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Thirty-Seven Physicians Awarded Support to Pursue Careers as Physician-Scientists

Thirty-Seven Physicians Awarded Support to Pursue Careers as Physician-Scientists

Summary

Thirty-seven young physicians have been selected as fellows by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to spend the next three years studying the plasticity of the brain, genetic control of organ development, regulation of cholesterol metabolism, and other subjects at the frontier of biomedical research.

The physician postdoctoral fellows will receive training for careers as physician-scientists, experts who combine basic research skills with clinical experience. This combination gives them a unique understanding of diseases and helps them think in fresh ways of possible new treatments and cures.

The fellows are the latest in a highly competitive HHMI program that supports physicians in obtaining research training in the study of basic biological processes and disease mechanisms, at leading laboratories. All have completed at least two years of clinical training since graduating from medical school.

"These talented young physicians have seen how the most advanced medicine can successfully intervene in complex health problems," said HHMI President Purnell W. Choppin, M.D. "They also are keenly aware of how much remains to be learned and are pursuing training in research so they will be able to advance our knowledge."

In this eighth year of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for Physicians program, the new fellows include 7 women and 30 men who will be working with research mentors at 19 universities, research institutions, and hospitals, including 8 HHMI laboratories. The three-year fellowships provide annually a stipend of $40,000 to $60,000, a research allowance of $16,000, and an institutional allowance of $13,000.

This year's group of awardees includes 32 physicians from the United States, two from Canada, and one each from Taiwan, the People's Republic of China, and the United Kingdom. More than 90 physicians are now being supported under the fellowship program, at an annual cost of about $6 million.

"The prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease are increasingly targeted to the molecular level," said Joseph G. Perpich, M.D., J.D., HHMI's vice president for grants and special programs. "Through the fellows' research in genetics and molecular biology, we will gain new insights into the signals that regulate the smooth functioning of our body systems, and how they go awry in diseases as diverse as cancer, diabetes, and bipolar disorder."

The HHMI program differs from similar postdoctoral opportunities because it offers research support only to physicians who have had clinical experience since receiving their medical degrees. It complements other HHMI grant initiatives that support research training of medical and predoctoral students, research resources at U.S. medical schools, and the research of scientists outside the United States. HHMI has the nation's largest private program to improve science education.

A medical research organization, HHMI is the nation's largest philanthropy. It employs scientists in cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, and structural biology. Hughes investigators conduct medical research in HHMI laboratories at 72 outstanding academic medical centers and universities nationwide. Through its grants program, HHMI supports science education in the United States and a select group of researchers abroad.


Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for Physicians 1997 Fellows




Cell and Developmental Biology


Nathan Bahary, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Leonard Ira Zon, M.D., at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Children's Hospital (Boston), Department of Medicine. His project is "Developmental biology of hematopoiesis in zebrafish."

Hwai-Jong Cheng, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Marc T. Tessier-Levigne, Ph.D., at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California-San Francisco, Department of Anatomy. His project is "Identification and functional analysis of vertebral homologues of Drosophila roundabout."

Milton Whitaker Datta, M.D., in the laboratory of Daniel G. Tenen, M.D., at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Medicine. His project is "The role of the CCAAT enhancer binding proteins in myelopoiesis."

Fang Fang, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Tony Hunter, Ph.D., at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Department of Molecular Biology and Virology. Her project is "Identification of the differentiation-promoting factors from human prostatic stroma cells and investigation of their role in the pathogenesis of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer."

Robin D. Hanson, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Stanley J. Korsmeyer, M.D., at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Washington University, Department of Medicine. His project is "Role of MLL in embryogenesis, hematopoiesis, and Hox gene expression."

James Huang, M.D., in the laboratories of David Steven Pellman, M.D., at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Pediatric Oncology, and David M. Livingston, M.D., Division of Neoplastic Disease Mechanisms. His project is "Substrate recognition by the anaphase-promoting complex in S. cerevisiae."

Lyn Sue Kahng, M.D., in the laboratory of Lucy Shapiro, Ph.D., at Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Developmental Biology. Her project is "The role of the FlhA protein in mediating type III secretion in Caulobacter crescentus."

Stewart Harris Lecker, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Alfred L. Goldberg, Ph.D., at Harvard Medical School, Department of Cell Biology. His project is "Molecular basis for muscle protein loss in cachexia."

Alan Neil Mayer, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Mark C. Fishman, M.D., at Harvard Medical School, Department of Medicine. His project is "Identification of zebrafish mutants defective in pancreas development."

Akiko Shimamura, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of John Blenis, Ph.D., at Harvard Medical School, Department of Cell Biology. Her project is "Signal transduction pathways regulating cell growth and apoptosis."

Matthew Kent Topham, M.D., in the laboratory of Stephen M. Prescott, M.D., at the University of Utah, Department of Human Molecular Biology and Genetics. His project is "Characterization of diglyceride kinase zeta."


Genetics and Molecular Biology


David Matthew Altshuler, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Eric Lander, Ph.D., at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Center for Genome Research. His project is "Genetic and molecular studies of obesity-induced diabetes."

Vivian G. Cheung, M.D., in the laboratory of Richard S. Spielman, Ph.D., at the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Genetics. Her project is "Genomic mismatch scanning: technology development and applications."

