Nominations open for the 2024 ASCI / Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award

Nominations for the ASCI’s 2024 ASCI / Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award are now open.

This prestigious recognition, first called the ASCI Award, was renamed in 2006 in honor of Dr. Korsmeyer, the first recipient of the Award in 1998, who passed away in 2005. The Award recognizes individuals for their advancement of knowledge in a specific field and for mentoring future generations of life science researchers. Information on all past honorees is available here.

Current Active and International ASCI members are eligible for nomination. Prior nominees who remain eligible may be re-nominated. However, current ASCI Council members and prior Award recipients may not be nominated.

The deadline for receipt of nominations is October 25, 2023, at 11:59 pm Eastern. Nominations will be screened to ensure they are complete and fit the nomination criteria. The Council reviews nominations, with the outcome of review expected toward the end of November 2023.


  • may be any ASCI member in good standing, including members of the Council, and
  • must provide a statement (250-word limit) regarding the nominee.


  • must currently be an Active or International member;
  • must provide a biosketch, full curriculum vitae, and a trainee table; and
  • must complete the ASCI’s demographic survey.

To start a nomination:

Nominations may be started by the nominator or the nominee:

  • Access your member account
  • Go to the “Activities / nominations” tab
  • Go to the section for “ASCI / Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award”


For the nominator:

  • Select “I’m the nominator” option
  • Search for your nominee
  • Click on “Create nomination”
  • If the nominee has not already claimed her/his part of the nomination, click on “Send nominee information to access the nominee’s part of the nomination” to send the nominee an email to access and edit her/his aspect of the nomination (see above).
  • Supply the required information (see above)
  • Submit this aspect of the nomination

For the nominee:

  • Select “I’m the nominee” option
  • Supply the required information (see above)
  • Submit this aspect of the nomination

Nominations open for the 2024 Seldin~Smith Award for Pioneering Research

The ASCI is pleased to call for nominations for the 2024 Seldin~Smith Award for Pioneering Research. The annual award, accompanied by an unrestricted $30,000 grant to advance academic efforts, honors an early-career physician-scientist who has demonstrated exceptional creativity and accomplishments in biomedical research (see past recipients).

The deadline for receipt of nominations is October 31, at 11:59 pm Eastern.

The nominee:

  • Must be an MD (or the equivalent);
  • Must be more than 2 years but not more than 6 years from first faculty (or the equivalent) appointment as of April 2024;
  • Spends substantial time in research while providing direct patient care.

A nomination must be started by the nominator, who then notifies the nominee to complete her/his part of the nomination. The nominee identifies the supporter of the nomination and notifies that person through the submission site to complete her/his support form.

Nominations will be screened to ensure they are complete and fit the nomination criteria. The Seldin~Smith Award Selection Committee reviews nominations and provides recommendations to the Seldin~Smith Award Advisory Committee to determine the recipient.

The nominator must be an ASCI member in good standing and must start the nomination:

  • Access your member account
  • Go to the “Nominations” tab, then to the “ASCI / Seldin~Smith Award for Pioneering Research” section
  • Select “I’m the nominator” option
  • Search for your nominee:
    • If found, click on “Create nomination”
    • If no result is found, provide and save the requested information (first name, last name, and email address), then click on “Create nomination” for the newly created nominee in the “Results” section
  • At the top of the nomination form, click on “Send access notification to the nominee at: <email>”
  • Provide a 500-word limit statement on the nominee’s most significant achievement
  • Submit the statement, which can be done regardless of whether the nominee’s part of the nomination is completed

The nominee receives an email with information to access her/his part of the nomination and then must:

  • Provide a birth date and address information
  • Provide a summary (100-word limit) of her/his research, followed by a notation of the percentage of time devoted to direct patient care
  • Provide detail of:
    • Degrees obtained
    • Year of first faculty or equivalent appointment
    • Current institutional affiliation
  • Upload:
    • Current NIH-style biosketch
    • Three significant publications, each with an annotation (100-word limit)
  • Identify the nomination’s supporter and sends notification to the supporter to access her/his support form
  • Complete a demographic profile
  • Submit this aspect of the nomination, which can be done regardless of whether the nominator or supporter has completed her/his statement

The supporter:

  • Does not need to be an ASCI member
  • Must be identified and notified by the nominee
  • Provides a statement (500-word limit) of the nominee’s research contributions (the statement should be distinct from that of the nominator)


