Endocrine Society Announces 2021 Early Investigator Award Winners

The Endocrine Society has selected five recipients for its Early Investigators Awards. 

The Early Investigators Awards were established to assist in the development of early career investigators and to recognize their accomplishments in endocrine-related research. 

The Endocrine Society’s 2021 Early Investigators Award winners are: 

  • Himanshu AroraPhDof the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. Arora’s lab focuses on exploring the therapeutic efficacy of immunotherapy against different stages of prostate cancer and using machine learning tools to study the progression of the cancer.  
  • Ana Aulinas, MD, PhDof the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain. Her research focuses on neuroendocrinology, hypothalamic, and pituitary diseases. Aulinas seeks to improve outcomes in patients with pituitary diseases through her research, clinical work, and teaching.  
  • Athanasios Bikas, MD, PhDof Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. Bikas pursued a post-graduate research fellowship in thyroid cancer. He has published several papers in high impact journals like The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and Thyroid.  
  • Juan Brito, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Brito serves as a guideline methodologist for the Endocrine Society’s Clinical Practice Guidelines. He has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts. His research focuses on thyroid cancer and its overtreatment and the use of levothyroxine in the US 
  • Manuel D. Gahete, PhDof the University of Cordoba in Andalusia, Spain. Gahete’s research focuses on identifying novel molecules that could be used as diagnostic, prognostic, and/or therapeutic markers for endocrine cancers and diseases such as obesity and diabetes.  

Arora completed his master’s degree in biotechnology at Devi Ahilya University, Indore India. He was awarded the Korean Government Scholarship for his PhD in molecular biology from the National Institute of International Education [NIIED] and was the recipient of the Brain Korea 21 [BK21] scholarship in 2009-2010 from Seoul National University. Then he was awarded Young Investigator award from Regional center for Biotechnology, DBT, India where he worked on the mechanisms of resistance development in colorectal cancer before moving to CNRS, France, where he spent two years as a postdoc and explored regenerative mechanisms in developmental biology. He joined the University of Miami in 2016 as a postdoc fellow where he explored the role of nitric oxide donors and their anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative effects on tumor microenvironment of castration resistant prostate cancer. In 2019, Arora joined the University of Miami as a faculty and his lab is currently focusing on: 1) Exploring therapeutic efficacy of nitric oxide donors (immunotherapy) against different stages of prostate cancer progression; 2) Using nitric oxide donors in combination with currently available immune checkpoint inhibitors like PD-L1 inhibitors, MIA series compounds, and CSF1R inhibitors; and 3) using machine learning tools to study the progression of prostate cancer and applying this knowledge in building up translational tools that could be used by researchers, clinicians, and patients.

Aulinas received her medical degree from University of Barcelona in 2005. After completing training in endocrinology at Hospital de Sant Pau, a tertiary hospital in Barcelona in 2010, she pursued a PhD in medicine, working with an internationally known clinical research group in Barcelona, focused on pituitary diseases. Her interest in hypothalamic and pituitary diseases started at the beginning of her training in endocrinology, since both the hypothalamus and pituitary gland play key roles in regulating the complex mechanisms involved in the entire endocrine system. Her research focuses on neuroendocrinology, hypothalamic, and pituitary diseases, understanding of pathophysiology and outcomes of patients with pituitary diseases even with treatment, and the physiology of the neurohormone oxytocin and its clinical impact in patients with hypothalamic and pituitary damage presumably at high risk for an oxytocin deficiency state. In 2020, she was appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia. 

Bikas is currently a clinical and research endocrinology fellow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. He obtained his MD and his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Athens. He pursued a postgraduate research fellowship in thyroid cancer under the supervision of Drs. Kenneth Burman, Leonard Wartofsky, and Vasyl Vasko. He pursued both clinical and basic research projects and has several first-author publications in high-impact journals like Thyroid and JCEM. He has received several awards regarding his work on a regional and national level. He completed his medical residency and chief residency at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital before starting his clinical and research fellowship in endocrinology. His future goals include a physician-scientist career in the field of endocrine oncology. 

Brito is an associate professor of medicine, endocrinologist, healthcare delivery researcher, director of the Late-Stage Translational Research in the Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS), medical director of the Mayo Clinic Shared Decision Making National Resource Center, and principal investigator at the Mayo Clinic KER Unit. Brito serves as a guideline methodologist for the Endocrine Society’s clinical practice guidelines and has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts. His research focuses on describing the magnitude of the global epidemic of thyroid cancer diagnosis and its overtreatment; the use of L-thyroxine in the U.S.; current treatment trends for people with Graves’ disease; and the role of shared decision making for patients with thyroid conditions.  

Gahete is associate professor at the University of Córdoba and co-PI of the OncObesity and Metabolism Group (Maimonides Institute for Biomedical Research – IMIBIC). His research is focused on understanding the crosstalk between molecular determinants of certain neuroendocrine systems (somatostatin, ghrelin, growth hormone, IGF-I and, specially, novel splicing variants) and different human pathologies (mainly, endocrine-related cancers and metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes) in order to identify and characterize novel and relevant molecules that could be used as diagnostic, prognostic, and/or therapeutic markers for these diseases. He has received numerous awards and has directed several doctoral theses and under- and postgraduate studies. He is coordinator of the European Neuroendocrinology Association (ENEA) Young Researchers Committee and member of the Endocrine Society’s Global Engagement Advisory Board. 


Recipients received a monetary award, one-year complimentary membership to the Society, one-year complimentary access to the Society’s online journals, and public recognition of research accomplishments in various Society platforms. 

Additional information on this award and the recipients is located on the Society’s website at https://www.endocrine.org/awards/early-investigators-awards.   

The new application cycle opens in September 2021. 

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