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Charles Gawad, MD, PhD, Receives NIH Director’s New Innovator Award


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Charles Gawad, MD, PhD

Charles Gawad, MD, PhD

Charles Gawad, MD, PhD, an assistant member in the Departments of Oncology and Computational Biology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has been selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to receive a Director’s New Innovator Award.

Established in 2007, this award supports unusually innovative research from early-career investigators who are within 10 years of their final degree or clinical residency. The award is part of the NIH high-risk, high-reward program, which supports extremely creative scientists who propose unique solutions to major challenges in biomedical research.

Dr. Gawad’s project, titled “Creating a Catalog of Cancer Clonotype Drug Sensitivities With Single-Cell Genome Sequencing,” will use a method his lab invented called primary template-directed genome amplification to identify patterns of mutations in leukemia cells isolated from pediatric patients with cancer. They will then correlate those mutation patterns with resistance to specific drugs. The ability to connect the genotype of distinct leukemia populations with response to specific drugs could lead to more precise treatment strategies for many cancer types. The grant is worth more than $2.6 million over 5 years.

“It is a great honor to have our work recognized with this award,” Dr. Gawad said. “We aim to use this support from NIH to create a new generation of cancer genomics tools that will interrogate the genomes of individual cells, rather than thousands of cells mixed together, as is currently done.” 


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