Press Release 02/20/18


TSF Awards $857,500 in Cardiothoracic Surgery Grants

Projects will help develop new heart and lung surgery options and provide treatment to underserved populations

CHICAGO, IL (February 20, 2018) – The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF) has announced 23 new grants in support of research and education programs in cardiothoracic surgery. These grants will help advance treatment options for patients with heart and lung diseases and offer much-needed assistance to underserved patients in developing countries, including Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, and Uganda.

“The Foundation is pleased to fund the work of 23 surgeons in 2018. A committee of cardiothoracic surgery research leaders, including representatives from the nation’s best academic institutions, selected the most worthy projects,” said TSF President Douglas E. Wood, MD. “Each application was thoroughly analyzed. It was a tough decision—83 funding applications were received, and these 23 proposals rose to the top. We know the award recipients’ contributions to the field and our patients will be significant.”

Dr. Wood is The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a world-renowned surgeon in thoracic oncology, specializing in the areas of lung, airway, and esophageal cancer. Dr. Wood is enthusiastic to help lead The Thoracic Surgery Foundation in the mission of fostering the development of surgeon scientists in cardiothoracic surgery, increasing knowledge and innovation to benefit patient care.

The TSF Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the following projects:

Research Awards

Prashanth Vallabhajosyula, MD
University of Pennsylvania
“Transplant Heart Exosome Profiling for Noninvasive Monitoring of Immunologic Rejection”
STS Research Award, $80,000

Kei Suzuki, MD
Boston University
“Utilization of Nasal Biomarkers as Screening Tools for Lung Cancer”
TSF Research Award, $80,000

Jane Yanagawa, MD
University of California, Los Angeles
“Targeting SGLT2 in Human Lung Adenocarcinoma”
TSF Research Award, $80,000

Paul C. Tang, MD, PhD
University of Michigan
“Improving Donor Heart Function Following Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury by Innate Immune Inhibition Using Valproic Acid”
STSA Research Award, $25,000

Danielle Gottlieb-Sen, MD
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center/Children’s Hospital of New Orleans
“Defining Key Regulators of Aortic Valve Growth”
Nina Starr Braunwald Research Award, $80,000

Patpilai Kasinpila, MD
Stanford University
“Evaluation of Sustained Release Engineered Stromal Cell-Derived Factor 1-Alpha Analogue in Injectable Hydrogels in Ovine Myocardial Infarction Model”
Nina Starr Braunwald Research Fellowship Award, $60,000

David Blitzer, MD
Boston Children’s Hospital
“Autologous Mitochondrial Transplantation May Extend Ischemia Time in Organ Transplantation”
TSF Resident Award, $60,000

Khaled T. Ramadan, MD
University of Toronto
“Photodynamic Therapy During In Vivo Lung Perfusion for Treatment of Lung Metastases”
TSF Resident Award, $60,000

Education Awards

James B. Edelman, MD
Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto
“Advanced Transcatheter Valve Surgery”
Michael J. Davidson Fellowship, $25,000

Moritz C. Wyler von Ballmoos, MD, PhD
Houston Methodist Hospital
“TCT Training”
Michael J. Davidson Fellowship, $25,000

Harma K. Turbendian, MD
Children’s Hospital Colorado
“Congenital Cardiac Surgery in Armenia”
Robert L. Replogle Traveling Fellowship, $10,000

Natalie Lui, MD
Stanford University
“Advanced Endoscopic Techniques for Esophageal Disease at The Oregon Clinic”
Carolyn E. Reed Traveling Fellowship, $10,000

Stephanie G. Worrell, MD
University of Michigan
“Advanced Endoscopic Skills”
Carolyn E. Reed Traveling Fellowship, $5,000

David T. Cooke, MD
UC Davis Medical Center
“Obtaining Leadership Skills to Manage Complex Academic Teams and Tools to Study and Develop Strategies to Diversify the Cardiothoracic Surgery Workforce: The Johns Hopkins Department of Surgery and the AAMC”
Levi Watkins Innovation and Leadership Development Scholarship, $5,000

Jeremiah W. Hayanga, MD
West Virginia University
“Lung Transplantation, ECMO, and Ex Vivo Perfusion”
Levi Watkins Innovation and Leadership Development Scholarship, $5,000

Michael O. Kayatta, MD
Emory University
“The David V Valve-Sparing Aortic Root Replacement Provides Equivalent Long-Term Outcomes in Patients with Bicuspid and Trileaflet Aortic Valves”
STS/EACTS Award, $2,500

Surgical Outreach Awards

Ralph M. Bolman III, MD
University of Vermont
“Increasing Access to Care for Valvular Heart Disease from Diagnostics to Postoperative Care in Rwanda”
International Cardiac Surgical Outreach Award, $37,500

Frederick L. Grover, MD
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
“Enhancing Access to Care and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease in Nepal”
International Cardiac Surgical Outreach Award, $37,500

Lyle D. Joyce, MD, PhD
Medical College of Wisconsin
“Tenwek Project/Kenya Bomet”
International Cardiac Surgical Outreach Award, $37,500

Jeffrey D. McNeil, MD
Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, PA
“VOOM Foundation Cardiac Surgery Project in Nigeria”
International Cardiac Surgical Outreach Award, $37,500

Aldo E. Rafael, MD
Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas
“5th Annual Salvando Corazones in Peru”
International Cardiac Surgical Outreach Award, $20,000

Craig H. Selzman, MD
University of Utah Cardiothoracic Surgery
“Center for Global Surgery- Cardiothoracic Surgery Division in Mongolia”
International Cardiac Surgical Outreach Award, $37,500

Pranava Sinha, MD
Children’s National Medical Center
“Management of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Uganda”
International Cardiac Surgical Outreach Award, $37,500

The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF) is a pivotal force for growth and vitality in cardiothoracic surgery, especially for research and academic career development, awarding over $15 million in cardiothoracic surgery research and education grants. The Foundation was first established in 1988 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization and is the charitable arm of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. The mission of TSF is to foster the development of surgeon scientists in cardiothoracic surgery; increasing knowledge and innovation to benefit patient care. If you would like to learn more about TSF grant making, or to apply for a research or education award, please visit

Contact: Priscilla S. Kennedy, CFRE, TSF Executive Director