The NIH intramural research program has shifted all non-mission-critical laboratory operations to a maintenance phase in order to promote physical distancing and diminished transmission risk of COVID-19. Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, only mission-critical functions within NIH research laboratories will be supported.

Current Lasker Clinical Research Scholars

Hans Ackerman, M.D., D.Phil., M.Sc.

Hans Ackerman, M.D., D.Phil., M.Sc.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Website: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/science/vascular-physiology/people/ackerman-hans

Hans Ackerman became a Lasker Scholar in 2014. He is studying sickle-cell disease and malaria, which share an evolutionary link and many of the same disease-causing mechanisms that underlie vascular dysfunction. He is also studying how naturally occurring genetic differences change nitric-oxide signaling and vasodilation responses in blood-vessel walls. He hopes his work will contribute to the development of drugs that could prevent or treat the vascular complications of sickle-cell disease or malaria. He received his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School (Boston), and his D.Phil. in human genetics and M.Sc. in biological anthropology from the University of Oxford in England. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston); a fellowship in critical-care medicine at the NIH Clinical Center; and a research fellowship at the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He and his wife enjoy raising their three boys.

Christine Campo Alewine M.D., PH.D.

Christine Alewine

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Website: https://irp.nih.gov/pi/christine-alewine

Christine Campo Alewine became a Lasker Scholar in 2016. She is conducting clinical trials to test the effectiveness of a recombinant immunotoxin in combination with standard-of-care chemotherapy in patients who have advanced pancreatic cancer. Recombinant immunotoxins are antibody-based anticancer therapeutics that deliver a potent bacterial toxin to cancer cells; the toxin halts protein synthesis in those cells. Her study may lead to advances in our understanding of whether immunotoxins can be used to treat pancreatic cancer and provide insight into technical aspects of this therapeutic strategy. Alewine received her Ph.D., in physiology, and M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore). She completed a residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore) and a clinical fellowship in medical oncology at NCI’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Her outside activities include tennis, hiking, quilting, being a Girl Scout troop leader, and spending time with her husband and their two daughters.

Andrea Apolo, M.D.

Andrea Apolo, M.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar; Chief, Bladder Cancer Section, Genitourinary Malignancies Branch, National Cancer Institute-Center for Cancer Research

Website: http://irp.nih.gov/pi/andrea-apolo

Andrea Apolo, a 2014 Lasker Scholar, is dedicated to improving the treatment and survival of patients with genitourinary tumors. She is designing and implementing clinical trials to test novel agents for the treatment of urologic cancers. Her primary research interest is in developing targeted bladder-cancer therapies. She is identifying molecular alterations in bladder tumors that will serve as targets for individualized treatment strategies. Another research interest is in developing new imaging modalities to improve the detection of bladder and prostate tumors. She received her M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York); did a residency in internal medicine at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center (New York); and completed a fellowship in medical oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York). Her outside interests include running and spending time with her family.

Rebecca J. Brown, M.D., M.H.Sc.

Rebecca J. Brown, M.D., M.H.Sc.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases

Website: http://irp.nih.gov/pi/rebecca-brown

Rebecca Brown, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2015, is studying the physiologic mechanisms by which the adipokine leptin alters insulin resistance and energy metabolism both dependent on and independent of its effects on food intake. She focuses on patients with rare, often monogenic disorders of extreme insulin resistance such as lipodystrophy or mutations of the insulin receptor. She applies what she learns toward the development of therapeutics for these rare diseases and is elucidating pathways that may serve as drug targets for more common disorders of insulin resistance. She received her M.D. degree from Mayo Medical School (Rochester, Minnesota) and her M.H.Sc. in clinical research from Duke University (Durham, North Carolina). She was a medical student in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health; did a residency in pediatrics at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital (Cleveland); was a clinical fellow in pediatric endocrinology at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; and a senior fellow in clinical research in NIDDK. Before becoming a Lasker Scholar she was an assistant clinical investigator in NIDDK. Having recently become a mother, she spends a lot of time enjoying the ups and downs of parenthood and family life.

Catherine Ann Cukras, M.D., Ph.D.

