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Chung receives early investigator award from ASCPT

Sep. 16, 2021, 9:29 AM

Cecilia Chung, MD, MPH

by Bill Snyder

Cecilia Chung, MD, MPH, associate professor of Medicine, has received the 2022 Leon I. Goldberg Early Investigator Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (ASCPT).

The award was established in 1986 to honor scientists for accomplishments in the field of clinical pharmacology within 10 years of completing an advanced degree, residency program and/or postdoctoral fellowship.

Chung is the fourth investigator from Vanderbilt University Medical Center to receive the award, after Dan Roden, MD (1992), Richard Kim, MD (2000), and Sara Van Driest, MD, PhD (2019).

Chung’s research career has focused on addressing questions of public health importance. The overriding theme of her research addresses variation in drug response, with an emphasis on medications used by large numbers of people.

“This is a well-deserved honor, and it is gratifying to see Cecilia’s contributions to clinical pharmacology recognized at this level,” said C. Michael Stein, MBChB, Dan May Professor and professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology.

“Her contributions to our understanding of how to use drugs safely have touched the care of many patients,” said Stein, who, with Sean Hennessy, PharmD, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania, nominated Chung for the award.

“I want to thank the members of the ASCPT scientific awards selection task force for this award,” Chung said. “This award is only possible with the support found within a rich interdisciplinary and collaborative environment and with strong mentorship like the one Mike Stein provides.

“It is an honor to be in the company of such esteemed previous awardees from around the world,” she added. “Their contributions to science set a very high bar as I continue my research efforts.”

Following her medical training in Peru and Canada, Chung earned a master’s degree in public health from Vanderbilt University. She completed her internship, internal medicine residency and the clinical part of her rheumatology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.

Chung returned to Vanderbilt to complete the research-oriented part of her fellowship. She joined the VUMC faculty as an assistant professor of Medicine in 2012.

As a member of the Division of Rheumatology, Chung collaborates with researchers in Clinical Pharmacology, Genetics, Nephrology, Cardiology, Epidemiology and Bioinformatics.

She has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has received career development awards from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and from the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

Currently, her research is focused on the pharmacogenomics of immunosuppressants and on the comparative safety of non-opioid pain medications. Her research is supported by Research Support (R01) grants from the NIH, and by a Merit award from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Chung serves on the editorial boards of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Arthritis Care & Research and Clinical Rheumatology. She is a grant reviewer for the Rheumatology Research Foundation and a standing member of the Xenobiotic and Nutrient Disposition and Action Study Section of the NIH.

The award, which includes a plaque and $1,000 prize, will be presented during the 2022 ASCPT annual meeting next March in Denver. Chung also will deliver a lecture about her research at the meeting.

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