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The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) is excited to announce the 17 researchers selected to receive funding through the AGA Research Foundation Awards Program. The 2020 award year will provide $2.2 million in research funding to support outstanding investigators working on projects that will enhance our understanding of gastrointestinal and liver conditions and ultimately lead to better treatment options for patients with digestive disorders.

“This year’s selected awardees are committed to transforming the gastroenterology field with their research projects that span the entire digestive tract,” said Robert S. Sandler, MD, MPH, AGAF, chair, AGA Research Foundation. “We are excited to continue the foundation’s tradition of excellence with the support of many gifted early career researchers and look forward to seeing how their research evolves with this funding.”

Of the 2020 class of awardees, half are female and 12% are from racial or ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research. In line with the AGA Research Foundation’s mission to support the next generation of researchers in digestive diseases, 71% of the 2020 awardees are early-career investigators. Approximately one-third are performing clinical research.


AGA Research Scholar Award 

  • Andrea Geisz, PhD, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Massachusetts
  • Haifa Mtaweh, MD, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
  • Long H. Nguyen, MD, MS, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • Shuang Wang, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City

AGA-Gastric Cancer Foundation Ben Feinstein Memorial Research Scholar Award in Gastric Cancer 

  • Samuel J. Klempner, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

AGA-Takeda Pharmaceuticals Research Scholar Award in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

  • José Ordovas-Montañes, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts


AGA-Caroline Craig Augustyn & Damian Augustyn Award in Digestive Cancer 

  • Peter S. Liang, MD, MPH, New York University Langone Health, New York City

AGA-R. Robert & Sally Funderburg Research Award in Gastric Cancer 

  • Ajay Goel, PhD, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Monrovia, California



AGA-Allergan Foundation Pilot Research Award in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

  • Chun-Jun Guo, PhD, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City

AGA-Allergan Foundation Pilot Research Award in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease 

  • Jun Wu, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

AGA-Elsevier Pilot Research Award 

  • Hien Dang, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tirthadipa Pradhan-Sundd, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

AGA-Pfizer Young Investigator Pilot Research Award in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

  • Mallory Chavannes, MD, MHSc, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, California
  • Trevor M. Darby, PhD, MS, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Michael Howitt, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine, California

AGA-Rome Foundation Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Pilot Research Award 

  • Nitin Kumar Ahuja, MD, MS, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • Bindu Chandrasekharan, PhD, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia





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