Jump to Main Content


2017 ASH-AMFDP Scholars Study Basic Insights in Blood Cancer Development

(WASHINGTON – January 19, 2017) The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is pleased to announce that Justin Taylor, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Roger Belizaire, MD, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital have been selected to participate in the American Society of Hematology-Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (ASH-AMFDP).

Designed to increase the number of underrepresented minority scholars in the field of hematology with academic and research appointments, the ASH-AMFDP provides four-year research awards, including an annual stipend of up to $75,000 and an annual research grant of $30,000, for a total of $420,000 over the course of the program. Drs. Taylor and Belizaire will spend at least 70 percent of their ASH-AMFDP-funded research under the mentorship of senior faculty at their respective institutions.

Drs. Taylor and Belizaire will study biological and mechanistic effects of genetic mutations that could potentially be harnessed as therapeutic targets for hematologic malignancies. They will begin their projects in July 2017.

Justin Taylor MD

Dr. Taylor’s research focuses on understanding the underlying mechanisms and consequences of alterations to XPO1, a protein thought to drive a broad array of blood cancers and other malignancies. He will engineer XPO1 mutations into human cells and mouse embryonic cells to generate stable cell lines and genetically engineered mouse models in an attempt to recapitulate the biology of E571K, a common mutation of XPO1. Dr. Taylor and his team will observe changes in these models and aim to determine how they might be linked to cancer development. Dr. Taylor currently serves as a medical oncology fellow at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. 

Roger Belizaire, MD, PhD

Dr. Belizaire’s project focuses on CBL, a cell signaling protein that drives cell proliferation and myeloid differentiation and is mutated in myeloid malignancies. While it is known that CBL mutations lead to increased cell proliferation, the precise mechanisms of action remain unclear. Dr. Belizaire will conduct several in vitro and mouse model studies aiming to characterize the proteins and pathways affected by loss of CBL activity. Altogether, this work will seek to identify new therapeutic targets in CBL-mutated myeloid malignancies. Dr. Belizaire is an associate pathologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in pathology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

The ASH-AMFDP program is a component of the ASH Minority Recruitment Initiative, which is dedicated to encouraging diversity in the field of hematology. This initiative is supported by the ASH Foundation.

“I’m proud that ASH will support Drs. Taylor and Belizaire in their work, which may lead to novel, more effective, and well-tolerated targeted therapies,” said 2017 ASH President Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, of the Lebow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics and Jerome Lipper Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “The ASH-AMFDP is strengthening the hematology workforce by attracting underrepresented minorities to the field and providing support and stability so recipients can focus on the work that will enhance their careers in hematology.”

The American Society of Hematology (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online. In 2016, ASH launched Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

The ASH Foundation (https://www.hematology.org/Foundation) is dedicated to moving hematology forward through support of research, career development, and quality care and education programs. The ASH Foundation is supported through funding, resources, and leadership provided by ASH, the premier organization for physicians and scientists studying and treating blood disorders, and provides a mechanism for ASH members to give in support of critical programs. Personal donations to the ASH Foundation allow the Society to do more for hematology through the expansion or enhancement of existing programs.

Sara Khalaf, American Society of Hematology
[email protected]; 202-552-4925