Mid-America Transplant Foundation Awards More Than $788,000 to Fund Lifesaving Clinical Research

Published October 20, 2020 in Research | Foundation

The Mid-America Transplant Foundation has awarded more than $788,000 in Clinical Innovation Fund grants to three prestigious medical universities. The grants will benefit St. Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and Emory University as they research ways to increase the availability of organs for transplantation and achieve better health outcomes for transplant recipients.

“Mid-America Transplant is one of the few organ procurement organizations (OPOs) that provides grants to fund clinical research because we believe investing in new medical innovations is core to continually increasing the number of lives saved through transplantation,” said Dr. Gary Marklin, Chief Medical Officer at Mid-America Transplant. “By partnering with the medical community, we’re able to explore new ways to maximize organ donations, improve the quality of the organs we recover, and ultimately create a lasting legacy for donors and their families.”

2020 marks the fifth consecutive year of the Mid-America Transplant Foundation’s Clinical Innovation Fund, totaling more than $4.1 million in grants allocated to hospitals and medical schools. This year’s Clinical Innovation Fund recipients are exploring three critical and timely topics in the transplantation field. Dr. Mustafa Nazzal will lead a team of researchers at St. Louis University School of Medicine to test therapeutics on an innovative liver pump device to improve the quality of marginal livers, which may otherwise not be able to be transplanted. Their unique model could make livers more readily available to the more than 13,000 patients who currently await a liver transplant.

At Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Dr. Ramsey Hachem and team will apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to more accurately predict acute lung injury in lung recipients, called Primary Graft Dysfunction (PGD). This deeper understanding of PGD will generate algorithms to improve the donor-recipient matching process, resulting in more successful lung transplants.

At Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Raymond Lynch and team will study organ donation among US military veterans to identify attitudes and barriers to increase donations from individuals who have proven themselves among the most altruistic and generous of Americans.

The Mid-America Transplant Foundation works to reduce the need for organ and tissue transplantation, increase the availability of organs and tissues for those who need them, and improve the lives of recipients and donor families. In addition to championing innovative clinical research, the Foundation provides housing to patients and families who must relocate to St. Louis for pre- and post-transplant care, and honors donor families by supporting grief programs. The Foundation also funds scholarships for critical care nurses and other professions that are vital to the organ procurement industry. For more information, visit our Foundation page.

About Mid-America Transplant

Mid-America Transplant enables adults and children to receive lifesaving gifts through organ and tissue donations. For more than 40 years, it has facilitated and coordinated organ and tissue donation, and now serves 84 counties covering eastern Missouri, southern Illinois and northeast Arkansas that together are home to 4.7 million people. It saves lives by providing expert and compassionate care for organ donors, recipients and families, and transforms the clinical processes required to recover and transplant organs and tissues. Mid-America Transplant was the first such organization in the U.S. to use an in-house operating room for organ recovery and pioneered innovative models of increasing donor registry enrollment in an effort to provide organs and tissues to those in need. It is federally designated as one of 58 such organizations in the U.S., and is the first organ procurement organization to be recognized as a recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for Performance Excellence. For more information, visit

About the Mid-America Transplant Foundation

The Mid-America Transplant Foundation provides enhanced support to transplant patients and their families, donor families and the community. It seeks to reduce the need for organ and tissue transplantation; increase the availability of organs and tissues for those who need them; and to improve the lives of recipients and donor families. The Foundation provides programs, develops partnerships and provides community wellness grants to organizations that support its mission of improving health through disease prevention, education and successful transplantation.