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Five land ASCI Young Physician-Scientist Awards

Apr. 14, 2021, 3:34 PM

by Bill Snyder

Five Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty members have received Young Physician-Scientist Awards from the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI), an elite honor society of physician-scientists.

The awards, presented last week during the joint annual meeting of the ASCI, Association of American Physicians (AAP) and the American Physician Scientist Association held virtually in Chicago, recognize physician-scientists early in their first faculty appointments who have made notable achievements in research.

The VUMC recipients are:

  • Matthew Alexander, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Divisions of Clinical Pharmacology and Cardiovascular Medicine, who is studying the role of counter-regulatory immune mechanisms in the pathogenesis of hypertension and related end-organ damage;
  • Alexander Bick, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Genetic Medicine, who is researching the causes and consequences of clonal hematopoiesis, age-related acquisition of somatic mutations in blood stem cells that are a root cause of multiple diseases of aging, including blood cancer and heart disease;
  • Marcos Lopez, MD, MS, assistant professor of Anesthesiology in the Division of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine, who is investigating the role of impaired endothelial function and vascular reactivity in postoperative brain and kidney dysfunction, with the goal of developing novel approaches to treat it;
  • Matthew Semler, MD, MSc, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics, who has contributed to clinical trials investigating the effects of common interventions in the intensive care unit on patient outcomes; and
  • Jennifer Sucre, MD, assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology and assistant professor of Cell & Developmental Biology, who investigates molecular mechanisms of lung development and lung diseases including complications of preterm birth, chronic respiratory disease and age-related host susceptibility factors to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“The Young Physician-Scientist Award is highly competitive with only 40 awards given annually,” said ASCI President Lorraine Ware, MD, Ralph and Lulu Owen Professor of Medicine, professor of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology at VUMC and director of the Vanderbilt Medical Scholars Program.

“The fact that five Vanderbilt faculty have been recognized with this award in 2021 is a testament to the talent of our junior faculty and our strong institutional support for physician-scientist career development,” Ware said.

Also during the three-day meeting:

  • Julie Bastarache, MD, associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at VUMC and director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was elected to the ASCI Council.
  • Alvin C. Powers, MD, Joe C. Davis Professor of Biologic Sciences, director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center and chief of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine, was elected to the AAP Council.

The AAP/ASCI Public Service and Courage Award was presented to to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, for his “exemplary contributions and dedication to public health.”

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