Endocrine Society members Alison Boyce, MD, and Stephanie Chung, MBBS, are among the five scientists that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) selected for the 2020 Lasker Clinical Research Scholars program, a partnership with the Lasker Foundation that supports the emergence of the next generation of clinician-researchers.
Chief of the Metabolic Bone Disorders Unit, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the NIH, Boyce is working towards a treatment for fibrous dysplasia/McCune-Albright syndrome (FD/MAS), a rare and debilitating skeletal disease that can cause bone fractures, deformity, pain, and loss of ambulation, vision, and hearing. Her research focuses on the role of the RANKL protein, which regulates bone resorption and plays a role in FD pathogenesis.
“I’m really honored and excited for this opportunity. Rare disease research has so much potential to advance health and well-being in this country, but there are a lot of challenges to overcome like small, complex patient populations and competing demands for clinical investigators,” Boyce tells Endocrine News. “At the NIH I have the support and resources to recruit and study patients at the NIH Clinical Center, which is one of the world’s best and largest research hospitals. I also appreciate the wonderful, collaborative environment in the Intramural Research Program. Working in NIDCR with investigators who study complex mineralized tissues, like the teeth and skull, has given me a really valuable and nuanced perspective on bone metabolism. As endocrinologists we’re trained to think about how different systems interact; this makes it especially important for us to collaborate widely with investigators from many disciplines.”
“I am deeply honored and excited to receive the Lasker Clinical Scholar Award. This award represents NIH’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and ongoing dedication to support diabetes and health disparities research.” – Stephanie Chung, MBBS, Lasker Clinical Tenure-Track Investigator, NIH Distinguished Scholar, DEOB, NIDDK, NIH, Bethesda, Md.
Chung is with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and studies the complex association of biological, social, and environmental factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic disease. She focuses on diabetes health disparities in youth and young adults, with the goal to develop improved population-specific screening and therapeutic strategies.
“I am deeply honored and excited to receive the NIH Lasker Clinical Scholar Award. This award represents NIH’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and ongoing dedication to support diabetes and health disparities research,” Chung tells Endocrine News. “This program will buttress my existing NIDDK/Children’s National Hospital clinical metabolic research program, which examines reasons for high treatment failure rates in youth with type 2 diabetes while simultaneously evaluating innovative primary and secondary prevention therapies for cardiometabolic disease.”
“Rare disease research has so much potential to advance health and well-being in this country, but there are a lot of challenges to overcome like small, complex patient populations and competing demands for clinical investigators.” – Alison Boyce, MD, Chief, Metabolic Bone Disorders Unit, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Boyce, NIH, Bethesda, Md.
The Lasker Foundation and the NIH have joined together in an innovative partnership to nurture the next generation of clinician-researchers. This initiative supports early-career medical researchers and helps bridge the widening gap between cutting-edge research and improved patient care. This program provides scholars with five to seven years of support as independent investigators in the NIH Intramural Research Program, followed by the opportunity for additional years of financial support, either at the NIH or at an extramural research institution.