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ASH Sustains Critical Medical Research Disrupted by Pandemic

New ASH Research Restart Award to help ensure research continuity and workforce stability during pandemic

(WASHINGTON, March 11, 2021) — Today, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) announced the names of 19 talented early-career investigators who will receive critical funding to support their resumption of research that was paused amid pandemic-related shutdowns and uncertainty. These researchers have each been awarded up to $50,000 through the new ASH Research Restart Award, developed by the Society to address the urgent and time-sensitive need to support researchers in continuing or resuming high-impact research disrupted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The pandemic’s impact on biomedical research has been serious and far-reaching. Not only do these research disruptions threaten the development of new therapies and cures, but researchers report having to delay grant applications, refrain from starting new research activities, and pause or even discard long-term experiments due to restrictions and shutdowns. It is estimated that billions of dollars have been lost due to halted productivity from closed laboratories. The pandemic response poses a significant career challenge to researchers, particularly those in early career or transition stages, who face risks of job loss, hiring freezes, or furloughs, which could have a lasting impact on the workforce.

To support researchers in this uncertain environment, ASH launched the Research Restart Award. The award, open to applicants worldwide, is designed to support one year of research – including salaries, supplies, training, research expenses, and publication fees – so investigators can resume their work on crucial, cutting-edge hematologic studies. In recognition that innovation occurs when diverse perspectives are present, the award program particularly encourages applications from early-career applicants, particularly those from backgrounds traditionally disadvantaged or underrepresented in academic medicine in the U.S. (considering race and ethnicity, gender, ability, or sexual orientation) and those whose research focuses on key ASH priorities such as health care disparities, sickle cell disease, and topics related to the ASH clinical practice guidelines or ASH research agenda.

“The ASH Research Restart Award offers a necessary lifeline for promising biomedical researchers facing unprecedented disruption due to COVID-19 that has led to impaired productivity, lost momentum, and uncertain professional futures,” said ASH President Martin S. Tallman, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “At this time when the pandemic has underscored the vital importance of science and public health, ASH remains committed to supporting researchers as they work to advance both.”

The projects supported by the ASH Research Restart Award include basic, translational, and clinical hematology research, including work that will enhance our understanding and treatment of venous thromboembolism, sickle cell disease, graft-versus-host disease, multiple myeloma, and other blood conditions. The list of international recipients is:

  • Frederick Allen, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Theodore Braun, MD, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Sisi Chen, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Nirav Dhanesha, PhD, University of Iowa
  • Sarah Ducamp, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Patrick Ellsworth, MD, University of North Carolina
  • Md Kamrul Hasan, PhD, University of California San Diego
  • Christian Hurtz, PhD, The University of Pennsylvania
  • Thomas Koehnke, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Prerna Malaney, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Maria Maryanovich, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Coraline Mlynarczyk, PhD, Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Danitza Nebor, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Simone Riedel, PhD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Maria Guillamot Ruano, PhD, PharmD, NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Christian Schürch, MD, PhD, University of Tübingen, Germany
  • Claudio Scuoppo, PhD, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Natthakan Thongon, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Matthew Witkowski, PhD, New York University School of Medicine

Letters of intent for the next cycle of the Research Restart Award are due on April 16. ASH is also actively working to mitigate the impact of the pandemic response on research by joining with its partners in the federal government and the global research community to advocate for additional funding to recover from COVID-related research disruptions.

Additional COVID-19 links:

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (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 60 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, and Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

Leah Enser, American Society of Hematology
[email protected]; 202-552-4927