Utpal Pramod Davé, M.D., in the laboratories of Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D., and Michael S. Brown, M.D., at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Department of Molecular Genetics. His project is " In vivo regulation of cholesterol homeostasis by SREBP cleavage-activating protein."

Bradley Scott Fletcher, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Garry P. Nolan, Ph.D., at Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Molecular Pharmacology. His project is "Development of hybrid vector systems for efficient gene transfer into non-dividing and hematopoietic stem cells."

Stephen R. Hammes, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Shaun R. Coughlin, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of California-San Francisco, Department of Medicine. His project is "Mechanisms of thrombin receptor shutoff."

Paul Mingyou Hwang, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratories of Charles Lowenstein, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, and Bert Vogelstein, M.D., at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Johns Hopkins University, Department of Oncology. His project is "Dissecting the genetic components involved in nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug-induced apoptosis."

Lynne Alison McInnes, M.D., in the laboratory of Nelson B. Freimer, M.D., at the University of California-San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry. Her project is "Cloning a gene for severe bipolar mood disorder."

Ben Ho Park, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Bert Vogelstein, M.D., at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Johns Hopkins University, Department of Oncology. His project is "Isolation and characterization of a p53 induced factor that mediates apoptosis."

Jonathan Robert Pollack, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Stanford University, Department of Biochemistry. His project is "Characterization of Myc protooncogene-induced changes in gene expression using a novel cDNA microassay, and correlation of findings with clinical tumor samples."

David Eric Symer, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Jef D. Boeke, Ph.D., at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. His project is "Modeling the molecular determinants of p53 mutagenesis in 'humanized' yeast."


Immunology and Microbiology


Dana Preis Ascherman, M.D., in the laboratory of Warren J. Leonard, M.D., at the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology. His project is "Signaling pathways involved in the expression of Interleukin-2 responsive genes."

Jody Lynn Baron, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratories of Donald E. Ganem, M.D., at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California-San Francisco, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Richard M. Locksley, M.D., Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Her project is "Characterization of mechanisms involved in the immune response and pathological consequences of hepatitis B virus infection in a transgenic mouse model."

Jonathan William Heusel, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Wayne M. Yokoyama, M.D., at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Washington University, Department of Medicine. His project is "The role of Ly-49 molecules as 'Missing-Self' receptors on natural killer cells."

Raymond Morris Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratories of Frederik P. Lindberg, M.D., Ph.D., and Eric J. Brown, M.D., at Washington University, Department of Infectious Diseases. His project is "Role of CD47 in T lymphocyte biology: contribution to T cell activation and host defense."

Anna Kuang, M.D., in the laboratory of Astar Winoto, Ph.D., at the University of California-Berkeley, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Her project is "Analysis of the Nur77 family of apoptosis."

Robert Glenn Maki, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Abul K. Abbas, M.B., B.S., at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Pathology. His project is "Anti-tumor helper T cell responses in a T cell receptor transgenic mouse model."

Joseph Andrew Mollick, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Lee M. Nadler, M.D., at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Adult Oncology. His project is "Breast cancer associated antigen, MUC-1: immunoregulatory mechanisms in health and disease."

Samuel Mark Moskowitz, M.D., in the laboratories of Samuel I. Miller, M.D., at the University of Washington, Department of Medicine, and Stephen Lory, Ph.D., Department of Microbiology. His project is "Host-microbial interactions in cystic fibrosis: identification of Pseudomonas aeruginosa genes that regulate resistance to host antimicrobial peptides and promote lipid A modifications altering innate host immune responses."

Lawrence J. Sauberman, M.D., in the laboratory of Richard S. Blumberg, M.D., at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Gastroenterology. His project is "Characterization of T cell receptor usage and functional analysis of T cell clones in inflammatory bowel disease."

Michael Ernest Severino, M.D., in the laboratory of Bruce D. Walker, M.D., at Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine. His project is " In vitro characterization of HIV-1 specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes."


Neuroscience and Physiology


Azad Bonni, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Michael E. Greenberg, Ph.D., at Children's Hospital, Boston, Department of Neurology. His project is "Regulation of glial fate specification in the central nervous system."
Award deferred from 1996.

Dane Michael Chetkovich, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratories of Michael M. Merzenich., Ph.D., at the University of California-San Francisco, Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience, and William C. Mobley, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurology. His project is "Nerve growth factor in adult cortical plasticity in vivo ."

Christopher Dean Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratories of Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, and Mark Donowitz, M.D., Department of Medicine. His project is "Nitric oxide and carbon monoxide as neural mediators in the enteric nervous system."

Edwin Shinichi Monuki, M.D., Ph.D., in the laboratory of Christopher A. Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Neurology. His project is "Identification and characterization of LIM domain genes in cerebral cortical development."

Stephen Mark Smith, M.B., B.S., Ph.D., in the laboratories of Richard H. Scheller, Ph.D., at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Stanford University, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, and Richard W. Tsien, Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. His project is "An investigation of the control of secretion in sympathetic neurons."


Structural Biology and Biochemistry


Edward Kim, M.D., in the laboratory of Stephen G. Young, M.D., at the J. David Gladstone Institutes, Gladstone Institute for Cardiovascular Research. His project is "Defining the physiologic role for protein repair."