On health equity in the physician-scientist workforce

Sherita Hill Golden, MD, MHS
Dr. Golden

The US Supreme Court’s recent decision to eliminate affirmative action in college admissions has begun a process of dismantling decades of progress toward creating a more equitable society. The long-term effects of these decisions will be a country that’s more polarized and more divided, and at the same time less healthy. Attracting diverse candidates to the physician-scientist workforce and ensuring their career longevity will become even harder. In turn, science and medicine that does not represent the perspectives, expertise, and creativity of our diverse population won’t as readily identify health and health-care disparities or develop innovative solutions to achieve health equity.

The jeopardy to those who are minoritized or marginalized is real. It’s a sad moment in which we find ourselves: although legal precedent — while diminished — would suggest continued equitable access and consideration, those who have been systematically disenfranchised face increased obstacles in light of the rulings.

We must all continue to advocate for justice and speak up for equity in whatever sphere we find ourselves. As the 2023–2025 Chair of the ASCI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC), I’m proud of the many initiatives we’ve seen through since the Committee’s creation in October 2020. I’ll continue to work with our enthusiastic Committee members and the ASCI Council to ensure that the Society is truly representative.

Expanding on the ASCI’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, I’m pleased to announce the ASCI’s Postbac Program. Ben Humphreys, the ASCI’s 2023–2024 President, conceived the program, and the ASCI Council enthusiastically approved initial funds to ensure its success while we seek philanthropic support to expand the initiative.

The program provides an intensive two-year mentored laboratory research experience for underrepresented in medicine and science (UiMS) post-baccalaureate students that will expose them to the physician-scientist career path, strengthen their applications to MD or MD/PhD programs, and enhance their career development. We have opened submissions for member host labs (see below) and in mid-September will call for applications to the program. We look forward to your engagement in this important effort.

Sherita Hill Golden, MD, MHS
On behalf of the DEIC and the ASCI Council

Call for host lab submissions

As part of the ASCI’s new Postbac Program, the ASCI is pleased to call for submissions from Society members who are interested in their labs serving as hosts for Program finalists for 2024–2026. Any member can provide a submission, provided dues are current (if applicable). The deadline for submissions is September 29, 2023, 11:59 pm Eastern.

Call for submissions: ASCI member host labs, 2024–2026

As part of the ASCI’s new Postbac Program, the ASCI is pleased to call for submissions from Society members who are interested in their labs serving as hosts for Program finalists for 2024–2026.

Any member can provide a submission by:

The deadline for submissions is October 10, 2023, 11:59 pm Eastern (extended from September 29).

Submissions consist of the following sections:

  • Your information
    • Your institution
    • Your trainee table (PDF upload); indicate UiMS mentees and if support was from a diversity supplement
  • About your lab
    • Lab website
    • Lab description and environment (500-word limit). Provide detail on mentoring awards, motivation for applying, and mentorship plan (what presentation will be expected, feedback provided, and participation).
    • Lab member who would be assigned for day-to-day mentoring of the postbac (name, position)
    • Assignee’s biosketch (PDF upload)
  • Institutional resources
    • Provide detail on aspects such as the requisite amount of bench/desk space in lab, faculty member to work with student on medical-school essay, institutional career development, and educational and networking opportunities.
    • Institutional stipend levels. The ASCI expects stipends to fall within the ranges of the NIH post-bac IRTA program, with the understanding that the cost of living ranges widely depending on location. Provide information for 2024–2025 and 2025–2026.
    • Indicate if you are able to supplement beyond your institution’s stipend amounts or beyond the ASCI’s maximum grant of $55,000 ($50,000 direct; $5,000 indirect).
  • Potential applicant (optional). Provide name and email address for a student who would be a suitable applicant for this program.

Call for applications, JCI Insight Editor, 2024–2029

The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) invites applications for the position of Editor of JCI Insight. Founded in 2016, JCI Insight supports the ASCI’s mission of publishing high-quality biomedical research, with an emphasis on clinically relevant basic and translational research.  The ASCI seeks a dynamic Editor to lead a team of academic editors. The Editor should sustain the existing publication volume and provide a vision for attracting well-executed studies of interest from a range of disciplines and investigators at all career stages.

