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AGA receives $1M gift to support gastric cancer research

The gift from the R. Robert and Sally D. Funderburg Charitable Trust and Funderburg Foundation is critical to supporting gastric cancer researchers.
Funderburg Recipients
Funderburg Recipients

AGA-Funderburg Recipients

Bethesda, MD (Dec. 5, 2018) — The AGA Research Foundation is pleased to announce a $1 million gift from the R. Robert and Sally D. Funderburg Charitable Trust and Funderburg Foundation to permanently endow a research award in gastric cancer. 

Since 1992, some of the most gifted researchers in North America have competed to receive the AGA–R. Robert and Sally Funderburg Research Award in Gastric Cancer. Researchers funded by AGA and the Funderburgs are making real headway in the science that will lead to effective treatments and cures. 

“Gastric cancer is an underfunded research area, so the Funderburg’s gift is critical to supporting researchers as they search for ways to better diagnose, treat and cure gastric cancer,” says Robert Sandler, MD, chair, AGA Research Foundation. “The impact of the Funderburg family’s endowment is immense. AGA–Funderburg researchers have made discoveries that otherwise would not have been possible.”

Recipients are developing cancer screenings, Helicobacter pylori vaccines, tools to determine an individual’s risk of colorectal cancer, and rational therapeutic strategies for stomach and esophageal cancer.

“We are pleased to be able to make this investment to endow permanently the AGA- R. Robert and Sally D. Funderburg Research Award in Gastric Cancer in honor of our parents,” states R. Robert Funderburg, Jr., president of the R. Robert and Sally D. Funderburg Charitable Trust and The Funderburg Foundation. “The decision was based primarily on the successes achieved by past award researchers with the goal of helping future recipients to build on those successes and to continue to make significant progress toward the treatment and a cure for gastric cancer.”

The annual grant from the AGA–Funderburg Fund provides $100,000 over two years to support an established investigator working on novel approaches in gastric cancer research. AGA accepts applications every year in June and July. Learn more about the award.

About the AGA Research Foundation

The AGA Research Foundation, formerly known as the Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition, is the cornerstone of AGA’s effort to expand digestive disease research funding. Since 1984, AGA, through its foundations, has provided more than $47 million in research grants to more than 870 scientists. The AGA Research Foundation serves as a bridge to the future of research in gastroenterology and hepatology by providing critical funding to advance the careers of young researchers between the end of training and the establishment of credentials that earn National Institutes of Health grants. Learn more about the AGA Research Foundation or make a contribution at

AGA-Funderburg Recipients
Year of AwardRecipient’s Current Position
1992C. Richard Boland, MD, AGAF 
Professor of medicine, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
1993Brian J. Reid, MD, PhD
Member, Human Biology and Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 
Professor of medicine and genome sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
1994Timothy C. Wang, MD, AGAF
Chief, Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases; Silberberg Professor of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, NY
1995Jill P. Smith, MD 
Professor of medicine, department of medicine and department of oncology, the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Professor Emeritus, department of medicine, gastroenterology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
1996Anil K. Rustgi, MD, AGAF
Chief of GI and professor of medicine and genetics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 
1997Stephen J. Meltzer, MD
Professor of medicine and oncology; director, Early Detection Biomarkers Laboratory Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
1998Juanita L. Merchant, MD, PhD
Chief, division of gastroenterology and professor of medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson
1999Steven M. Powell, MD   
Associate professor of medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 
2000Klaus Kaestner, PhD 
Professor of genetics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
2001Debra G. Silberg, MD, PhD
Vice President, Clinical Development 
Shire Pharmaceuticals, Lexington, MA
2002Steven F. Moss, MD 
Professor of medicine; director, GI Fellowship Program, Brown University, Providence, RI
2003Lopa Mishra, MD 
Director, Center for Translational Medicine; professor of surgery, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
2004James R. Goldenring, MD, PhD
Professor and vice chairman of surgery; professor of cell and developmental biology; co-director, Epithelial Biology Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN
2005JeanMarie Houghton, MD, PhD 
Associate professor of medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Boston, MA
2006Steven H. Itzkowitz, MD, AGAF 
Professor of medicine; associate director, division of gastroenterology; director, GI Fellowship Program,
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
2007Xiaolu Yang, PhD 
Professor of cancer biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
2008Sheila Crowe, BSc, MD, AGAF
Professor of medicine; director of research, University of California, San Diego
2009Mary Bronner, MD
Co-division chief; anatomic and molecular oncologic pathology medical director, biocomputing, ARUP Laboratories, Salt Lake City, UT
2010Jason Mills, MD, PhD 
Associate professor, Washington University at St. Louis, MO
2011Andrea Todisco, MD 
Professor, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI
2012Adam J. Bass, MD
Assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA
2013Yana Zavros, PhD 
Associate professor, University of Cincinnati, OH
2014Manuel R. Amieva, MD, PhD
Associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases, and microbiology and immunology, Stanford University, CA
2015Linda C. Samueslon, PhD
John A. Willams Collegiate Professor of Gastrointestinal Physiology; professor, molecular & integrative physiology; professor, internal medicine, division of gastroenterology; associate director, Center for Organogenesis, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
2016Richard J. DiPaolo, PhD
Associate professor molecular microbiology & immunology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, MO
2017Zhibin Chen, MD, PhD 
Associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, FL
2018Jingwu Xie, PhD
Jonathan and Jennifer Simmons Professor, Herman B. Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indiana University, Bloomington

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