Valerie E. Rogers, RN, PhD, CNRP, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, has been awarded a biomedical research grant from the American Lung Association. Biomedical research grants provide seed money to junior investigators researching lung disease and general lung biology. Rogers has been allotted $40,000 for the 2015 fiscal year, with a possible second year of funding, according to a news release.
Rogers project, Biomarkers of Airway Inflammation and Asthma Control in Children with Comorbid Sleep-Disordered Breathing, investigates the mechanisms that cause the symptoms of childrens asthma to worsen when coupled with sleep apnea. She will team with University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty members Mary E. Bollinger, DO, associate professor; Jeffrey D. Hasday, MD, professor; Steven M. Scharf, MD, PhD, professor; and Shijun Zhu, PhD, a biostatistician at UMSON. Childhood asthma is a chronic disease affecting 9% of children nationwide and is particularly high in Baltimore, where the hospitalization rate is two to three times the national rate, according to the release.
Sleep apnea in children is associated with poor asthma control, but the reason for this association is unclear, Rogers said in the release. Our study will measure inflammation in the tonsils of asthmatic children who had a tonsillectomy for sleep apnea so that we can better understand the contribution of sleep apnea to upper airway inflammation, and its association with asthma control. Working in a city like Baltimore, where the rate of pediatric hospital admission for asthma is high, there is an urgency in finding modifiable risk factors, such as sleep apnea, to improve asthma control and help children lead a healthy life.
The American Lung Association offers a highly-competitive research program, which is funded through its awards and grants program.
The American Lung Association selects its recipients from the best and brightest basic science researchers, USMON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, RN, PhD, FAAN, said in the release. We are very proud of Dr. Rogers for being recognized as a top-notch researcher. Childhood asthma and sleep apnea are very important health issues both locally and nationally, and I am confident that Dr. Rogers and her team will make strides in curbing this chronic disease.