JCI Insight and the JCI are both governed by ASCI policies; however, each journal’s Editor and board are independent from each other. JCI Insight draws direct submissions and transfers from the JCI. The journal is online only, fully open access, and is supported by publication fees.

Duties of the Editor

The Editor is responsible for determining the scientific scope and content of JCI Insight; ensuring the quality and integrity of publications; assembling and leading an Editorial Board to handle research submissions; and meeting goals set by the Council and Publications Committee. The selected candidate will have responsibilities that include service on the ASCI Council. The term of office is 5 years and begins September 1, 2024.

Strategic Focus

The Editor in Chief must provide a clear vision for the future scientific development of JCI Insight, with a particular emphasis on how the journal can expand its portfolio of research publications, including scientific topics that may be underserved in other journals or in JCI Insight currently. The successful applicant should also articulate a vision for attracting high quality submissions to the journal, including any efforts for outreach to early career scientists. The Editor in Chief works in collaboration with the Editorial Board, JCI Insight’s professional editors, the ASCI publishing staff, and the ASCI Publications Committee to set priorities for the journal.

Eligibility of the Editor and Editorial Board

To be considered for the position of Editor, a candidate must:

  • be a member of the ASCI
  • demonstrate a strong scientific track record

For the proposed Editorial Board:

  • At least two-thirds must be ASCI members (active or senior) in good standing
  • Multi-institution applications are encouraged

Application timeline

  • September 15, 2023: Letters of intent (LOI) due. The LOI need only state the applicant’s intention to submit a full application, no further information is required at this stage. Applicants submitting LOI will receive an operational overview of the ASCI and JCI Insight for use in developing full applications.
  • January 8, 2024: Full applications due.
  • March 4, 2024: Finalists for the Editor position determined.
  • April 4, 2024: Editor Selection Committee interviews (in Chicago).

Full application requirements

Application materials should be completed by the proposed Editor. A single PDF should be supplied with the following sections in order:

Section 1: Application statement, not to exceed 5 single-spaced pages in 11-point font, detailing the following:

  • Describe your vision for the scientific scope of manuscripts published in the Journal under your leadership, including scientific areas you see as priorities for JCI Insight and areas you see as opportunities for growth.
  • Provide details of any proposed Editorial Board members. Describe how you will ensure that the team has the breadth to handle submissions across all specialties and ranging from basic research to clinical trials and bioinformatics.
  • Describe how the proposed Board will evaluate manuscripts and specific efforts to ensure scientific rigor, fair decisions, and timeliness. Additionally, comment on the criteria your board will use to select suitable articles to invite for transfer from the JCI to JCI Insight.
  • Describe your thoughts on the relationship between JCI Insight and the JCI in the ASCI family of journals.
  • In the event that you cannot complete the duration of the term, describe the process by which a candidate to replace the Editor would be identified (subject to approval by the Council and a vote by the membership).

Section 2: Full CV of proposed Editor.

Section 3: Brief, NIH-style CVs of any named potential Associate Editors.

Section 4: Statement from representatives of the proposed Editor’s institution (Department Chair and Dean or equivalent) outlining their commitment to provide appropriate protection of time for the Editor and members of the Editorial Board, and any space and technical and administrative support for Board meetings.

Section 5: A single-page letter from each proposed Board member stating a commitment to the role.

Applications are due January 8, 2024, and should be sent by email to

Finalists for the Editor position will be determined March 4, 2024. Interviews for finalists will be held April 4, 2024, in Chicago.

Submitting letters of intent and applications

Address materials to Benjamin Humphreys, MD, PhD, Chair of the Editor Selection Committee, and send as an attachment to


Contact Sarah Jackson, Executive Editor, at

Review of applications

An Editor Selection Committee will review applications, interview candidates, and recommend a selection to the ASCI Council, which then submits the recommendation to a vote of the Active segment of the ASCI membership.

Nominations for Active and International membership, 2024

Nominations for Active and International membership for 2024 are open and may be submitted through the extended deadline of September 18, 2023, 11:59 pm Eastern. All participants in a nomination should carefully review the information below. Send questions to

Navigate to section:

About this cycle

For the 2024 cycle, a bylaws amendment remains in effect to allow nominations of otherwise qualified individuals who are age 53 or younger on January 1, 2024, and whose work has been affected by extenuating circumstances. This amendment expires after the 2024 cycle, after which the age limit returns to 50.