Catherine Ann Cukras, M.D., Ph.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, Clinical Trials Branch, National Eye Institute

Website: https://nei.nih.gov/eyeclinic/about/cukras

Catherine Ann Cukras, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2018, is excited that her research is furthering progress on the treatment and prevention of blindness. In particular, she uses multidisciplinary approaches to understand the patterns of photoreceptor dysfunction and degeneration in retinal degenerative disease and to design and implement interventional clinical trials. After receiving her M.D.-Ph.D. from Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri), she did an internship at Presbyterian Hospital (Philadelphia), a residency in ophthalmology at the Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), and a Medical Retina Clinical Fellowship at the National Eye Institute. “The NIH is like family,” she said. “I am lucky to be able to be part of an environment that fulfills me and enriches me as a person.” Outside of work, she loves spending time with her husband, three children, and a puppy.

John P. Dekker, M.D., Ph.D.

John P. Dekker, M.D., Ph.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Chief, Bacterial Pathogenesis and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit, Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Director, Genomics Section, Microbiology Service, Department of Laboratory Medicine, NIH Clinical Center

Website: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/john-p-dekker-md-phd-fcap

John Dekker, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2018, focuses on the evolution of bacterial pathogens, their mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, and host-pathogen interactions. He addresses these questions using a variety of computational biology approaches—such as genomic sequencing, transcriptional profiling, proteomic studies with mass spectrometry, and in vitro adaptive-evolution experiments. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University (Boston) and M.D. from Harvard Medical School (Boston) and did a residency in pathology and a fellowship in medical microbiology at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston). When he’s not working, he enjoys reading, visiting museums, eating, and spending time with his wife and their horse.

Sean Agbor-Enoh, M.D., Ph.D.

Sean Agbor-Enoh, M.D., Ph.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Laboratory of Applied Precision Omics, National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute

Website: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/science/applied-precision-omics/people/agbor-sean 

Sean Agbor-Enoh, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2019, is developing genomic methods for the early detection and treatment of lung-transplant rejection. His method—which can detect rejection two to three months earlier than the current invasive process of taking a lung-tissue biopsy after rejection has begun—involves a simple blood test that measures cell-free DNA in the bloodstream. “My hope is to bring innovative and cutting-edge approaches to improve survival after lung transplantation,” he said. He received his M.D. from the University of Yaoundé (Yaoundé, Cameroon) and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.). He did a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgetown University Medical Center; a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (Baltimore); a fellowship in critical care medicine at the NIH Clinical Center; and a fellowship in pulmonary medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore). Outside of work he loves to explore nature’s treasures with his wife and four children, who range in age from 2 to 17.

Courtney Fitzhugh, M.D.

Courtney Fitzhugh

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Sickle Cell Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Website: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/research/intramural/researchers/pi/fitzhugh-courtney​

Courtney Fitzhugh, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2016, is seeking to improve—and develop new—treatment options to achieve a cure for sickle-cell disease (SCD). Although matched-sibling bone-marrow transplantation offers the best treatment for people with SCD, only 15 to 20 percent of these patients have a complete sibling match. More than 90 percent have at least a half-match such as a parent, child, or half-matched siblings. Fitzhugh is developing an alternative option that involves such haploidentical donors. Her goal is to develop a widely available, successful half-matched transplant regimen. She received her M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine; did a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center (Durham, North Carolina); and a combined fellowship in adult hematology and pediatric hematology/oncology, at NIH and Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore). In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, playing board games, and watching movies.

Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska, M.D., Ph.D., M.H.Sc.

Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska, M.D., Ph.D., M.H.Sc.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar and Acting Section Chief, Thyroid Tumors and Functional Thyroid Disorders, Metabolic Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Website: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/about-niddk/staff-directory/biography/klubo-gwiezdzinska-joanna

Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2019, focuses on clinical and translational studies to find optimal options for the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. Her work includes identifying the genetic background of thyroid tumors, novel molecular targets for therapy of thyroid cancer, and a comprehensive analysis of cross-talk between cancer signaling pathways and metabolism. Her lab discovered the antidiabetes drug metformin can slow the growth of thyroid tumors and other cancers that express high amounts of a certain protein in the mitochondria. She received an M.H.Sc. from Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) and an M.D. and Ph.D. in endocrinology and thyroid cancer from Collegium Medicum, Nicolaus Copernicus University (Torun, Poland). She completed a residency in internal medicine and endocrinology at Nicolaus Copernicus University Hospital (Bydgoszcz, Poland); a postdoctoral fellowship in thyroid cancer at Georgetown University–Medstar Research Institute (Washington D.C.); a residency in internal medicine at Washington Hospital Center–Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.); and a clinical fellowship in endocrinology at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Outside of work, she enjoys going to the opera in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; enjoying family time with her husband and son, particularly walking their dog together; and reading inspiring biographies.

Paule V. Joseph, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.P., M.S.

Paule V. Joseph, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.P., M.S.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar and NIH Distinguished Scholar, Sensory Science and Metabolism Unit, Biobehavioral Branch, National Institute of Nursing Research; joint appointment at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Website: https://irp.nih.gov/pi/paule-joseph

Paule V. Joseph, a 2019 Lasker Scholar, is conducting preclinical, clinical, and translational studies to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and management of chemosensory disorders and symptoms—in chronic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes—by examining the role that smell and taste play in those conditions. She is also exploring how the neurological mechanisms underlying taste and smell might be different in individuals with alcohol and substance-use disorders. “The opportunities [at NIH]—especially as an underrepresented minority in science—are unparalleled,” she said. “For a junior scientist like me to be able to collaborate with people like Kevin Hall [a pioneer in metabolism research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases], Nora Volkow [director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and world pioneer in neuroimaging in addiction], and Gary Gibbons [Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and world-renowned expert in cardiovascular disease], it’s a dream come true.” After receiving her M.S. as a family nurse practitioner from Pace University (New York) and a Ph.D. in nursing and genomics from the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), Joseph did a postdoctoral fellowship in NINR. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her parents and her younger sister and doing humanitarian work around the world.

Christopher G. Kanakry, M.D.

Christopher G. Kanakry, M.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Website: https://irp.nih.gov/pi/christopher-kanakry

Christopher Kanakry, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2018, strives to improve outcomes for people in need of allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplants to treat certain cancers or other severe diseases of the blood or bone marrow. In particular, he is trying to better understand the mechanisms by which the drug cyclophosphamide prevents graft-versus host disease (GVHD), a major complication of allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplantation. He hopes to translate his work to allow the development of new strategies that will decrease the incidence and severity of GVHD and infectious complications, improve reconstitution of the immune system, and better prevent and treat malignancy relapse post-transplant. He received his M.D. from the Duke University School of Medicine (Durham, North Carolina) and trained at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore) doing a residency in internal medicine and fellowships in medical oncology and in hematology. His non-work activities include spending time with his wife and two young children, singing with the City Choir of Washington, swimming, and teaching Sunday School.

Beth Kozel, M.D., Ph.D.

Beth Kozel, M.D., Ph.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Laboratory of Vascular and Matrix Genetics, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Website: http://irp.nih.gov/pi/beth-kozel

Beth Kozel, a 2015 Lasker Scholar, is doing research to understand the person-to-person variability in rare cardiovascular disorders such as Williams syndrome (WS), a multigene deletion disorder characterized by cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, deficits in visuospatial processing, and a striking overly friendly personality. Everyone with WS has an insufficiency in the elastin gene, but not everyone has significant vascular manifestations. Modeling genetic and environmental pathways in mice has allowed her team to target therapies that improve the vascular phenotype. She is also looking at the impact of vascular flow abnormalities on end-organ perfusion and function in this population. In addition to the WS work, the Kozel laboratory collaborates with other groups to discover the genes and mechanisms responsible for new vascular disorders. Kozel earned her M.D. and Ph.D. from the Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis); did a residency in pediatrics at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and residency in clinical genetics at Washington University School of Medicine – St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Before coming to NIH she was an assistant professor of pediatrics, Genetics and Genomic Medicine at Washington University and is an adjunct assistant professor there now. Outside of work, she and her husband keep busy with their four children and on some weekends, enjoy exploring the area.

Jung-Min Lee, M.D.

