ATS Foundation Recognizes Work of David Center

David Center, MD, (right) and ATS Foundation Chair Dean Schraufnagel, MD, hold the Breathing for Life Award.

On Saturday, David Center, MD, was recognized for his long service as a clinician, investigator, and teacher as he received the Breathing for Life Award at the Ninth Annual ATS Foundation Research Program Benefit at the Marriott Marquis Washington.

The Breathing for Life Award is the highest honor given by the Foundation for philanthropy, scientific achievement, and commitment to mentorship. The Foundation Benefit attracts international leaders from across the pulmonary, critical care, and sleep fields of medicine and supports research grants for young investigators.

Dr. Center is the Gordon and Ruth Snider Professor of Pulmonary Medicine and associate provost for translational research at Boston University, where he has served as chief of pulmonary medicine for 30 years. Dr. Center led the training of generations of physicians and scientists, many of whom are now themselves leaders in pulmonary medicine.

A renowned researcher, Dr. Center recognizes the impact of early career research awards and the vital role of ATS Foundation Research Program grants. He and William Cruikshank, MD, identified a T lymphocyte-specific chemotactic factor, now known as IL-16. Their work helped open doors for other researchers interested in allergic diseases, asthma, HIV, and cancer.

“I’m truly honored to receive the Breathing for Life Award and to help support the ATS Foundation Research Program,” Dr. Center said. “Research grants from this program not only provide financial support, they also build the confidence and recognition that comes from having been selected in a stiff competition.”

Since the program began more than a decade ago, the Research Program has awarded $16 million in grants to 210 investigators who have gone on to secure $215 million in federal funding. Dean Schraufnagel, MD, the chair of the ATS Foundation, knows the value of the ATS Foundation funding more research.

“A lot of people do a lot of good things for the ATS. But ATS also does a lot of good things for people, including helping members build their careers,” Dr. Schraufnagel said. “People give because they are interested in better health and better life for their patients and for everybody.”

In 2017, the ATS Foundation will fund more than 20 awards, including unrestricted research awards in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine; research partner awards; and awards for outstanding alumni from the Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical, and Operations Research program. Applications for the 2017-2018 Research Program grant cycle are being accepted. Letters of intent are due by June 6, 2017. Visit for details.

The ATS Foundation thanks Genentech for support at the Sapphire Level; AstraZeneca LP at the Gold Level; Freeman Decorating Services, Inc., Gilead Sciences, Inc., Insmed Incorporated, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Teva Respiratory at the Silver Level; and Boston Scientific Corporation, Inc., Circassia Pharmaceuticals, Merck, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. at the Bronze Level.

For the most up-to-date list of generous donations from individuals, medical institutions, and corporate supporters of the ATS Foundation, visit

Return to ATS Daily Articles