Skip to main content

Return to Previous Page

DDCF Announces Winners of the 2020 Clinical Scientist Development Awards

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Grants More Than $8.4 Million to 17 Early-Career Physician Scientists Pursuing Independent Clinical Research Careers

New York, July 16, 2020 – Today, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced the 17 physician scientists who are each receiving a 2020 Clinical Scientist Development Award of $495,000 over three years. A panel of distinguished experts in the medical field chose these physician scientists from a pool of 208 applicants through a thorough, multistage review process.

“We are thrilled to announce our support of these physician scientists and their important medical research at a crucial stage in their careers,” said Betsy Myers, program director for medical research at DDCF. “The insights they bring to clinical research from their direct interactions with patients are indispensable to the field. We look forward to seeing both how their careers develop over the long term and their research contributes to improvements in human health.”

The Clinical Scientist Development Award (CSDA) funds physician scientists who are at the early stages of their profession to help them transition to independent research careers. Faced with the competing demands of both caring for patients and conducting research, physician scientists often experience a more challenging transition to an independent research career than other researchers. Through this award, these critical contributors to the field are able to protect and dedicate 75% of their professional time towards clinical research. Since 1998, the foundation has awarded more than $152 million in Clinical Scientist Development Awards.

This marks the fourth year in a row that the CSDA has received applications from roughly the same number of men and women following a 2015 internal effort to achieve a more gender-neutral selection process. The final recipient pool of grantees is also composed of a roughly equal number of women and men, with approximately 10% of applicants of both genders receiving awards.

The research projects of the 2020 CSDA grantees span a wide range of pivotal health issues, addressing problems in fields such as neurology, cardiology and endocrinology. Due to the differing regional impacts of Covid-19, some of these grants will have deferred start dates. A list of the 2020 Clinical Scientist Development Award grantees and their research project topics begins on page two.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, child well-being and medical research, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The foundation’s Medical Research Program supports clinical research that advances the translation of biomedical discoveries into new preventions, diagnoses and treatments for human diseases. To learn more about the program, visit


Oyebimpe O. Adesina, MD, MS
University of Washington School of Medicine
Project name: A Feasibility Study of Alendronate as Treatment for Femoral Head Osteonecrosis in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease

Nicole G. Coufal, MD, PhD
University of California San Diego
Project name: Deciphering the Pathogenesis of Neurodegeneration in Histiocytosis

Justin B. Echouffo Tcheugui, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins University
Project name: Effects of Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter (SGLT)-2 Inhibition on Energy Metabolism and Function of the Failing Human Heart

David B. Frank, MD, PhD
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Project name: Unraveling Heterogeneity and Novel Therapies for Rare Pediatric Lung Disease

Christa W. Habela, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins University
Project name: Using Human Neurons, in Vitro, to Investigate Novel Mechanisms of Altered Brain Excitability in Patients with Epilepsy Susceptibility due to Deletion of the 15q11.2 Locus

Forum Kamdar, MD, PhD
University of Minnesota
Project name: Unlocking the Role of Cardiac Calcium Pump Dysregulation in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Cardiomyopathy

Kenneth L. Kehl, MD, MPH
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Project name: Deep Natural Language Processing to Accelerate Cancer Research using Electronic Health Records

Michael D. Kornberg, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins University
Project name: Pharmacologic and Dietary Approaches for Targeting Metabolism in Autoimmune Disease

Andrew P. Landstrom, MD, PhD
Duke University
Project name: Targeting Wnt-Signaling to Prevent Sudden Death in Pediatric Arrhythmic Cardiomyopathy

Aaron S. Leong, MD, MSc
Massachusetts General Hospital
Project name: Hemoglobin A1c Genetics for Precision Diagnosis and Care of Patients with Diabetes

David Liu, MD, MPH
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Project name: Dissecting Tumor and Immune Evolution in Stage III Melanoma

Sam Payabvash, MD
Yale University
Project name: An Automated Deep Learning Pipeline for Identification of Hemorrhagic Stroke Patients at Risk of Hematoma Expansion

Mira M. Sachdeva, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins University
Project name: Longitudinal Profiling of Retinal Neurovascular Abnormalities and Molecular Biomarkers in Prediabetes and Early Diabetes: Establishing Novel Paradigms for Diabetic Retinopathy

Rashmee U. Shah, MD, MS
University of Utah Health
Project name: Artificial Intelligence to Explore the Role of Blood Pressure in Outcomes among Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

Srinivas R. Viswanathan, MD, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Project name: Defining the Molecular Landscape and Therapeutic Targets in Translocation Renal Cell Carcinoma

Susan P. Wong, MD, MS
University of Washington School of Medicine
Project name: Promoting Goal Concordant Care among Patients with Advanced Kidney Disease

Rebecca Zash, MD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Project name: Adverse Cardiometabolic Impact of Antiretroviral Treatment Regimens among Pregnant and Post-Partum Women and their Infants


Kristin Roth-Schrefer, Communications Director / 212.974.7003

Delaney Dryfoos, Communications Assistant / 212.974.7006