Nobel Prize winner received research funding from AHA

Doctor Gregg L Semenza
Dr. Gregg L. Semenza (Photo courtesy of Johns Hopkins University)

Dr. Gregg L. Semenza, one of three winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, received funding from the American Heart Association earlier in his career.

The coveted prize announced Monday is shared by Semenza, Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr. and Dr. Peter J. Ratcliffe for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.

Semenza, of Johns Hopkins University, was recognized for his work with a protein that turns genes in cells off and on in response to low oxygen levels. He received a grant from the American Heart Association for related research in 2000. He’s the 14th Nobel Prize winner who has received research funding from the AHA.

“We add our congratulations to the well-deserved accolades that Dr. Semenza and the other recipients are receiving for winning medicine’s highest honor. We are thrilled to have contributed to Dr. Semenza’s research earlier in his career,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.

“As a worldwide leader in cardiovascular science, funding more than any other organization outside of the federal government, funds raised at Heart Walks and Heart Balls around the country this year will fund other researchers who will uncover important, lifesaving discoveries just as Dr. Semenza has done.”

The AHA has funded more than $4 billion in cardiovascular research since it began. The AHA’s research portfolio includes a deliberate focus on supporting investigators early in their careers. “We could not be more thankful for the financial contributions of all the donors who have supported our research portfolio and the dedication of our funded researchers,” Brown said. “Together, we are driving breakthroughs that are adding years to people’s lives and life to those years.”

The Nobel Prize has been awarded since 1901 to scientists for their important discoveries.