For the past 25 years, ASH has supported more than 200 fellows and junior faculty in both basic and clinical/translational research by providing partial salary or other support during the critical period required for completion of training and achievement of status as an independent investigator.
The following class of ASH Scholars began their award on July 1, 2010. To find out more about the ASH Scholar Awards program, please visit www.hematology.org. An announcement of the 2011 ASH Scholars will be made during the Presidential Symposium tomorrow, December 7, 2010.
Ann Mullally, MD
Dr. Ann Mullally received her MD from the University College Dublin, Ireland. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins and fellowship in hematology/oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). She is currently a research fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Benjamin Ebert at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, MA, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an attending physician in the leukemia program at BWH/DFCI.
Dr. Mullally’s research bridges the bench and the bedside by addressing clinically relevant questions that affect patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). She employs mouse models of MPN as a tool to further our understanding of the biology of these diseases in humans. Together with fellow physician-scientist Dr. Steven Lane and other colleagues, Dr. Mullally recently described the differential effects that the Jak2V617F mutation has on hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in a murine knockin model (Cancer Cell 2010). Dr. Mullally is interested in using murine models to inform therapeutic approaches to patients with MPN, with the ultimate goal of selectively targeting MPN stem cells in humans. Dr. Mullally is also interested in the molecular genetics of familial MPN. Her goal is to become an independent investigator engaged in the study of the biology and genetics of MPN and leukemia, with a focus on disease stem cells.
Dr. Mullally is extremely honored to receive an ASH Scholar Award. She wishes to acknowledge her outstanding residency and fellowship training programs and the expertise of the Ebert & Gilliland lab members. She would particularly like to thank Nancy Berliner, Gary Gilliland, Rich Stone, Ross Levine, Ron McCaffrey, and Jerry Ritz for nurturing her development as a physician-scientist. Finally, Dr. Mullally is immensely grateful to her mentor Ben Ebert for his continued encouragement, guidance, and especially for being the exceptional, yet incredibly humble person that he is.
Marvin Nieman, PhD
Dr. Nieman is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Nieman received his PhD at The University of Toledo in cell biology. He began his career in hematology research in Dr. Alvin Schmaier’s laboratory at the University of Michigan studying the interactions between thrombin and its receptors (protease activated receptors [PARs]). Dr. Nieman’s independent research career was marked by a single-author publication in Biochemistry in 2008. Since then, he has focused on studies designed to test the hypothesis that PAR subtypes, in particular PAR1 and PAR4, interact with one another to mediate the full range of thrombin signaling on platelets and other cells. PAR1 and PAR4 interact on the platelet surface, and PAR1 lowers the amount of thrombin required for PAR4 activation by serving as a cofactor. Dr. Nieman is studying thrombin signaling in the context that the PAR1-PAR4 heterodimer is the functional receptor on platelets with the goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets. The current direction of his research is to examine how PAR1 and PAR4 physically interact with one another and how heterodimerization influences thrombin activation of these receptors and subsequent signaling. The intriguing aspect of hematology research is the long history that combines clinical medicine with biochemistry and cell biology. His goal is to contribute in a meaningful way to the field of hematology and this history. Dr. Nieman would like to thank ASH for its support.
Trista North, PhD
Dr. Trista E. North is an assistant professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and principal faculty of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowdoin College in 1996 and her PhD in biochemistry from Dartmouth College in 2002. Her graduate work, conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Nancy Speck, focused on the functional role of Runx1 in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) development in the murine embryo. Dr. North conducted her postdoctoral research with Dr. Leonard Zon in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Children’s Hospital in Boston; using zebrafish as a discovery tool for identifying modulators of runx1+ blood stem cell development through a chemical genetic screening approach, she identified both PGE2 and nitric oxide as conserved HSC regulators. The focus of Dr. North’s current investigations remains on using developmental hematopoiesis as a key to uncovering general principles of stem cell function, self-renewal, and organ regeneration. Her laboratory is using chemical and genetic approaches in the zebrafish as well as comparative genomic examination of the changing spatio-temporal sites of zebrafish and murine hematopoiesis to decipher regulatory networks central to HSC formation and function. Dr. North’s biggest accomplishment to date was taking a discovery in zebrafish from bench to bedside together with a wonderful team of collaborators; the opportunity to move from the initial discovery phase to translational experiments, actively participate in the FDA and IRB approval processes, and watch something pass on to the clinicians with the potential to impact someone’s life was both inspiring and empowering for her. For Dr. North, receiving the ASH Scholar Award is a huge honor, especially considering the long list of prior recipients and their achievements; she hopes to have a similar effect on the field of hematology.
Enrico M. Novelli, MD
Dr. Novelli, a physician trained in internal medicine and hematology/oncology, was recently appointed assistant professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh. His main areas of interest are disorders of hemostasis and hemoglobinopathies with a special research focus on the mechanisms underlying hemolysis-associated vasculopathy in sickle cell disease (SCD).
Dr. Novelli developed a keen interest in hematology during medical school at the University of Milan, where he realized the importance of strong research training. With this in mind, Dr. Novelli enrolled as a postdoctoral fellow in hematology/oncology at the Johns Hopkins University in 1996. Following his wife who was also pursuing an academic career, Dr. Novelli moved to Pittsburgh in 1999; this is where he received his clinical training. It was here that he cultivated his other longstanding interest in global health. After a semester in Africa as a medical volunteer, Dr. Novelli published a work on the predictors of malarial anemia in Kenya as one of his research fellowship projects. His interest in tropical hematology led to his appointment as director of the Health Volunteers Overseas hematology site in Peru to promote scientific exchange between American and Peruvian hematologists. A separate fellowship project on von Willebrand disease was selected for the ASH Clinical Research Training Institute.
