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The Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR) is pleased to announce that the FSR Sarcoidosis Research Fellowship for 2023-2025 is being awarded to Dr. Christen Vagts from FSR Global Sarcoidosis Clinic Alliance Founding Member, University of Illinois Hospital and Clinic, for her outstanding proposal, Immune Mediators of Active Advanced Pulmonary Sarcoidosis.

FSR has awarded over $1.2 million through the FSR Sarcoidosis Research Fellowship Grant program and is thrilled to award Dr. Vagts a fellowship in the amount of $150,000 over two-years to continue FSR’s investment in support of promising early career investigators. FSR’s Sarcoidosis Research Fellowship program was initiated in 2018 and has helped to support the research of eight fellows to build the pipeline for the next generation of sarcoidosis researchers. The FSR Fellowship Grant provides an opportunity for early-stage investigators to develop specialized skills and gain direct experience within the field of sarcoidosis.

“I am so honored to be the recipient of the FSR Fellowship grant,” said Dr. Vagts. “Improved understanding of how sarcoidosis-related inflammation drives pulmonary fibrosis is critical for new drug development and the creation of clinical strategies to help mitigate the risk of advance lung fibrosis.”

Dr. Vagts is an early career pulmonary and critical care physician scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) who has a passion for immunology as it pertains to sarcoidosis and other autoimmune diseases. Her research initiatives stem directly from clinical experiences managing patients with sarcoidosis at UIC’s Bernie Mac Sarcoidosis Translational Advanced Research (STAR) Center. As she embarked on her research career at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she evaluated the causes of sarcoidosis by focusing her attention on immunology. Advanced pulmonary sarcoidosis-related fibrosis (APSF) occurs in up to 30% of those with pulmonary sarcoidosis and carries significant morbidity and mortality. Dr. Vagt’s project will seek to identify potential genetic factors and inflammatory biomarkers that increase the risk of the potential development of advanced lung disease in sarcoidosis patients.

Dr. Vagts plans to apply gene sequencing techniques and a strategy that uses advanced software to understand and analyze complex data sets, called bioinformatics, to explore how changes in the immunological systems and cells may lead to sarcoidosis-related pulmonary fibrosis.

“It is with great enthusiasm that FSR grants Dr. Vagts the esteemed 2023-2025 FSR Sarcoidosis Research Fellowship. We are sure that her innovative research will yield significant findings and create fresh opportunities for the diagnosis, prevention, and the advancement of better patient outcomes for those impacted by sarcoidosis,” declared Mary McGowan, FSR’s Chief Executive Officer.

To learn more about FSR’s Fellowship and research programs, please visit:

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