Bayer Announces Recipients of the Pulmonary Hypertension Accelerated Bayer (PHAB) Awards at CHEST Annual Meeting 2019


WHIPPANY, N.J., Oct. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer today announced recipients of the inaugural Pulmonary Hypertension Accelerated Bayer (PHAB) Awards, a U.S.-based research grant program created to support clinical research in pulmonary hypertension (PH), with a focus on pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). The recipients will receive a combined total of $1 million in grants over a two-year period, making the PHAB Awards one of the largest industry-funded grant programs focused on PAH and CTEPH in the U.S. The eight award recipients were formally announced at a ceremony during the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) Annual Meeting in New Orleans on Sunday, October 20, 2019.


"Supporting a new generation of researchers is imperative to ensure we continue the progress that has been made during the past decade in pulmonary hypertension and its related conditions," said Aleksandra Vlajnic, M.D., Senior Vice President & Head Medical Affairs Americas at Bayer. "Our hope is that the PHAB Awards program will encourage researchers to think creatively about solving the significant treatment and patient care challenges that remain, knowing Bayer is committed to providing the support needed to help bring those ideas to fruition. We want to congratulate all of the applicants on their winning proposals."

The recipients are:

  • Andrew J. Bryant, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL will study the uncertain relationship between myeloid cells (or bone-marrow derived cells), circadian rhythm and PH and apply this knowledge to evaluate the use of existing treatments for patients with PH.
  • Francisco Contijoch, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CA will study the effectiveness of different imaging modalities to determine if pre-operative, imaging-based prediction of surgical disease level could be utilized to assess risk-benefit of pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) surgery.
  • Michael Insel, M.D., Pulmonary Critical Care Fellow, University of Arizona Department of Medicine, Tucson, AZ will study the different causes of shortness of breath in patients who have suffered a pulmonary embolism using invasive cardiopulmonary exercise testing.
  • Sonia Jasuja, M.D., Fellow Physician, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA will study the use of impedance cardiography, a non-invasive technology measuring cardiac output and stroke volume, to assess risk and response to treatment in patients with PAH or CTEPH.
  • Manreet Kanwar, M.D., Associate Professor, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA will study the role of medical therapy, in treating patients with chronic thromboembolic disease (CTED), who have symptoms of shortness of breath, to help understand progression between CTED and CTEPH and evaluate treatment options.
  • Lea Ann Matura, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, PA will study alternative treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Bright Light Therapy, to improve symptoms of PAH, including insomnia, fatigue and physical activity levels.
  • Yogesh Reddy, M.D., M.Sc., Instructor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN will study the prevalence of atypical PAH in elderly patients, as well as their response to therapy using invasive exercise hemodynamic testing.
  • Maria Trivieri, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY will work to develop a new in-vitro way to generate human species-specific, and even patient-specific stem cells, to examine the underlying mechanisms of vascular pathogenesis to advance disease understanding, to make greater inroads in the treatment of PAH.

The PHAB Awards recipients were selected by an independent Grants Review Committee, consisting of the following eminent PH leaders:

  • William Auger, M.D., Temple University Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA
  • Raymond L. Benza, M.D., FACC, FCCP, Temple University School of Medicine, Cardiovascular Institute, Allegheny Health Network, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Hunter Champion M.D., Ph.D., Southeastern Cardiology, Columbus, GA
  • Rajan Saggar, M.D., Ronald Reagan University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • Roxana Sulica, M.D., NYU Langone Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, NY
  • Aaron Waxman, M.D., Ph.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital, Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program, Boston, MA
  • Melisa Wilson, APRN, ACNP-BC, Florida Hospital Orlando, Center for Pulmonary Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease, Orlando, FL

"I would like to thank and recognize the Grants Review Committee for their time and commitment, and the PH community in the U.S. for their overwhelming response to the inaugural PHAB Awards," said Sameer Bansilal, M.D., M.S., Medical Director, U.S. Medical Affairs at Bayer. "We look forward to an even greater response next year and encourage eligible applicants to start thinking about submitting their research proposals."

The PHAB Award eligibility, review and category criteria were modeled after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) system; entries were graded on significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, and environment.

For more information on the PHAB Awards visit: or e-mail

Grants were made on the merits of the research, and research must be posted on Every effort should be made to publish or present study outcomes. If the research is not conducted the grant must be returned.

About Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH, WHO Group 1) is defined by elevated pressure in the arteries going from the right side of the heart to the lungs. Typical symptoms of PAH include shortness of breath on exertion, fatigue, weakness, chest pain and syncope. PAH is caused by abnormalities in the walls of the pulmonary arteries.1,2

About Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH)
Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH, WHO Group 4) is a progressive type of pulmonary hypertension, in which it is believed that thromboembolic occlusion (organized blood clots) of pulmonary vessels gradually lead to an increased blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries, resulting in an overload of the right heart.3,4 CTEPH may evolve after prior episodes of acute pulmonary embolism, but the pathogenesis is not yet completely understood. The standard and potentially curative treatment for CTEPH is pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), a surgical procedure in which the blood vessels of the lungs are cleared of clot and scar material.5,6 However, a considerable number of patients with CTEPH (20%-40%) are not operable and in up to 35 percent of patients, the disease persists or reoccurs after PTE.7

About Bayer
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros. For more information, go to

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1 Galie et al. 2015 ESC/ERS Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension. Eur Heart. 2016;37:67–119.
2American Lung Association. Pulmonary Hypertension. Accessed November 22, 2017.
3 Piazza G and Goldhaber SZ. Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. N Engl J Med. 2011; 364: 351-360.
4 Simonneau G et al. Updated Clinical Classification of Pulmonary Hypertension. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2013; 62(25):
5 D'Armini M. Diagnostic advances and opportunities in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Eur Respir Rev. 2015; 24: 253–262.
6 Kim et al. Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013; 62: D92-9.
7 Mathai et al. Quality of life in patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Eur Respir J. 2016 Aug; 48(2): 526–537.


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