Donors Dance and Dine in Support of Respiratory Research

James F. Donohue (left), the ATS Foundation Board of Trustees chair, presents the 2015 Breathing for Life Award to Marvin Schwarz.

James F. Donohue (left), the ATS Foundation Board of Trustees chair, presents the 2015 Breathing for Life Award to Marvin Schwarz.

ATS 2015 attendees gathered for a special evening reception Saturday when the ATS Foundation kicked off its Seventh Annual ATS Foundation Research Program Benefit.

The gala, featuring music, dancing, and food stations, celebrated the Foundation’s 10th anniversary and the launch of countless highly successful research careers. In addition, the Research Program Benefit has raised a record-breaking $500,000 for the Foundation.

More than 600 attendees gathered at the Hyatt Regency Denver to socialize with friends; honor grant awardees; recognize Marvin Schwarz, MD, the recipient of the 2015 Breathing for Life Award; and celebrate the ATS Foundation’s Research Program successes of the past 10 years.

Since 2004, the ATS Foundation has provided $11 million in grants to more than 183 junior investigators, launching the careers of a new generation of researchers.

“Our investigators have attracted more than $143 million in subsequent grant funding, published hundreds of articles relevant to their ATS Foundation awards and have, in turn, become mentors,” says James F. Donohue, MD, chair of the ATS Foundation Board of Trustees.

In 2015, 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 2015 Research Program are being accepted now, with letters of intent due by June 5, 2015.

“Through the funds raised yesterday, we hope to continue to help protect struggling young investigators who represent the future of our profession,” Dr. Donohue says.

“In its second decade, the ATS Foundation would like to build on the successes of the Research Program,” Dr. Donohue adds. “Through the 10th Anniversary Campaign, we propose to raise $3 million over the next three years, launching the careers of early-stage investigators dedicated to scientific discovery and better patient care.”

Dr. Schwarz was presented with the 2015 Breathing for Life Award, the highest honor given by the ATS Foundation for philanthropy and mentoring of young investigators.

Dr. Schwarz is a legend in pulmonary medicine, particularly in the field of pulmonary fibrosis. His level of expertise has led many fellows and seasoned clinicians to try (usually unsuccessfully) to “Stump Marvin Schwarz” with a difficult case at the ATS Fellows Case Conference.

Grateful for the dedicated mentorship he received under Morton Ziskind, MD, at Tulane University, Dr. Schwarz has paid it forward by mentoring more than 150 physicians and scientists, including Talmadge King Jr., MD, the 2012 Breathing for Life awardee.

“Marvin’s commitment to better understanding of the causes and treatment of interstitial lung disease has been without peer,” says Dr. King. “In addition, he spawned a generation of others’ interests in the disease.”

Dr. Schwarz oversaw the Fellowship Program of the Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine Division at the University of Colorado Medical Center and also served as head of the division. Although he stepped down as division director several years ago, he hasn’t hung up his lab coat. At age 75, he remains committed to his research.

Dr. Schwarz believes in the ATS Foundation’s mission of fostering the career development of young investigators.

“The Research Program is vitally important, offering seed funding to junior investigators encouraging them to pursue careers in lung research,” says Dr. Schwarz. “Without a steady pipeline of investigators leading the way, research will stall and patients will suffer.”

The ATS Foundation thanks the many individuals and 27 medical institutions that have stepped forward to support the Research Program during a difficult financial climate for research.

The ATS Foundation thanks Genentech for support at the Sapphire Level; Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Genentech-Novartis at the Platinum Level; AstraZeneca LP and the University of Colorado Health at the Gold Level; Freeman, MEDA Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Teva Respiratory at the Silver Level.

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