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Advancing Metabolic Research in NASH, Obesity, and Cachexia Through Pfizer’s ASPIRE Program

ASPIRE Announcement 2023 Hero Image

Did you know that certain metabolic diseases are connected to one another by underlying biological factors? Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), obesity, and cachexia are directly linked with heart health, and together they constitute a global public health concern that risks reaching epidemic proportions.    

Pfizer is working to discover new medicines to help solve the significant patient needs associated with these conditions, but we recognize that no one company will be able to successfully accomplish this task on their own.   

“The global healthcare community must continue to work collectively to better understand these conditions, says William Sessa, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Internal Medicine at Pfizer. “Together, we need to better understand how they are intrinsically connected as we work to discover new medicines that will improve the health and daily experience of patients and their families.”   

One way that Pfizer embraces this collective approach is by supporting independent research through our Advancing Science and Patient care through Innovative Research and Education (ASPIRE) Competitive Grants programs in NASH, obesity, and cachexia. This program fuels the advancement of medical knowledge of these hard-to-treat conditions that impact hundreds of millions of people across the globe.  

As we prepare to open the ASPIRE Competitive Research Grants application process for 2023, with grants to be awarded in 2024, we especially encourage those who are passionate about advancing knowledge of NASH to apply. We greatly value the external innovation of independent researchers, which contributes to our shared goal of unearthing new scientific discoveries that will hopefully translate to innovative medicines for patients around the world.  

Previous grant recipients and their institutions, highlighted below, are leading innovative projects to uncover insights on the origin and progression of NASH, obesity and cachexia and we’re thrilled to continue to support independent research. 


  • Matthew Hoare, University of Cambridge 
  • Laura Calabresi, Università degli Studi di Milano 
  • Bo Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 
  • Mar Coll, Universitat de Barcelona 
  • Andrea Branch, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 
  • Ekaterina Smirnova, Virginia Commonwealth University 



  • Elena Bochukova, Queen Mary University of London 
  • Lisa Cannon-Albright, University of Utah 
  • Ana Domingos, University of Oxford 
  • Paul Sabatini, The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre  
  • Charles LeDuc, Columbia University 



  • Hannah Wardill, The University of Adelaide  
  • Paul Sabatini, The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre  
  • Jackson Orem, Uganda Cancer Institute  


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