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Stephen Hunger, MD: 1995 ASH Scholar

Stephen Hunger, MD
Chief of the Division of Oncology
Director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research
The Jeffrey E. Perelman Distinguished Chair in the Department of Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA

On Receiving the Scholar Award

The Scholar Award was my initial career development grant that helped provide support in the first few years of my faculty positions. The main thing the award did at that time was allow me to have the time I needed to focus on research for the initial seven years or so of my academic career. I maybe spent about 75 percent of my time running a research laboratory. The Scholar Award funding that allowed me to do that was very important for how my career developed after that.

Research Focus

When I got the award, my focus was on trying to understand why some cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) relapse and the genetic determinants of that. Throughout my career, that’s been part of a boarder interest in research on pediatric ALL – really trying to understand the genetics, the genetic events of the disease, how those correlate with a higher or lower risk of relapse, how you can use them to adjust therapy intensity, and, more recently, how specific molecular lesions in the leukemia cells can be exploited therapeutically. It’s all very consistent with where that first project started out 20 years ago.

On Belonging to ASH

I’ve always felt that ASH was an organization that was very consistent with what my clinical and academic interests were. I’m proud to have been selected as a Scholar and very happy for the support that it provided me at that time.

ASH is an outstanding professional organization that is invested in helping to identify, develop, and train the next generation of hematology researchers. I’ve always tried to contribute philanthropically to ASH. When you get the chance to check a box, I try to direct it towards the career development or training programs because I think that this is something that is vital to the health of our field.