Nominees in these categories:

  • must be physicians who have “accomplished meritorious original, creative, and independent investigations in the clinical or allied sciences of medicine” and who enjoy “unimpeachable moral standing in the medical profession” (as stated in the ASCI bylaws);
  • may not be nominated more than three times;
  • and must be age 53 or younger on January 1, 2024:
    • candidates age 50 or younger on January 1, 2024, are not required to submit information regarding extenuating circumstance that may have affected their work.
    • candidates age 51-53 on January 1, 2024, need not have been previously nominated and must provide information regarding extenuating circumstances that have affected their work.

Proposers are discouraged from nominating those whose qualifications may not be sufficiently advanced, or from re-nominating a candidate if the candidate’s work has changed little since their previous nominations.

The ASCI Council reviews nominations and may recommend up to 100 Active and International nominees for election. The Council presents the recommended nominee group to Active and Senior members to approve by vote. Those elected for 2024 will be recognized at the ASCI’s annual Dinner and New Member Induction Ceremony, April 5, 2024, as part of the 2024 AAP/ASCI/APSA Joint Meeting, April 5-7, at the Swissôtel Chicago.

Note that Council members may not serve in any capacity regarding nominations.

Nomination preparation guidance and instructions

A nomination requires one Proposer and one Seconder, both of whom must be ASCI members in good standing and (if applicable) current in Society dues. General Supporters are optional and are not required to be ASCI members.

There is no limit to the number of nominations a member can propose or support (either as Seconder or General Supporter).

The Proposer is ideally from an institution different from the nominee’s institution (although this is not required) and should have a good understanding of the nominee’s work. The Proposer is responsible for:

  • starting the nomination (see “ASCI account access” below);
  • granting access to the nominee to edit certain sections of the nomination (see detail in “Nomination sections” below); note that granting access is required, as demographic information can be supplied only by the nominee;
  • providing the “Proposer’s general statement on the nominee” (500-word limit) and “Statement on progress and development since previous nomination” (if applicable, 500-word limit);
  • ensuring that the nomination is accurate and complete; and
  • submitting the nomination.

Nominees can, when granted access, edit sections of the nomination except those exclusive to the Proposer. Only the nominee can provide demographic information.

The Seconder is ideally from an institution different from the nominee’s institution (although this is not required) and should have a good understanding of the nominee’s work. The Seconder is responsible for completing and submitting a form that includes:

  • scores for the areas enumerated in the form;
  • comments (500-word limit) that supplement, but do not duplicate, information provided by the Proposer and deal specifically with the nominee’s original scientific contributions; and
  • description of the relationship to the nominee.

General Supporters (not required; limited to 3 per nomination) may help to provide additional context for a nominee’s contributions, and to demonstrate wider support for the nominee beyond the candidate’s own institution, particularly if the Proposer and Seconder of a nomination are from the nominee’s institution. Anyone (including any ASCI member except those on the ASCI Council) may serve as a General Supporter. The General Supporter completes and submits a form that includes:

  • scores for the areas enumerated in the form;
  • comments (250-word limit) that supplement, but do not duplicate, information provided by the Proposer or the Seconder and deal specifically with the nominee’s original scientific contributions; and
  • description of the relationship to the nominee.

A nomination support template may be referenced in order to aid in drafting comments. Please note, however:

  • General Supporters who are ASCI members should complete and submit the required information online through their member accounts (see “ASCI account access”).
  • General Supporters who are not ASCI members should request that the Proposer add them to the nomination, where the Proposer can send emails to such supporters that include information about accessing their specific form.

ASCI account access

  • Access your account
  • Go to the “Activities / nominations” tab, navigate to the “Active and International membership” section, and click on “Search for a nominee”.
  • Enter the nominee’s last name (you may enter a partial name):
    • If the nominee is found, you’ll be prompted to select your role if available: Proposer, Seconder, or General Supporter.
    • If the nominee isn’t found, provide the requested information to add the nominee and start the nomination by selecting your role (see bullet point immediately preceding).

