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Doris Duke Foundation Honors 21 Physician Scientists Advancing Insights for Improved Human Health

Jump to full list of awardees and their projects.

The Doris Duke Foundation (DDF) strives to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases by strengthening and supporting clinical research. Through fellowships and multi-year grants, DDF has awarded 21 scientists with a combined $7.92 million in funding that will provide mentored research funding and time protection to early-career physician scientists to advance clinically significant research. In 2023, DDF is celebrating 25 years of supporting physician scientists so they have the time and resources to develop groundbreaking ideas. This year’s grantees join a network of accomplished physicians who have gone on to become leaders in academia, medicine, public health and government.  

“This year’s awardees are addressing critical issues that are impacting the health of patients across the United States and beyond,” said Sindy Escobar Alvarez, director for medical research at the Doris Duke Foundation. “We are proud to support their important contributions, and we cannot wait to see what this group of physician scientists will accomplish.”  

The 21 physician scientists receiving the grants were selected through a rigorous peer review process. Applications were evaluated on significance, as well as research approach and environment. A full list of the awardees and their projects can be found at the bottom of this page.   

Since 1998, DDF has awarded more than $184.5 million in funding to 427 early-career physician scientists whose work is essential to the healthcare ecosystem given their unique position to align research questions with clinical relevance in order to fulfill unmet medical needs. These grants have helped awardees pursue clinical research projects with high potential to improve human health, attain additional research funding, and become leaders in their field.  

About the Doris Duke Foundation 
The Doris Duke Foundation (DDF) supports the well-being of people and the planet for a more creative, equitable and sustainable future. We operate five national programs—in the performing arts, the environment, medical research, child and family well-being, and mutual understanding between communities—as well as Duke Farms and Shangri La, two centers that directly serve the public. Through the Medical Research Program, DDF strives to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease by strengthening and supporting clinical research.

Hermioni Amonoo, M.D., M.P.P., M.P.H., Brigham and Women's Hospital 
Project title: “A Virtual Reality Psychosocial Intervention (BMT-VR) for Patients Undergoing Bone Marrow Transplantation – A Randomized Clinical Trial” 

Deepshikha Ashana, M.D., M.A., M.B.A., Duke University
Project title: “Toward a Trauma-Informed Intensive Care Unit”  

Anand Bhagwat, M.D., Ph.D., Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Project title: “Understanding the Role of Cytokine Release Syndrome in CAR T cell therapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia” 

Christina M. Cruz, M.D., Ed.M., University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Project title: “Teachers Delivering Task-Shifted Mental Health Care to Adolescents in India” 

Jennifer Gill, M.D., Ph.D., UT Southwestern Medical Center
Project Title: “Investigating Human Tumor Metabolism In Vivo to Predict Melanoma Metastasis and Therapy Response”  

Nicole Jiam, M.D., Mass Eye and Ear & Harvard Medical School
Project title: “Age-Specific Cochlear Implant Programming for Optimal Hearing Performance” 

Arya Khosravi, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford Medicine
Project title: “Pf Bacteriophage Promotes Iron Acquisition to Drive Pseudomonas Pathogenesis” 

Sara LaHue, M.D., University of California San Francisco
Project title: “Deciphering Delirium Characteristics, Impact, and Pathophysiology to Optimize Recovery Following Geriatric Trauma (DECIPHER)” 

Melissa Lechner, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles 
Project title: “CD4+ T Follicular and Peripheral Helper Cells as Drivers of Checkpoint Inhibitor-related Autoimmunity” 

Michael Levin, M.D., Penn Medicine 
Project title: “Genetically Informed Targeting of Interleukin-6 Signaling to Treat Peripheral Artery Disease” 

Stephen McCartney, M.D., Ph.D., University of Washington School of Medicine
Project title: "Investigation of Metabolic Factors on Innate Lymphoid Cell Function in Preeclampsia”  

Maria A. Pabon Porras, M.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital
Project title: “Coronary Microvascular Function in Women with History of Preeclampsia and Elevated Anti-angiogenic Markers”  

Jacqueline Parchem, M.D., UTHealth Houston
Project title: "Defining Placental Mechanisms of Preeclampsia" 

Davut Pehlivan, M.D., Baylor College of Medicine
Project title: “Deep Phenotyping and Genomic Studies to Guide Gene-based Therapies in Dosage Sensitive Genomic Disorders” 

Aeron Small, M.D. M.T.R., Brigham and Women's Hospital
Project title: “Genomic Discovery in Calcific Aortic Stenosis” 

Robert Stanley, M.D., Ph.D., Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Project title: “Synthetic Introns for Therapeutic Targeting of Myeloid Blood Cancers” 

Laneshia Tague, M.D., M.S.C.I., Washington University in St. Louis
Project title: “The Role of DNA Damage Response Clonal Hematopoiesis in Immune Aging and Risk of CMV Activation Among Lung Transplant Recipients” 

Kaoru Takasaki, M.D., Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Project title: “Dissecting the Interaction of Trisomy 21, GATA1s and STAG2 Mutations in DS Leukemogenesis” 

Atalie Carina Thompson, M.D., M.P.H., Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Project title: “Development of a Vision Screening and Care Pathway in Frail Older Adults at Risk of Falls” 

Joy Wan, M.D., M.S.C.E., Johns Hopkins University
Project title: “Management of Systemic Therapies in Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis: Generating Evidence for Clinical Practice” 

Sharine Wittkopp, M.D., Ph.D., NYU Langone Health
Project title: “Glycemic and Cardiometabolic Biomarker Improvements Associated with Reduction in Air Pollution Exposure”