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$750,000 Awarded for Cutting-Edge Research to Reduce the Severity of Asthma Attacks

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Charles Zuker, a renowned expert on the nerves that determine taste and smell, has been awarded $750,000 by the American Asthma Foundation (AAF). Dr. Zuker will apply his expertise to asthma by defining the nerves that contract the airways during an asthma attack in order to reduce the severity of these episodes.



Dr. Zuker's research on asthma will identify:

  • the nerves that control airway tightening in asthma,
  • nerves that may change lung function in response to lack of oxygen, and
  • genes in these nerves that are actively making proteins that are potential therapeutic targets for asthma.

Dr. Zuker is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and of neuroscience in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. In addition to an AAF awardee, he is also a Howard Hughes Investigator, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Zuker received his Ph.D. at the age of 24 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

"Innovative and potentially breakthrough projects, like Dr. Zuker's, are at the heart of the American Asthma Foundation's approach to funding cutting-edge research needed to eradicate the asthma epidemic," stated Marion O. Sandler, Chairman of the Board. Continuing on, Sandler said, "The American Asthma Foundation awards have already produced an amazing 17 potential breakthroughs with 11 of these taken up by pharmaceutical companies. After five decades with virtually no improvements, this large number of discoveries in a short time documents the success of our program."

Over 23 million or one in 13 people in the United States have asthma. More Americans have asthma than coronary heart disease, cancer or Parkinson's disease. Asthma is the most serious chronic disease of childhood and disproportionately strikes the poor.

A description of Dr. Zuker's project can be seen at


    Dean L. Smith, Executive Director, American Asthma Foundation

SOURCE American Asthma Foundation
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