News

University of Maryland School of Nursing Assistant Professor Awarded American Lung Association Biomedical Research Grant

July 10, 2014

Assistant professor will investigate asthma control in children with sleep apnea.

Baltimore, Md. –Valerie E. Rogers, PhD, RN, CNRP, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), has been awarded a Biomedical Research Grant from the American Lung Association. Biomedical Research Grants provide seed money to junior investigators researching the mechanisms of lung disease and general lung biology.  Rogers has been allotted $40,000 for the 2015 fiscal year, with a possible second year of funding.

Rogers’ project, Biomarkers of Airway Inflammation and Asthma Control in Children with Comorbid Sleep-Disordered Breathing, investigates the mechanisms that cause the symptoms of children’s 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; and Steven M. Scharf, MD, PhD, professor; and Shijun Zhu, PhD, a biostatistician at UMSON.  Childhood asthma is a chronic disease that affects nine percent of children nationwide and is particularly high in Baltimore, as the hospitalization rate is two to three times the national rate.

“Sleep apnea in children is associated with poor asthma control, but the reason for this association is unclear. Our study will measure inflammation in the tonsils of asthmatic children who have 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,” Rogers said. “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.” 

American Lung Association offers a highly-competitive research program, which is funded through its Awards and Grants Program. The Awards and Grants Program aims to foster laboratory, patient-centered, and social-behavioral research designed to prevent and relieve the suffering associated with all lung diseases, and corresponding risk factors. Additionally, the Program seeks to fund researchers at important crossroads of their careers to gain long-term commitment to lung disease research.

“The American Lung Association selects its recipients from the best and brightest basic science researchers. We are very proud of Dr. Rogers for being recognized as a top-notch researcher,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “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.”

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools, and is ranked eleventh nationally. Enrolling 1,700 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.