Nomination sections

  • About the nominee
    Proposer and nominee may edit this information.
  • Nominee’s demographic information
    Only the nominee may edit this information.
    The ASCI requests responses to questions in a brief, 9-section survey that will help provide the foundation for expanding diversity, fostering inclusion, and achieving equity in the ASCI. All response areas are voluntary, with a “Prefer not to answer” option available for each section. Anyone with access to person-specific information (such as ASCI leadership, members associated with review processes, and staff members) will be required to keep the information confidential. Depersonalized summary information of all response areas may be provided in periodic public reports.
  • Nominee’s institutional affiliation
    Proposer and nominee may edit this information.
  • Support for nomination
    — Only the Proposer has access to this section.
    Proposers may attach a Seconder and General Supporters to the nomination by searching the ASCI member directory; for a supporter who is not an ASCI member, Proposers must supply the supporter’s name and email address in order to attach the person to the nomination. After supporters are attached to the nomination, Proposers are provided the ability to notify them regarding their support forms.
  • Nominee’s biography
    Proposer and nominee may edit this information.
    A 300-word-limit description of the nominee’s research and accomplishments. Note that information supplied in this section will not be evaluated in review. This biography will be used to populate the nominee’s ASCI directory entry if the nominee is elected.
  • Documents
    Proposer and nominee may edit this information:
    • Full academic curriculum vitae, including:
      • current funding (clearly indicate whether the nominee is a principal investigator),
      • past funding,
      • invited lectures,
      • patents, and
      • full bibliography (with original research separated from other types of publications and the nominee’s name presented in bold face).
    • NIH-style biographical sketch (5-page limit), following the current format available at:
    • A high-resolution headshot photograph (for use if the nominee is recommended for election)
    • Three “Most significant publications,” excluding those representing work done by the nominee as a trainee. For each of these three files, an annotation is required and consists of two aspects:
      1. Author list in the original publication sequence, with the nominee’s name in capital letters, followed by numbered notation of the nominee’s role in parentheses (1 = principal investigator, 2 = collaborator), title, journal name, volume, inclusive page numbers, year, and Pubmed ID (PMID). Example:
        “John Q. Public and JANE DOE (1). Title. Journal. 1:1-10 (2015). PMID 1234”
      2. A description (50-word limit) of the publication’s key findings and significance.
  • Extenuating circumstances
    Proposer and nominee may edit this information.
    A nominee who is age 51-53 as of January 1, 2024, must select at least one of the extenuating circumstances provided: “elder care/other types of caregiving”; “child care”; “illness”; or “other”. An explanation of the circumstance(s) may be provided and is encouraged, but the explanation is optional.
  • Seminal contribution(s)
    —  Proposer and nominee may edit this information.
    Summarize the nominee’s defining seminal contribution(s) and why this work forms the basis for the nomination (75-word limit).
  • Proposer’s general statement on the nominee
    Only the Proposer has access to this section.
    In the Proposer’s own words (500-word limit), describe the quality, originality, and impact of the nominee’s scientific work and the consistency and importance of the nominee’s research theme. Include a statement on the level of independence from the nominee’s mentor(s) and the nominee’s productivity and stature in the field.
    • Proposers should expand upon the candidate’s seminal contribution(s), including the originality, novelty, and impact of this research on the field. Note any special circumstances (e.g., childbearing, personal or family illness) that influenced the candidate’s research activities.
    • Information regarding major awards, invitations to give plenary lectures (especially at national and international meetings), and invitations to write chapters in major textbooks should be included as applicable — the quality and quantity of work are important factors.
  • Statement on progress and development since previous nomination
    Proposer and nominee may edit this information.
    In the Proposer’s own words (500-word limit), describe the critical differences between this nomination and the previous nomination (if applicable).

Recipient of the 2023 Seldin~Smith Award for Pioneering Research:
Steven E. Mansoor, MD, PhD

Steven Mansoor
Dr. Mansoor

The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) is pleased to recognize Steven E. Mansoor, MD, PhD, as the recipient of the 2023 Donald Seldin~Holly Smith Award for Pioneering Research. For this Award, the ASCI provides Dr. Mansoor an honorarium of $30,000 to advance his academic efforts, and the opportunity to deliver a scientific talk at the 2024 AAP/ASCI/APSA Joint Meeting.

