Public Release: 

Introducing the 2017 Class of AGA Research Foundation awardees

American Gastroenterological Association

Bethesda, MD (April 28, 2017) -- The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Research Foundation is thrilled to award 52 researchers with research funding in the 2017 award year.

"The AGA Research Foundation has a proven track record of funding young investigators who subsequently achieve great success in research. We are confident that the 2017 class will be no exception," said Robert S. Sandler, MD, MPH, AGAF, chair, AGA Research Foundation. "AGA is honored to invest in this year's award recipients and looks forward to seeing how each research project contributes to advancing the field of gastroenterology."

The AGA Research Award Program serves to support talented investigators who are pursuing careers in digestive disease research. A grant from the AGA Research Foundation ensures that a major proportion of the recipient's time is protected for research.

The awards program is made possible thanks to generous donors and funders contributing to the AGA Research Foundation. Show your support for GI research.<>

Below are the 2017 AGA Research Foundation award recipients. To learn about upcoming research funding opportunities, visit

AGA Research Scholar Award

Silvia Affo, PhD, Columbia University, New York, NY
Michael Dougan, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
Jay Thiagarajah, MBBS, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital, MA

AGA-Takeda Pharmaceuticals Research Scholar Award in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Josephine Ni, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

AGA-Gastric Cancer Foundation Research Scholar Award in Gastric Cancer

Jose Saenz, MD, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO

AGA-Bernard Lee Schwartz Designated Research Scholar Award in Pancreatic Cancer

Florencia McAllister, MD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston

AGA-R. Robert and Sally Funderburg Research Award in Gastric Cancer

Zhibin Chen, MD, PhD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, FL

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

Saha Nissim, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

AGA-June and Donald O. Castell, MD, Esophageal Clinical Research Award

Kristle Lynch, MD, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia

AGA-Dannon Gut Microbiome in Health Award

Gary D. Wu, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

AGA-Microbiome Junior Investigator Research Award

Jeannette Messer, DVM, PhD, The University of Chicago, IL

AGA-Medtronic Research and Development Pilot Award in Technology

Bani Chander-Roland, MD, Northwell Hofstra School of Medicine, Hempstead, NY

AGA-Pfizer Young Investigator Pilot Research Award in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Shrinivas Bishu, MD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
David Boone, PhD, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
Sarah Glover, DO, University of Florida, Gainesville

AGA-Rome Foundation Functional Gastroenterology and Motility Pilot Research Award

Gianluca Cipriani, PhD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Geoffrey Preidis, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

AGA-Elsevier Pilot Research Award

Jennifer Lai, MD, MBA, The Regents of the University of California, San Francisco
Jill Smith, MD, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

AGA-Elsevier Gut Microbiome Pilot Research Award

Minghua Tang, PhD, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora

AGA Investing in the Futures Student Research Fellowship

Chandler Brown, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.
Carlos Lodeiro, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
Alyssa Murillo, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Kristeen Onyirioha, University of Texas San Antonio Health Sciences Center
Gabriela Portilla Skerrett, San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Puerto Rico
Ray Ramirez, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk
Rani Richardson, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Nefertiti Tyehemba, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse
Elsie Ureta, California State University of Los Angeles
Carlos Zavala, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

AGA-Moti L and Kamla Rustgi International Travel Award

Zahra Dantes, PhD, Gastroenterology Laboratory, Klinikum rechts der Isar, TUM, Munich, Germany
Magali de Bruyn, PhD, KU Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium

AGA-GRG Fellow Abstract of the Year

Parambir Dulai, MBBS, University of California, San Diego

AGA-GRG Fellow Abstract Prize

Edward Barnes, MD, MPH, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill
Daniel Duncan, MD, Boston Children's Hospital, MA
Amy Engevik, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville
Tossapol Kerdsirichairat, MD, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
Anne-Marie Overstreet, PhD, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
Shusuke Toden, PhD, Baylor University Medical Center/Baylor Research Institute, Houston
Amy Tsou, MD, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital, MA
Lavanya Viswanathan, MD, MS, Augusta University, GA
Hongtao Wang, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston

AGA Student Abstract of the Year

Michael Laffin, MD, University of Alberta, Canada

AGA Student Abstract Prize

Lauren Cole, BS, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix
Cindy Law, BSc, University of Ottawa, Canada
Christopher Moreau, BS, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Satish Munigala, MBBS, MPH, St. Louis University, MO
Rajiv Perinbasekar, MD, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore
Chung Sang Tse, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Anika Ullah, University of California, San Diego
Kathy Williams, MS, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, NJ
Quan Zhou, MS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

This year's honorees will be recognized during several AGA Research Foundation events at Digestive Disease Week® 2017, taking place May 6-9 in Chicago, IL.


About the AGA Institute

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

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