Jung-Min Lee

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Women’s Malignancies Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Website: https://ccr.cancer.gov/Womens-Malignancies-Branch/jung-min-lee​

Jung-Min Lee, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2016, is conducting clinical and translational research to study the clinical activity and biomarkers of new immune-based DNA injury combination therapies in women who have recurrent ovarian cancer. Her research is focused on cancers that share similar molecular abnormalities: BRCA mutation-associated breast or ovarian cancer, high-grade epithelial ovarian cancer, and triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Lee’s clinical trial is the first to test the modulation of immune-checkpoint activity by increasing the antigenic microenvironment with active targeted therapy. The project may have a profound impact on the near- and long-term outcomes of women with recurrent ovarian cancer. Lee earned her M.D. from Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine (Wonju City, South Korea). She did a residency in internal medicine at Holy Family Hospital, Catholic University Medical College (Seoul, South Korea); a research fellowship in pathology and cell biology at Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia); a residency in internal medicine at the Albert Einstein Medical College (New York); a clinical research fellowship on breast-cancer functional imaging at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York); and a medical oncology/hematology fellowship in NCI’s Medical Oncology Branch. Outside of work, she loves going to museums, traveling, swimming, and meditating.

Frank I. Lin, M.D.

Frank Lin

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar and Chief, Targeted Radionuclide Therapy Section, Molecular Imaging Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Website: https://ccr.cancer.gov/molecular-imaging-program/frank-i-lin

Frank Lin, who joined the Lasker Scholars program in 2016, is using targeted radionuclide therapy (tRNT) to treat cancer. Unlike conventional external-beam radiation therapy, tRNT can target and treat cancer cells throughout the entire body and has the potential to deliver lethal radiation doses to even micro-metastases. He works with pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma, mesothelioma, and prostate cancer, but tRNT can be used to treat other malignancies, too. Lin hopes to demonstrate that tRNT can be used to treat a variety of malignancies including cancers that are highly resistant to other forms of therapy. He received his M.S. in medical informatics from the University of Utah (Salt Lake City) and his M.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee). He did an internal medicine residency at Kaiser Permanente (San Francisco) a nuclear-medicine residency at the University of California, Davis (Sacramento, California); and was a PET/CT fellow at Stanford University (Stanford, California). Lin is also training to become a board-certified medical oncologist through NCI’s Medical Oncology Fellowship Program. His outside interests include going to museums, parks, nature centers, and playgrounds with his wife and their two daughters.

Falk Lohoff, M.D.

Falk Lohoff, M.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar; Chief, Section on Clinical Genomics and Experimental Therapeutics, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Website: http://irp.nih.gov/pi/falk-lohoff

Falk Lohoff, one of the 2014 Lasker Scholars, conducts pre-clinical and translational clinical studies with a focus on genomics and epigenetics related to the pathophysiology and treatment of alcohol-use disorders and addictions. In his pre-clinical work, which involves identifying molecular mechanisms involved in addictions, he uses methods such as human population genetics, genome-wide genotyping approaches, next-generation DNA and RNA sequencing, and epigenetic/proteomic profiling. For his clinical studies, he uses molecular biomarker, pharmacogenetic, epigenetic and functional imaging genetic approaches to translate his findings. He is leading early phase 1 and phase 2 proof-of-concept clinical trials using experimental novel therapeutics guided by molecular biomarker profiling. He received his medical degree from the Humboldt University of Berlin (Berlin) and completed residency training in psychiatry and a fellowship in neuropsychopharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). Before coming to NIH, he was an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. His outside interests include music, the arts, fencing, and working out.

Jonathan J. Lyons, M.D.

Jonathan J. Lyons, M.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar and Chief, Translational Allergic Immunopathology Unit, Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Website: https://irp.nih.gov/pi/jonathan-lyons

Jonathan Lyons became a Lasker Scholar in 2018 and has helped in the discovery of many single-gene disorders that lead to severe allergic diseases or reactions. He is using human immunogenetics to gain a better understanding of the immunopathogenesis of allergic reactions and is exploring novel interventional approaches for the treatment and prevention of severe allergic reactivity and anaphylaxis. He received his M.D. from the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; did a residency in internal medicine (and served as chief resident) at the University of California at San Diego; and was a clinical fellow in allergy and immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Outside of work, he likes to spend time with his family, go grocery shopping with his three-year-old son, plan meals, and cook.

