal Clinical Research Award:
Amanda B. Muir, MD, Children's Hospital, Philadelphia, PA

AGA-Elsevier Gut Microbiome Pilot Research Award:
Hani Conjeevaram, MD, MSc, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

AGA-Elsevier Pilot Research Award:
Juan Gonzalez Abraldes MD, MMSc, University of Alberta, Canada
Diego V. Bohórquez, PhD, Duke University, Durham, NC

AGA-Moti L. & Kamla Rustgi International Travel Award:
Ryan Chang-Ho Choi, MBBS, Queen Mary University, London, UK
Steven C. M. Fong, MBBS, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

AGA Investing in the Future Student Research Fellowship:
Hawa Ali, University of Minnesota-Rochester
Alicia A. Frieburg, University of Iowa, Iowa City
Marcos A. Lares, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
Pierre B. Leconte, Boston College, MA
Erick M. Marigi, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis
Vivian Ortiz, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
Luz E. Reiley, San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Puerto Rico
Luis Vazquez-Montesino, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan

AGA-Eli & Edythe Broad Student Research Fellowships (High School):
Richard T. Alonso, Evanston Township High School, IL
Kaeley R. Bogan, Washington Township High School, Sewell, NJ
Chiara L. Commineli, Hawken School, Gates Mills, OH
Nathaniel S. Corley, San Francisco University High School, CA
Hannah R. Friedman, Hawken School, Gates Mill, OH
Karissa D. Kao, Skyline High School, Ann Arbor, MI
Anjali Shankar, Sayre School, Lexington, KY
Wendy Y. Yao, Walton High School, Marietta, GA

AGA Student Research Fellowship Award (Undergraduate):
Aaron R. Brussels, University of Arizona, Tucson
Andy C. Guo, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
David E. Heller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
Edmund M. Qiao, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Michael J. Rufo, Trinity College, Hartford, CT
Jonathan J. Ruiz, University of California, Los Angeles
Jeffrey L. Saltzman, Tufts University, Medford, MA
Jessica Tsui, University of California, Los Angeles

AGA Student Research Fellowship Award (Graduate/Medical School):
Iris Chen, Icahn School of Medicine, New York, NY
Narek Isrealyan, Columbia University, New York, NY
Cindy CY Law, University of Ottawa, CN


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 $44 million in research grants to more than 830 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

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