2016 ASH-AMFDP Scholars to Study Malaria, Immunotherapy for Hematologic Malignancies

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Natasha Archer, MD, MPH

Rayne Rouce, MD

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is pleased to announce that Natasha Archer, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and Rayne Rouce, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, 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 AMFDP provides 4-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. ­Archer and Rouce will spend at least 70% of their ASH-AMFDP–funded research under the mentorship of senior faculty at their respective institutions.

Dr. Archer’s Research

Dr. Archer will begin her project in July 2016. Her project aims to lay the groundwork for more widespread use of hydroxyurea in the management of sickle cell disease. She will study the mechanisms of how fetal hemoglobin inhibits Plasmodium falciparum, which is the parasite that causes malaria.

Dr. Archer is Instructor in Pediatrics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston. She also serves as a Staff Physician at Boston Children’s Hospital and is Associate Physician in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She earned her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine and completed a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, where she later completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology. Dr. Archer’s research and clinical interests include sickle cell disease and global health.

The ASH-AMFDP program is one of the three components 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.

Dr. Rouce’s Research

Dr. Rouce will explore strategies for eliminating relapse and viral infection post-hematopoietic stem cell transplant, and Dr. Archer will study how hemoglobin affects the parasite that causes malaria.

Dr. Rouce began work on her ASH-AMFDP–supported research project in January 2016. Her research focuses on using CD19-targeted immunotherapies post hematopoietic stem cell transplant to reduce both the high relapse rate and the high risk of viral infection in patients with B-cell malignancies.

Dr. Rouce serves as an Instructor at the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She is also an Instructor of Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital. She obtained her medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch, where she also completed a residency and internship in pediatrics. Dr. Rouce completed a fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. Her research interests include immunotherapy and cell and gene therapy to treat leukemia and lymphoma.

“Drs. Archer and Rouce are already making notable contributions to hematology, and we are excited to see how their participation in the ASH-AMFDP program will help them continue to grow as leaders in this field,” said 2016 ASH President Charles S. Abrams, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania. “ASH has supported the development of minority hematologists with this program for more than a decade, and we look forward to seeing Drs. Archer and Rouce’s wonderful accomplishments as they advance in their careers.” ■