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Ross Levine, MD: 2006 ASH Scholar

Ross Levine, MD
Laurence Joseph Dineen Chair in Leukemia Research
Director, MSK Center for Hematologic Malignancies, Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY

On Receiving the Scholar Award

You’re at that very delicate moment in your career when you’re trying to figure out if you’re really going to make it and whether or not you’re going to be able to take your career to the next level and get to independence as a principal investigator. Getting the Scholar Award was one of the signs that, externally, people thought I was worth investing in; it’s hard to overestimate what that means at that early point in your career.

Career Impact

The Scholar Award gave me the opportunity to build foundational data that would allow me to transition to independence. I had gotten a K award that same year, so I had some support for my own salary but no support for science and certainly not for another pair of hands. So, for me, the award was the opportunity to do experiments and to have help doing those experiments that would really allow me to get my career to independence and to start my career off on the right foot. Without the award, I don’t know if it would have been the same.

A year later, when I began to look for a tenure track position, the fact that I had been an ASH Scholar helped, both because I had been able to build some of our research through ASH, but also because of the recognition it brought. It’s hard to imagine where I’d be without it.


We view the Scholar Award in my lab as an award that only the best get.

I’ve now had the opportunity to mentor three people who got the Scholar Award. So for me, having been mentored by someone who was an ASH Scholar, having been an ASH Scholar, and now mentoring them is all about paying it forward. I’m quite hopeful that my trainees will hopefully train future ASH Scholars.

On Belonging to ASH

I view ASH as the one society that I’m wholly committed to for the lifetime of my career because they’ve been committed to me and my training.

ASH does a lot of things for a lot of people, but its commitment to trainees and junior faculty is really the most important thing it does. I can’t overestimate ASH’s value to the field. I’m so committed to helping to push that mission forward.