A clinical cardiologist, Dr. Mansoor employs structural biology techniques to study the structure, function, and signaling of ion channels and G-protein coupled receptors of the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. He was responsible for resolving the structures of several receptors within the P2X class of purinergic receptors: P2X3R and PRX7R. Dr. Mansoor’s work provided clarity into the activity of each, enabling efforts in his lab and elsewhere to identify potential small molecules that target P2X receptors for novel therapeutics.

Dr. David B. Jacoby nominated Dr. Mansoor for the Award, and Dr. Richard H. Goodman provided a letter of support. In his letter, Dr. Goodman wrote, “Beyond the important contributions to understanding the basic science of ion channel structure, function, and gating, Dr. Mansoor’s work has truly significant translational implications.”

Dr. Mansoor earned his BA from Reed College (Oregon) and his MD and PhD from the Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU), where he completed his medical residency and cardiology fellowship. He is Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Assistant Professor of Chemical Physiology and Biochemistry at the OHSU School of Medicine. His work has been recognized and funded by the Gilead Research Scholars Award, the Silver Family Foundation Faculty Excellence and Innovation Award, and the National Institutes of Health, including most recently the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Among other honors, he was a recipient of the ASCI’s 2018 Young Physician-Scientist Award.

Nominations were evaluated by the Seldin~Smith Award Selection Committee: Mukesh K. Jain (Chair), Vivian G. Cheung, Sohail F. Tavazoie, Benjamin D. Humphreys, and Anna Greka. Finalists were evaluated by an Advisory Committee comprising five physician-scientist luminaries: Joseph L. Goldstein (Chair), Michael S. Brown, Robert J. Lefkowitz, Christine Seidman, and Arthur Weiss.

Message from Benjamin Humphreys, the incoming 2023–2024 President

Benjamin Humphreys
Dr. Humphreys

The start of my Presidential year marks my sixth year on the Council; I am excited to draw from my experiences to advance the mission of the ASCI and engage our excellent community of physician-scientists. I’ve had the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of past Presidents. As Sohail transitions to Immediate Past President, I thank him for his efforts to carry on current initiatives and to drive new ones. His thoughtfulness and regard for the physician-scientist community were obvious to all of us on Council. Among the initiatives he led was a survey of our community, and I look forward to continuing to work with him on a fuller analysis and presentation of the results.

As I considered the year ahead and the impact I could make during my presidency, my focus turned to the early-career path. Since 2013, the ASCI has provided recognition of early-faculty physician-scientists through its Young Physician-Scientist Awards program, and in 2022 the ASCI began its Emerging-Generation Awards program to recognize those who are three years or more past earning their MDs, who show great promise in research, but who are not yet on faculty. Through the ASCI’s and AAP’s partnership with APSA, we help to support a large population of MD and MD-PhD students.

What about supporting the path even earlier? My institution (Washington University in St. Louis) offers a Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program, under the umbrella of the university’s Physician-Scientist Training Program, co-led by Tim Ley — a fierce advocate for physician-scientists and a past ASCI President (1997–1998). The impact this program has had on our community inspired me to consider the possibility of a similar ASCI-supported program. I brought the idea to the Council and received an enthusiastic reception. Other ASCI committees (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Physician-Scientist Development) gave valuable feedback and suggestions, and the Council ultimately approved the program. I look forward to sharing full details with the ASCI community and beyond very soon.

This new program, as with all other ASCI programs, entails a cost. Among my hopes for my presidency is to make the case to major donors and our friends in industry for the importance of supporting the physician-scientist path, particularly at this postbaccalaureate stage. Noting this, I’m grateful for contributions from all the members and others to support our Awards programs and the Society in general.

Finally, I’m incredibly appreciative of the time members have volunteered to the ASCI, whether through spreading the word about ASCI, participating in nominating activities, or service to committees and ad hoc roles. We truly could not do it without you.


Benjamin D. Humphreys, MD, PhD

Message from Sohail Tavazoie, the outgoing 2022–2023 President

Sohail Tavazoie
Dr. Tavazoie

During the past year, I have been incredibly honored to have served as president of ASCI, an organization with a long tradition of supporting physician-scientists in their noble mission to uncover fundamental insights into human biology and pathophysiology and to apply these insights towards tomorrow’s cures.