Sonja W. Scholz, M.D., Ph.D.

Sonja W. Scholz, M.D., Ph.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar and Chief, Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Unit, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Website: https://irp.nih.gov/pi/sonja-scholz

Sonja Scholz became a Lasker Scholar in 2018 and is helping to unravel the genetic causes of complex neurodegenerative diseases such as Lewy body dementia, multiple-system atrophy, and related Parkinsonism syndromes. She hopes to advance the understanding of these conditions, improve diagnostic accuracy and targeted treatments, and incorporate genetic knowledge into routine clinical assessments. She received her M.D. from the Medical University of Innsbruck (Innsbruck, Austria) and her Ph.D. in neurogenetics from the University College London, Queen Square Institute of Neurology (London). She completed a residency in adult neurology at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center (Baltimore); did a postdoctoral fellowship in neurogenetics at the National Institute of Aging; and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.). In her spare time, she likes to relax with a good book in the company of her two cats, Bill and Hillary.

H. Nida Sen, M.D., M.H.S.

H. Nida Sen, M.D., M.H.S.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Head, Unit on Clinical Translational Immunology, Laboratory of Immunology, National Eye Institute

Website: https://nei.nih.gov/eyeclinic/about/sen

H. Nida Sen became a Lasker Scholar in 2018. She is developing biomarkers, and novel therapeutic approaches in an effort to better understand and treat uveitis, an immune-mediated eye disease which is an important cause of blindness. She hopes to achieve this goal by investigating molecular signatures of clinical phenotypes of uveitis as well as the role of the gut microbiome in uveitis patients from both a mechanistic and biomarker perspective. She received her M.D. from Hacettepe University Medical School (Ankara, Turkey) and an M.H.S. from Duke University (Durham, North Carolina). She did a residency in ophthalmology at the Ankara Training and Research Hospital (Ankara, Turkey); a residency in ophthalmology at George Washington University (Washington, D.C.); and a clinical fellowship in uveitis and ocular immunology at the National Eye Institute. When she’s not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and cooking.

Natalie D. Shaw, M.D. M.M.Sc. (2015)

Natalie D. Shaw, M.D. M.M.Sc.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Clinical Research Branch/Pediatric Neuroendocrinology Group, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Website: http://irp.nih.gov/pi/natalie-shaw

A 2015 Lasker Scholar, Natalie Shaw is interested in determining the physiologic and pathophysiologic underpinnings of irregular menstrual cycles among adolescent girls. Although irregular menstrual cycles are a common part of female development, a subset of teens never make the critical transition to normal menstrual cycles. By investigating the mechanisms underlying irregular cycles after the first menses, including potential genetic and environmental contributors (such as body weight and sleep structure and duration), she hopes to identify girls at high risk for future hormonal and metabolic complications who deserve early treatment. Shaw received her M.D. from the University at Buffalo State University of New York Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (Buffalo, New York) and her M.M.Sc. from Harvard Medical School (Boston). She then did a residency in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh); a clinical fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Children’s Hospital Boston (Boston); and a research fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston). Before coming to the NIH, she was an assistant professor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician in pediatric endocrinology at Children’s Hospital Boston. Outside of work, Shaw considers herself a fitness buff (running, playing soccer, cycling, practicing yoga, and enjoying Zumba), and she loves to travel and spend time with her husband and their 2-year-old daughter.

Nirali N. Shah, M.D., M.H.Sc.