Under the outstanding mentorship of a multidisciplinary team including Drs. Margaret Ragni, Mark Gladwin, and Jeff Isenberg, Dr. Novelli developed a project to elucidate how TSP1 tethers hemolysis to NO dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension in SCD. Dr. Novelli said, “This work is at the center of my ASH Scholar Award. As director of the adult SCD program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, I am fortunate to enjoy the support and encouragement of my patients, who constantly remind me of the importance of research to alleviate their devastating disease.”
Ran Reshef, MD
Dr. Reshef is an instructor in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He earned his MD from the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, where he also completed a residency in internal medicine. He then trained in hematology at the University of Pennsylvania, where, under the mentorship of Drs. David Porter and Robert Vonderheide, he developed his current research, which focuses on the role of lymphocyte trafficking in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The study of lymphocyte trafficking suggests a new paradigm in GVHD prevention and therapy. The recent introduction of a first CCR5-inhibitor opened the door to translational research in this field. Dr. Reshef demonstrated that CCR5 inhibition leads to decreased in vitro chemotaxis of lymphocytes. As proof of concept, Dr. Reshef is conducting a clinical trial testing the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of maraviroc, an oral CCR5-inhibitor, in the prevention of GVHD. This is the first attempt to target lymphocyte trafficking as a GVHD prevention strategy in humans.
Dr. Reshef’s long-term objectives are to develop novel therapeutics and diagnostics in the field of cellular immunotherapy, focusing on late preclinical and early clinical development. His goal is to introduce these novel methods to enhance both the safety and efficacy of allogeneic cellular therapy.
David Weinstock, MD, PhD
Dr. Weinstock completed his residency in internal medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell and then undertook combined fellowship training in medical oncology and infectious diseases at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2002, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Maria Jasin at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, where he focused on mechanisms through which DNA double-strand breaks result in leukemogenic rearrangements. These studies implicated a role for alternate, non-canonical repair pathways in the formation of chromosomal translocations. In 2008, he moved with his wife, Dr. Gianna Zuccotti, and daughter, Sophie, to Boston, where he became an assistant professor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Weinstock now leads a translational research effort at the interface of DNA repair and leukemia biology. His clinical expertise involves the care of patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation. He is also medical advisor for the Radiation Injury Treatment Network, a consortium of academic medical centers, umbilical cord blood banks, and donor blood centers focused on the management of marrow toxicity after an untoward radiation event.
Dr. Weinstock is extremely honored to be part of a long history of ASH Scholar Award recipients from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His award will provide essential support for studies related to leukemogenesis in children with Down syndrome (i.e., extrasomy (21)). Children with Down syndrome have a 500-fold increased risk of developing acute megakaryoblastic leukemia and 10-fold to 20-fold increased risk of developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Yet, the leukemogenic effects of extrasomy (21) remain unclear. Dr. Weinstock will seek to identify a relationship between extrasomy (21), aberrant DNA repair, and specific rearrangements observed in Down syndrome-associated leukemias. Among these are translocations and interstitial deletions involving the CRLF2 cytokine receptor subunit, whose role in ALL is another area of interest within the Weinstock laboratory.
Jing Zhang, PhD
Dr. Zhang received her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2001, while working with Dr. Michael Granato on zebrafish neural development. Her career in hematology officially began when she started her postdoctoral training with Dr. Harvey Lodish at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Her postdoctoral research focused on endogenous Ras signaling in erythroid differentiation and leukemogenesis. In 2007, she moved to the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to establish her own research program. Her current focus is on how extrinsic and intrinsic factors regulate self-renewal of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and tumor initiating cells (TICs). By combining the power of mouse genetics and bone marrow transplantation, she shows that as the first genetic hit, endogenous oncogenic Ras mutations target HSCs to initiate leukemias. Different Ras isoforms activate downstream signaling pathways to various extents and dictate distinct behaviors of HSCs in leukemogenesis. Despite these recent advances, she still faces the ultimate challenge in translational research: how to transform the knowledge gained from basic research into drugs and therapies at the bedside. To meet this challenge, she is striving to identify novel genes involved in differentially regulating HSCs and TICs as candidates for new therapeutic targets. “The ASH Scholar Award is not only a recognition of my previous achievements, but also a strong endorsement of my future career development. I appreciate this great honor and also look forward to the challenges it brings. In addition to running a rigorous scientific program, I am raising two young children with my husband, who is a neuroscientist with his own independent laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I hope that I can be a successful scientist and a great mom,” Dr. Zhang said.
Taro Hitosugi, PhD
Dr. Taro Hitosugi received his PhD in chemistry from the University of Tokyo. As a graduate student, Dr. Hitosugi worked on tyrosine kinases. This experience led him to join Dr. Jing Chen’s lab at Emory University as a postdoctoral fellow, where he broadened his knowledge and experience in the study of leukemia in which tyrosine kinases are commonly unregulated. Dr. Hitosugi is still at Emory University; his current research focuses on leukemogenic tyrosine kinase signaling in cancer cell metabolism. It is Dr. Hitosugi’s future goal to discover metabolic enzymes or metabolites that are important for leukemogenesis using both signal transduction knowledge from his current lab and his chemical background knowledge. Metabolites are chemical compounds, which mean their derivatives could be turned into drugs.
Receiving an ASH Scholar Award has had a “very big impact on my research life. I can have lots of confidence to pursue my research. Thanks to ASH, my research is well recognized in my department.”
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