ASH Announces 2016 Scholar Award Recipients

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Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) has announced the recipients of its 2016 Scholar Awards. One of ASH’s most prestigious award programs, the ASH Scholar Award program financially supports fellows and junior faculty dedicated to careers in hematology research as they transition from training programs to careers as independent investigators. 

Each Scholar Award provides up to $100,000 for fellows and $150,000 for junior faculty over a 2- to 3-year period. The program funds hematologists in North America who conduct basic, translational, and clinical research that furthers the understanding and treatment of blood disorders. ASH Scholar Awards are made possible through support from the ASH Foundation, as well as from the corporate community, individual donors, and funds committed by the Society. ASH recognizes this year’s corporate supporters: Bayer HealthCare, Celgene Corporation, Genentech, Inc., Gilead Sciences, Inc, Jake Wetchler Foundation for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research, and Takeda Oncology.

“For 30 years, the ASH Scholar Award program has supported young hematologists, many of whom are now leaders in the field,” said 2015 ASH President David A. Williams, MD, President of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and Leland Fikes Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “I am very pleased that for the past 2 years, the ASH Executive Committee has committed additional funding for this very important initiative, allowing us to fund many more scholars. Even with this additional funding, these awards are highly competitive. When talented scholars are provided the resources, time, and support they need to establish independent careers through programs like the ASH Scholar Awards, their careers thrive, and they are well positioned to make a notable impact on research and patient care. I congratulate all of the recipients and hope that this award is as important to their careers as it was to mine many years ago.”

The 2016 Scholar Award recipients are:

Basic Research Fellows

  • Connie Arthur, PhD, Emory University
  • Timothy Campbell, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
  • Hamza Celik, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
  • Timothy Chlon, PhD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
  • Jesús Delgado-Calle, PhD, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Maria Kleppe, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Jana Krietsch, PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Maksim Mamonkin, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Julia Maxson, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Ryohichi Sugimura, MD, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Alberto Yanez-Boyer, PhD, Cedars Sinai Medical Center
  • Steven Yea, MD, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine


Clinical Research Fellows

  • Connie Batlevi, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Andrew Branagan, MD, Yale School of Medicine
  • Brian Parkin, MD, University of Michigan


Basic Junior Faculty

  • Shannon Carty, MD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Rikhia Chakraborty, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Satiro De Oliveira, MD, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Joji Fujisaki, MD, PhD, Columbia University
  • Malay Haldar, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Sang Min, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Stephen Oh, MD, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
  • Qin Qin, PhD, The Johns Hopkins University
  • Christopher Sturgeon, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
  • Owen Tamplin, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School
  • Valeria Visconte, PhD, Cleveland Clinic
  • Pamela Wenzel, PhD, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston


Clinical Junior Faculty 

  • M. Paula Aristizabal, MD, University of California, San Diego
  • Jonathon Cohen, MD, Emory University
  • Amy Sobota, MD, MPH, Boston University School of Medicine

Joanne Levy, MD, Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement

Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, received the 2015 Joanne Levy, MD, Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement. This award is made possible by the family of past ASH Scholar Award recipient and distinguished Society member Joanne Levy, MD, who passed away in 2004, and is presented to the current ASH Scholar with the highest-scoring abstract for the ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition, as determined by the appointed abstract reviewers. 

Dr. Abdel-Wahad is being honored for his plenary abstract (Abstract 4), “Therapeutic Targeting of Spliceosomal Mutant Myeloid Leukemias Through Modulation of Splicing Catalysis.” His current research focuses on the functional understanding of genetic alterations in patients with chronic myeloid and lymphoid leukemias. Supported by the ASH Scholar Award, Dr. Abdel-Wahab is working to understand the biological and therapeutic significance of epigenetic and transcriptional alterations in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes. In addition, Dr. Abdel-Wahab and his colleagues are investigating therapeutic approaches for selective targeting of splicesomal mutant cancers.

Dr. Abdel-Wahab received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine and is currently an Assistant Attending Physician on the Leukemia Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a member of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program. ■