Burroughs Wellcome Fund Invests $8.4 Million in the Careers of Physician-Scientists

Career grant allows medical doctors to study Ebola, mental illness, brain cancer in children, and other biomedical questions

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Twelve talented medical doctors at some of America’s top health research institutions are recipients of a $700,000 career development grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund — the private, independent foundation making personal investments in biomedical research and careers for more than 60 years.

The 2016 recipients of the BWF Career Awards for Medical Scientists (CAMS) include physician-scientists from University of California, San Francisco; University of California, San Diego; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and Harvard Medical School.

“The ‘physician-scientist’ is a rare individual: medical doctors whose real-world practice treating human diseases gives them unique insights to research the biology of those very same diseases,” says BWF President John E. Burris, Ph.D. “The Burroughs Wellcome Fund created this award to help increase the number of physician-scientists working today and to advance their career in scientific investigations — and all twelve of our 2016 awardees are pursuing biomedical research questions that can fundamentally improve human health.”

At Harvard, BWF awardees will be researching how humans survive hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola; genetic changes leading to pediatric brain cancer; blood cell formation and atherosclerosis; the influence of gut microbes on human health; and the mechanisms causing DNA damage. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, the BWF awardee is studying the origins of leukemia. At UCSD, the BWF awardee is examining how RNA activates during embryo development. And at UCSF, BWF awardees are peering into the genetic links of mental illness; the molecular peculiarities of autoimmune diseases; sleep and memory formation; why human immune systems tolerate certain skin bacteria; and the role of stem cells in liver health and liver cancer.

The CAMS program provides $700,000 in funding over five years, to help physician-scientists transition into full-time careers as biomedical research scientist and tenured faculty member. Including the 2016 cohort, CAMS have been awarded to 110 physician-scientists over the past 10 years. Learn more about CAMS and see past awardees at www.bwfund.org/cams.  The next deadline is October 3, 2016.

The 2016 CAMS Awardees and their Research Focus
Listed by home institution. 

Harvard Medical School

Jonathan Abraham, M.D., Ph.D. 
Profiling the human antibody response in survivors of viral hemorrhagic fevers

Mariella Gruber Filbin, M.D., Ph.D. 
Discovering novel epigenetic dependencies in pediatric high-grade glioma

Siddhartha Jaiswal, M.D., Ph.D. 
Elaborating the causal link between clonal hematopoiesis and atherosclerosis

Seth Rakoff-Nahoum, M.D., Ph.D. 
Gut microbiota ecological interaction networks in health and disease

Alexander Spektor, M.D., Ph.D. 
The mechanism of DNA damage and chromothripsis from chromosome segregation errors

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Andrew Michael Intlekofer, M.D., Ph.D. 
Investigating L-2-hydroxyglutarate production and its relevance to normal hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis

University of California, San Diego

Heidi Leigh Cook-Andersen, M.D., Ph.D. 
Post-transcriptional gene regulation during the mammalian oocyte-to-embryo transition

University of California, San Francisco

Devanand Sadanand Manoli, M.D., Ph.D. (Clinical Fellow)
Genetic models of social attachment in development and mental illness

Alexander Marson, M.D., Ph.D. 
Molecular characterization of non-coding genetic variants that promote human autoimmunity

Dhakshin Ramanathan, M.D., Ph.D. 
Role of spindle oscillations in modulating neural plasticity and procedural memory consolidation

Tiffany Crawford Scharschmidt, M.D. 
Elucidating mechanisms of immune tolerance to skin commensal bacteria

Bruce Mao Zheng Wang, M.D. 
Wnt signaling and hepatocyte stem cells in liver homeostasis and cancer


The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is a private, independent foundation located in Research Triangle Park, NC. BWF is dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other educational endeavors. Follow on Twitter at @bwfund.

Media Contact: Russ Campbell at 919/667-8866 or news[at] bwfund.org