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Assembly on Respiratory Structure and Function Ann Woolcock Memorial Award

Meet the 2022 Winner: Laura Walkup, PhD


Laura Walkup

Dr. Laura Walkup (she/her) earned her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2013 from Southern Illinois University Carbondale where her dissertation focused on the production of hyperpolarized xenon-129 gas for magnetic-resonance applications.  In 2013, she joined the Center for Pulmonary Imaging Research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Jason Woods, and in 2019, she joined their faculty as an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine and Department of Radiology with an affiliated appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at University of Cincinnati.  Her research focuses on all aspects of hyperpolarized-gas MRI research, including technical developments for better 129Xe gas manufacturing, clinical protocol development and implementation, and translational applications in pediatric and adult lung diseases to quantify regional lung structure, function, and pathophysiology.  Dr. Walkup has ongoing collaborations spanning the spectrum of lung disease including asthma, cystic fibrosis, the childhood interstitial lung diseases, lymphangioleiomyomatosis, and NIH K99/R00 supported research in pulmonary complications following bone-marrow transplantation.  Dr. Walkup has co-authored 39 scientific papers and review articles and is an active member of the ATS Assembly on Respiratory Structure and Function, where she serves on the Planning Committee. She is interested in using MRI to understand rare-lung disease mechanisms and pathophysiology, longitudinal progression and natural history, and how MRI biomarkers can personalize clinical care and evaluate therapeutic response for individuals living with rare-lung disease.  


This award honors the life of the late Ann Woolcock of Sydney University. She was an international leader in the field of asthma in areas of epidemiology, physiology, and medicine. We are grateful for the support of GlaxoSmithKline and of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand for providing an endowment that will enable this award on an ongoing basis. The award is intended for all areas of research on obstructive airway disease and is not intended for either predoctoral or postdoctoral students or for well-established investigators. It is also not intended as recognition for a single project, but for overall accomplishments and future promise.

The award will consist of $500 and a plaque. The award will be presented at the ATS International Conference.

The eligibility criteria have been designed to reflect what we know to be Dr. Woolcock's priorities during her long, prolific career.


  • A young investigator beyond formal training but not yet fully established, from any country and from any ATS Assembly.
  • More than one first-authored paper in a first-rate journal.
  • Early career accomplishments and future promise.
  • Efforts in the broad area of obstructive airways disease research. This may include work at the basic, clinical, epidemiological, or other levels.
  • Nominee’s current curriculum vitae including a list of the nominee’s publications
  • Nominator’s letter of recommendation

Nomination for the RSF Ann Woolcock Memorial Award will also mean automatic entry into the Science Innovation Center’s Rising Stars of Research Program. The two runners up to the Award (who have research in the area of basic/translational science) will be chosen for this program. The two candidates will showcase their research by giving a 15-minute talk in one of two sessions featuring “Rising Stars”. Winners of the Rising Stars of Research Program from, AII, PI-TB, RCMB, and RSF will present their work at the Science and Innovation Center during the ATS International Conference this May. Certificates will also be awarded during the session.


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View Previous Award Recipients

2021 - Kimberley Wang, PhD. (The University of Western Australia)

2020 - Corrine Kliment, MD, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh)

2019 - Matthew Drake, MD (Oregon Health and Science University)

2018 - David Chapman, BSc, Ph.D. (Royal North Shore Hospital)

2017 - Pawan Sharma, Ph.D. (University of Technology)

2016 - Amir A. Zeki, MD (University of California, Davis)

2015 - Jeremy Alexander Hirota, BSc, Ph.D. (University of British Columbia)

2014 - Jin-Ah Park, Ph.D. (Harvard School of Public Health)

2013 - Cindy Thamrin, Ph.D. (Woolcock Institute of Medical Research)

2012 - Tillie-Louise Hackett, Ph.D., BS (St Pauls Hospital)

2011 - Graeme R. Zosky, Ph.D. (Telethon Institute for Child Health Research)

2010 - Reinoud Gosens, Ph.D. (University of Groningen)

2009 - Deepak Deshpande, D.V.M., Ph.D. (University of Maryland Baltimore)

2008 - David W Kaczka, MD, Ph.D. (John Hopkins Hospital)

2007 - Janette Burgess, Ph.D. (University of Sydney)

2006 - Steven An, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins University)

2005 - Parameswaran Krishnan Nair, MD, Ph.D. (McMaster University)

2004 - Julia K.L. Walker, Ph.D. (Duke University)

2003 - John Fuller Hunt, MD (University of Virginia)

2002 - Debra Turner, Ph.D. (University of Western Australia)