Dr. Mark Dransfield Receives 2020 Solovy Award for COPD Research

Respiratory Health Association (RHA) is pleased to name Mark Dransfield, MD, Medical Director of the Lung Health Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), as recipient of the 2020 Solovy Award for his work to improve lives through COPD research.

The award is funded by the Kathleen Hart Solovy and Jerold S. Solovy Endowment for COPD, and recognizes researchers who have worked to improve the lives of those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to formally present the award at our Summer Reception, but plan to recognize Dr. Dransfield in-person at a future date.

2020 solovy award winner Dr. Mark Dransfield

“I am humbled and honored to be the recipient of the 2020 Solovy Award, following in a line of incredible lung health researchers,” said Dransfield. “This award opens the door for young investigators to pursue research developing and testing new diagnostic, preventative, and treatment strategies for COPD. And most importantly, it can help positively impact the lives of those living with COPD across the county and the world.”

Dr. Dransfield’s body of work in COPD includes research into many therapies currently used to treat the disease, as well as ongoing investigations into new treatment options and potential medications. He has written nearly 200 original manuscripts and has made multiple important discoveries throughout his career. He developed and oversaw a clinical trial examining the effectiveness of a pneumonia vaccine for patients with COPD, and recently completed a study examining the effects of beta-blockers to treat COPD. This research found that beta-blockers, commonly used to treat those living with COPD, do not reduce the risk of COPD exacerbations and in some instances may cause harm. These findings could lead to changes in treatment recommendations for those living with moderate to advanced cases of COPD.

The impact of his research is significant – and is a reminder lung disease research is historically underfunded.

“Despite the public health impact of COPD, the financial support for COPD research is less than that for other common conditions including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes,” he said. “The Solovy award provides money critical to jumpstart projects that may otherwise not get the support they need, laying the groundwork for innovations in treatment and hopefully one day a cure for COPD.”

Each year Respiratory Health Association awards early-stage research grants to promising projects covering lung diseases such as lung cancer, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Learn more about RHA’s research program and funding opportunities.