Nirali N. Shah, M.D., M.H.Sc.,

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Website: https://irp.nih.gov/pi/nirali-shah

Nirali N. Shah, who is a 2019 Lasker Scholar, is testing novel immunotherapeutic approaches to treat high-risk hematologic malignancies in children, adolescents, and young adults. Her research focuses on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell-based strategies and other antibody-based therapies. She leads clinical trials to treat relapsed and refractory pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia; serves as an associate investigator on several transplant trials with patients who have primary immunodeficiency; and, in collaboration with investigators in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is leading an effort on transplantation for children with DOCK8 immunodeficiency syndrome. She received her M.H.Sc. in clinical research from Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)–National Institutes of Health and her M.D. from the University of Illinois, College of Medicine (Chicago). She did an internal medicine residency at Harvard Combined Internal Medicine–Pediatrics Residency Program (Boston); was a fellow in pediatric hematology-oncology at the joint National Cancer Institute–Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore) training program; and served as clinical fellow and staff clinician in NCI’s Pediatric Oncology Branch. Outside of work, she is kept busy with three children ages 4 to 11—balancing work, homework, after-school activities, and “having a bossy baby make us all sing Frozen songs.”

John (Jack) Frederick Shern, M.D.

John (Jack) Frederick Shern, M.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Website: https://irp.nih.gov/pi/jack-shern

Jack Shern, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2018, is defining the biology, genetics, and epigenetics of pediatric sarcomas, namely rhabdomyosarcoma and malignant peripheral nerve–sheath tumors. He hopes to develop novel therapies and sequencing assays that can be incorporated into diagnostic and prognostic clinical care; determine the genetic mechanisms of tumor resistance; and be able to therapeutically target epigenetic vulnerabilities in pediatric sarcomas. He received his M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia (Augusta, Georgia) and did a residency in pediatrics, University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital (Chicago). He also completed a combined fellowship in the pediatric hematology and oncology training program at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) and the National Cancer Institute. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his wife, four-year-old daughter, and friends; and also enjoys gardening, biking, and traveling.

David Takeda, M.D., Ph.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Laboratory of Genitourinary Cancer Pathogenesis, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Website: https://irp.nih.gov/pi/david-takeda

David Takeda, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2019, uses functional genomic approaches to advance the understanding of prostate cancer in order to provide new insights into potential therapies. He is interested in how prostate cancer becomes resistant to therapy. Using a combination of functional genome editing and epigenomic profiling, his lab recently described an enhancer of the androgen receptor that is activated and amplified in 80% of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancers. He earned an M.M.Sc. in biomedical informatics, an M.D., and a Ph.D. in medicine and experimental pathology from Harvard Medical School (Boston). He did a residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston) and a hematology-oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston). NIH is “one of the few places where they encourage and support you to come do high-risk, high-impact projects,” he said. “I think being able to invest in something like that really attracted me and the fact that the [NIH Clinical Center] is entirely dedicated to research.” Outside activities include following Boston sports (when he lived in Boston); now he’s on the lookout for new hobbies.

Anish Thomas, M.B.B.S., M.D.

  Anish Thomas, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Developmental Therapeutics Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Website: https://www.irp.nih.gov/pi/anish-thomas

Anish Thomas, a medical oncologist with a focus on clinical and translational research of small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), became a Lasker Scholar in 2017. His goal is to systematically develop more effective therapies for patients with SCLC and similar chemotherapy-refractory tumors by targeting key pathways involved in DNA replication, repair, and chromatin remodeling. His current work builds on more than six years of experience in clinical research of thoracic cancers. Thomas received his M.B.B.S. and M.D. from St. John’s Medical College (Bangalore, India). He completed an internal medicine residency at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University (Syracuse, N.Y.); and did fellowships in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute and in hematology at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and four children.

Jing Wu, M.D., Ph.D.

Jing Wu, M.D., Ph.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Neuro-Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Website: ttps://irp.nih.gov/pi/jing-wu

Jing Wu, who became a Lasker Scholar in 2018, finds it rewarding to know that her research into primary brain tumors may bring hope to patients and help relieve their suffering. In particular, she focuses on gliomas with mutations in the IDH gene, which is linked to longer survival regardless of the cancer’s stage at diagnosis. She has developed clinical trials to test combined therapies in recurrent glioblastomas, which are more aggressive than IDH-mutant gliomas. She received her M.D. from Capital Medical University (Beijing, China) and her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston, Texas). She did a residency in neurology (including as chief resident) at the University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston); a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at the University of Texas Medical Branch; and a clinical neuro-oncology fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston). Outside of work, she likes to read and spend time with her family and her cats.

For more information on the Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program

This page last reviewed on May 18, 2020