To better understand the challenges faced by physician scientists, we solicited survey responses from our membership this past year, receiving 588 responses. When asked about the most significant problems faced by current physician-scientists, 80% reported funding limitations, while 56% cited administrative burdens. Burnout, length of training, and clinical care overload were identified as the next most significant issues, with each being selected by approximately 40% of respondents. Notably, despite these challenges, 90% of respondents reported a high or very high level of career satisfaction. Concerning funding limitations, many respondents advocated for increased NIH funding to physician-scientists, particularly during the transition to independence and junior faculty stages. They also called for enhanced institutional startup and hard-money support for new physician-scientist faculty. Respondents believed that ASCI could help by providing mentorship advice and workshops for fellows and junior investigators. Additionally, they felt that improved networking among ASCI members across disciplines, within disciplines, and across generations could provide a much-needed support structure for our community.

So, what new initiatives is ASCI undertaking to address these formidable challenges? To enhance our society’s networking and mentorship capacity, I initiated a major overhaul of our website. A key feature of the revamped site is the membership directory, where trainees, junior faculty, and ASCI members can view the entire membership and search for members with specific scientific or clinical expertise such as biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, oncology, or infectious disease. For example, a trainee considering a fellowship in San Francisco could search for all ASCI members in the area, select their names, read their updated biographies and view their selected publications. Importantly, we are asking all members to provide a 5-minute video upload, in which they describe their career trajectories, what motivates them and brings them joy as physician-scientists, and crucially, their scientific area of focus. The new directory will increase the visibility of our membership, enable members to form disciplinary or inter-disciplinary affinity groups, help trainees identify labs, mentors, and institutions supportive of physician-scientists, and assist us in advocating for increased funding support for physician-scientists from the NIH. This comprehensive directory is a valuable resource that will showcase the remarkable accomplishments of over 3,400 leaders in biomedical research, bolstering our ability to organize and collectively advocate in support of our mission. I extend my gratitude to John Hawley for his exceptional support and management of this initiative, and I strongly encourage all of you to help us by updating your bios, submitting your select publications and uploading your 5-minute videos soon. You will be receiving a reminder in the coming weeks.

To provide targeted advice for different career-stages, we have initiated the ASCI Presidents’ Q&A sessions, a webinar series starting this June, in which current and past ASCI presidents will address any questions posed by trainees and physician-scientist faculty on a variety of topics, including grant writing, study sections, faculty chalk talks, mentorship, teaching, startup negotiations, administrative burden, leadership and the inner workings of ASCI. We will be reaching back decades to past presidents whose timeless insights will greatly benefit our society.

To support trainees at their most vulnerable stage, we will annually pair pre-faculty physician-scientists—the ASCI Emerging Generation Awardees—and early faculty physician-scientists—the ASCI Young Physician-Scientist Awardees—with newly elected ASCI members who have overlapping scientific interests. Each ASCI member will serve as a long-term career mentor or Big Sib for the junior trainee, helping them navigate the most precarious phase of the physician-scientist career path. Vice President Anna Greka has played a major role in guiding young trainee mentorship along with Christopher Williams, and I’m thrilled that we will have her continued leadership in this initiative.

To highlight exceptional mid-career physician-scientists who can serve as inspirational role models for our future leaders, I am thrilled to announce our inaugural mid-career physician-scientist awards—an initiative created under Hossein Ardehali and Lorraine Ware’s leadership. Wendy Garrett is the recipient of the Marian Ropes award, while Duane Mitchell is the recipient of the Louise Sullivan award. Wendy and Duane will present their exciting scientific work at next year’s annual meeting. Please join me in congratulating them on their achievements.

Lastly, Ben Humphreys and I are at the early stages of organizing a working group what will focus on identifying potential solutions to concerns surrounding grant funding and institutional support for junior physician-scientist faculty. These complex issues demand collective thinking, creativity, advocacy, and action. We eagerly anticipate collaborating with you on these crucial matters.

In response to what the greatest opportunities and rewards of being a physician-scientist are, 93% of our survey respondents chose the option making new discoveries. There have never been more tools available to us to for making such discoveries, and there has never been a more exciting time to be a physician-scientist! So please help us to convey our excitement and passion for this path to our young impressionable trainees.

In closing, I want to express my gratitude for the incredible honor of serving our esteemed society on Council for these past 6 years. I am grateful to my exceptional Council members and am delighted to pass the baton to our next president and exemplary leader Ben Humphreys.

