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  • March 01, 2022
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2021 Research Grant Symposium

2021 Research Grant Symposium

On September 9, 2021, the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (BAF) held the 15th Annual Grant Research Symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona. The foundation was fortunate to once again host the symposium in person, bringing together survivors, researchers, and other members of the BAF community. Each year the foundation awards research grants for basic scientific research directed at early detection, improved treatment modalities, and technological advances that will ultimately improve outcomes for patients with brain aneurysms. This year, the foundation awarded research funding of $490,000 to 16 projects bringing the total funded to over $4 million since the inception of our program in 2007. 

Awarding the Researchers

The foundation was thrilled to have many family members, friends, and survivors in attendance to personally present the researchers with grants that were funded by their Chairs of Research. 

The Kati Lorge Chair of Research was presented to Ivan Christov, MD from Purdue University by her parents, friends, and life partner, Travis Kuether.. Dr. Christov hopes his research findings provide a proof-of-concept for a wider-scope study on a larger cohort of patients with cerebral aneurysms. The Kati Lorge Chair of Research was funded through Black Heart Travelers (BHT), which is an organization created in Kati’s memory after she passed from a brain aneurysm rupture in September of 2020. BHT sells stickers with all of the proceeds going to the BAF. The goal of the sticker project is to encourage people to take pictures of the stickers on their travels (something Kati was passionate about) and to post to social media with the hope of spreading brain aneurysm awareness and Kati’s story far and wide.  

Click here to read Kati’s story. 

The Austen L. Dunn Chair of Research was presented to Christopher Jackson, MD from Johns Hopkins by Austen’s parents. Austen passed away suddenly from complications of a massive ruptured brain aneurysm on September 24, 2016 at the age of 23. Dr. Jackson’s research is focused on harnessing the power of immune checkpoints to treat pathologic inflammation in brain aneurysms. The quest to improve the lives of patients with brain aneurysms is both academic and personal for Dr. Jackson. Austen’s Communitas 5K Walk was created because Austen felt that when people gather and have a shared experience it creates a special bond that fosters a sense of community. This event includes a walk around Fredericksburg, Virginia, followed by food trucks, music, and a memory tent for other people in the area to honor their loved ones affected by brain aneurysms. 


The Laughter is the Best Medicine Chair of Research was presented to Naoki Kaneko, MD, Ph.D. from The Regents of The University of California, Los Angeles by brain aneurysm survivor, Cathy Zardas. Dr. Kaneko hopes that the knowledge from this proposed project will enhance the ability of gene analyses to more precisely prevent aneurysmal growth or rupture.  After recovering from a ruptured aneurysm, Cathy decided that it was much more fun to laugh than focus on the pain. Laughter is the Best Medicine comedy event was created to help people understand aneurysms and create awareness through personal experience and comedy.

Establishing a Chair of Research

Establishing a Chair of Research is a long-lasting way to honor a loved one who has passed from a ruptured aneurysm. A Chair of Research sponsors the research of one grant recipient for a year at a minimum level of $10,000. Grant awards are presented at the Brain Aneurysm Foundation’s Annual Research Grant Awards Symposium each September. Researchers are honored to receive a grant and they are inspired by the personal stories behind each Chair of Research. 

Applying for a Research Grant

The Brain Aneurysm Foundation invites applications for basic scientific research directed at early detection, improved treatment modalities, and technological advances that will ultimately improve outcomes for patients with brain aneurysms, as well as translational projects, clinical/outcome, early detection, imaging, and SAH/SAH complications focused. Each year, the Research Grant Committee, a team of world-renowned neurosurgeons from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board, carefully reviews all the research grant requests from neuroscience leaders and determines which projects merit funding. Grants are awarded in varying amounts ranging from $10,000 to 50,000 dollars each. 

Please contact Christine Buckley at (781) 826-5556 or email at with any questions. 

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