$150K Awarded to Research Seeking to Identify Sarcoidosis Biomarkers

Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research award goes to pulmonologist Nancy Lin

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by Steve Bryson, PhD |

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The Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR) has awarded pulmonologist Nancy Lin, MD, at National Jewish Health, the FSR Sarcoidosis Research Fellowship for 2022–2024.

Her project, “Defining MicroRNA Biomarkers in Sarcoidosis,” has been granted $150,000 over two years to improve the management of people with sarcoidosis through the identification of microRNA biomarkers.

“I am so appreciative of being awarded the FSR Fellowship Grant,” Lin said in a press release. “This grant will allow me to continue developing my expertise in complex cases of sarcoidosis and will assist me in achieving my goal of becoming an expert [in sarcoidosis]. Additionally, this grant enables me to continue my research in genomic biomarkers in sarcoidosis.”

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“With support from the FSR, I hope this research will lead to improvements in the clinical management of individuals with sarcoidosis,” Lin added.

Throughout her fellowship, Lin will be mentored by Lisa Maier, MD, a sarcoidosis researcher, chief of the division of environmental and occupational health sciences, and a professor of medicine at National Jewish Health.

Maier is also on the scientific advisory board at FSR and has collaborated with researchers worldwide to define genetic and environmental risk factors for sarcoidosis, help find biomarkers, and develop new therapeutic interventions.

FSR’s fellowship program, which has awarded a total of $1.40 million so far, has supported the research of six fellows to help shape the next generation of sarcoidosis investigators. The funding encourages early-stage researchers to gain direct experience within the field of sarcoidosis and build on their sarcoidosis-related research skills.

In sarcoidosis, an over-active immune system triggers the formation of granulomas — tiny clumps of inflammatory cells that can build up in different tissues and organs, impairing function and causing symptoms. Over time, granulomas can harden and cause permanent damage.

MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules that help regulate gene activity and protein production. Growing research shows that, in many diseases, changes in the levels of microRNAs can be found in various stages of disease progression.

Lin’s research seeks to determine whether changes in microRNAs found in sarcoidosis patients can be used as a biomarker.

“FSR is excited to welcome Dr. Lin to the prestigious group of FSR Sarcoidosis Research Fellows and is confident that this research will lead to important discoveries and new potential avenues for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of sarcoidosis,” said Mary McGowan, the foundation’s CEO.