Seventeen Early-Career Physician Scientists Receive More Than $8.4M in Grants for Clinical Research Proposals That Promise to Have Powerful Impacts on a Wide Range of Issues Affecting Human Health.
New York, August 9, 2022 – The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation today announced the 17 early-career physician-scientist faculty receiving a total of $8.4 million in 2022 Clinical Scientist Development Awards. Through the Clinical Scientist Development Awards, the foundation funds promising physician scientists whose projects have the potential to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease and to enable their transition to independent research careers.
“We are excited to support this group of Clinical Scientist Development Awardees, whose research projects encompass highly significant questions, approaches and insights yielded from their interactions with patients and the healthcare system,” said Sindy Escobar Alvarez, director for medical research at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “Whether improving understanding of disease mechanisms or illuminating insights into access to care, their contributions to the biomedical field are invaluable, and we look forward to following their important work.”
The 2022 recipients, who will each receive grants of $495,000 over three years, emerged through a rigorous, multistage peer review process and comprise roughly 10% of the applicant pool. Their applications were evaluated on significance, originality and research approach of the scientific proposals, and the research environment. A large share of this year’s recipients propose work in health outcomes, treatment and prevention, marking an increase from previous years, and span a broad range of critical health issues including, but not limited to, cardiology, telehealth care delivery, substance use disorder treatment, oncology and mental health. The awardee pool is also diverse in representation, with 53% of the selected projects led by women and 23% by those identifying as Black or Hispanic/Latinx, which is critical for providing insights into the health concerns of a wide spectrum of the national population.
While physician scientists are essential to the medical research infrastructure because of their interactions with patients, they typically experience a more challenging transition to independent careers than other researchers. As highlighted in a recent Nature Immunology article, this is due to the competing demands of their clinical and research responsibilities, which include maintaining competence in clinical care and state-of-the-art research practices, running a research team, taking care of patients and tackling administrative duties. The Clinical Scientist Development Awards program enables physician scientists to dedicate and protect 75% of time towards their clinical research and encourages the development of strong mentorship relations in supportive institutional environments.
Since the program began in 1998, the foundation has awarded more than $169 million in funding to 371 physician scientists. The Clinical Scientist Development Awards have been highly successful in facilitating their retention in clinical research and in attracting subsequent research funding. In fact, 82% of 1998-2016 awardees, compared with 66% of highly competitive but unsuccessful applicants in the same period, obtained subsequent research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Alumni of the program have also made important contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. Ninety-eight percent of these awardees have been cited in clinical literature, an indicator of the clinical relevance of their contributions, and many have achieved significant leadership appointments in their fields. Some notable examples include Dr. Michael R. DeBaun (class of 1998), who pioneered the use of blood transfusions as a method to mitigate silent strokes in children with sickle cell disease; Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky (class of 2005), who is the current director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Dr. Dorry L. Segev (class of 2008), who played a key role in the enactment of the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act by advocating for and drafting the bill to legalize HIV+ organ donation to HIV+ recipients.
A list of the 2022 Clinical Scientist Development Award grantees and their project titles can be found below:
Erica Farrand, M.D., University of California, San Francisco
Project name: “The Future of ILD Care Delivery: Overcoming Barriers to Telehealth with Remote Monitoring”
Marat Fudim, M.D., MHS, Duke University
Project name: “Role of the Splanchnic Vascular Compartment in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction”
Rohan Khera, MBBS, M.S., Yale University
Project name: “Developing Artificial Intelligence Algorithms for Screening of Myocardial Disorders from Single-lead Electrocardiography and Wearable Devices”
Andrea Knittel, M.D., Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Project name: “Justice Core: Implementing Evidence-based Substance Use Disorder Treatment Through Alternatives to Perinatal Incarceration”
Giselle López, M.D., Ph.D., Duke University
Project name: “Genomic and Spatial Expression Analysis of Oligodendroglioma to Identify Novel Therapeutic and Prognostic Targets”
Sydney Lu, M.D., Ph. D., Stanford School of Medicine
Project name: “Targeting Cancer-Associated RNA Splicing Factor Mutations and Resultant Neoantigens for Immunotherapy”
Jason Nagata, M.D., M.S., University of California, San Francisco
Project name: “Optimizing Adolescent Screen Use to Promote Cardiovascular Health through Data Science”
Sidharth Puram, M.D., Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis
Project name: “Deciphering Immunotherapy Resistance in Head and Neck Cancer Using Single Cell Genomics and Spatial Techniques”
Fatima Rodriguez, M.D., MPH, Stanford School of Medicine
Project name: “PICTURE (Picture of Incidental Calcium to Understand Risk Estimate)”
Catherine Spina, M.D., Ph.D., Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Project name: “Adenosine Signaling Modulation, Checkpoint Inhibition and Tumor Irradiation for Patients with Oligometastatic Prostate Cancer”
Madeline Sterling, M.D., MPH, Weill Cornell Medicine
Project name: “Improving the Mental Health of Home Health Aides”
Carl Streed Jr., M.D., MPH, FACP, Boston Medical Center
Project name: “Assessing and Addressing Inequities in Cardiovascular Health for Transgender Adults”
Stephanie Tankou, M.D., Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Project name: “Impact of Vancomycin on the Gut Microbiome and Immune Function in Multiple Sclerosis”
Peyton Thompson, M.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Project name: “Simplifying Hepatitis B Care in Pregnancy by Combining Birth-dose Vaccine and Tenofovir: The COMBAT HBV Feasibility Trial”
Miriam Udler, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital
Project name: “Drug Discovery for Type 2 Diabetes Using Genetic Pathways”
Aaron Viny, M.D., M.S., Columbia University
Project name: “Epigenetic Coupling of DNA Methylation and Chromatin Structure as Determinants of Cell Fate Specification in Hematopoietic Stem Cells”
Kevin Wei, M.D., Ph.D., Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Project name: “Targeting Fibrosis in Treatment-resistance Rheumatoid Arthritis”
About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, child well-being and medical research, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The foundation’s Medical Research Program supports clinical research that advances the translation of biomedical discoveries into new preventions, diagnoses and treatments for human diseases. To learn more about the program, visit www.ddcf.org.
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