I also wish to extend special thanks to two people who are the heart and soul of this exceptional organization: John Hawley, the executive director, and Karen Guth, the managing director of ASCI. John’s vast knowledge of our organization, its history, and inner workings is truly remarkable. Karen’s adept management of ASCI’s finances, investments, and sizable staff, as well as her organization of our meetings is equally astonishing. In my view, Karen and John have contributed more to the physician-scientist cause than anyone else I know, and working with them has been an absolute pleasure. This year marks the 25th anniversary of their leadership service at ASCI. On behalf of the present and past 25 Councils and the entire membership, I extend my heartfelt thanks to Karen and John for their dedication to ASCI.


Sohail F. Tavazoie, MD, PhD

The 2023 Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award: Nicole Calakos, MD, PhD

Dr. Calakos

Nicole Calakos, MD, PhD, is the recipient of the 2023 Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) for her contributions to understanding basal ganglia physiology and its involvement in diseases such as compulsive behavior and movement disorders.

Dr. Calakos received a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from University of California-Berkeley followed by graduate research in Neuroscience under the mentorship of Richard Scheller, PhD, at Stanford University. She received her MD and doctoral degrees from Stanford, completed a residency in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, and a postdoctoral fellowship with Robert Malenka, MD, PhD at Stanford.

The brain’s basal ganglia circuitry influences a wide range of behaviors that involve the selection and execution of action plans. A host of neuropsychiatric disorders ranging from OCD to Parkinson’s disease and dystonia are associated with basal ganglia dysfunction. Dr. Calakos’ research program focuses on mechanisms of adaptive plasticity involving the striatal circuitry of the basal ganglia. Her work has helped to reveal fundamental mechanisms by which this brain region normally adapts to experience, such as in habit learning, and how brain diseases like compulsive behavior and movement disorders arise.

Her research has revealed a crucial role for a biochemical pathway, known as the “integrated stress response” (ISR), that regulates protein synthesis in multiple inherited and sporadic forms of the movement disorder, dystonia. These insights have led to the development of new drug candidates for dystonia and uncovered non-canonical roles for the ISR in the healthy brain where it was found to be constitutively active in neuromodulatory neurons to maintain the integrity of dopamine and acetylcholine signaling. The significance of recognizing new ISR roles in the brain’s acetylcholine system also reaches beyond dystonia because ISR-inhibiting small molecules are being advanced to treat traumatic brain injury and dementia.

Her laboratory continues work to study the basic-science ramifications of this unusual cell-type specific engagement of the ISR in neuromodulatory cells as well as advance ISR-targeting therapeutic approaches for dystonia toward the clinic. Based on the discovery that the HIV protease inhibitor ritonavir may be efficacious for dystonia in preclinical models through a mechanism involving the ISR, a multi-center collaborative project supported by the Department of Defense (DOD) is ongoing to advance to human subject studies.

Dr. Calakos is the Lincoln Financial Group Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology and Chief of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder division of Neurology at Duke University Medical Center. Throughout her career, she has advocated for physician-scientist development and built bridges between the scientific and medical communities to enhance translational research. She co-directs the Duke Scholars in Molecular Medicine Neurosciences track and has served on the executive committees for Duke’s Medical Scientist Training program, Strong Start program for physician-scientists, Third Year research program for medical students and the NIH/NINDS K12 career development program for pediatric neurology physician-scientists.

Her laboratory has been continuously supported by the NIH (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institute of Mental Health). Her work has also been supported by the DOD and private foundations, including the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure Foundation, Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia Parkinson’s Foundation, Klingenstein Fund, McKnight Foundation for the Neurosciences, Harrington Discovery Institute, Tourette Syndrome Association, The Kahn family foundation, The Holland-Trice family foundation, the Ruth K. Broad Biomedical Research Foundation, the Chan-Zuckerberg Institute, and the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s Foundation.

Dr. Calakos’ contributions have been recognized through a number of awards including the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD) (2007), Klingenstein Fellowship in the Neurosciences Robert H. Ebert Clinical Scholar distinction (2007), Tourette Syndrome Association Early Career Award (2009), Harrington Discovery Institute Scholar-Innovator Award (2015), and Duke Health Scholar (2016). She was elected to the American Neurological Association in 2012 (and served on its Board of Directors from 2012 to 2015), the ASCI in 2017, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in 2020, and the National Academy of Medicine in 2022.