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2020 Physician Scientist Fellows Skip to main content

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DDCF Announces Six Winners of the Physician Scientist Fellowship

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Grants $1.32 Million to Six Subspecialty Fellows in the Second Year of the Physician Scientist Fellowship

New York, June 16, 2020 – The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) today announced the six subspecialty fellows receiving a total of $1.32 million in grants through the second Doris Duke Physician Scientist Fellowship. Through the Physician Scientist Fellowship, which funds the research of clinical investigators at the subspecialty fellowship stage of their careers, DDCF aims to promote the transition of emerging physician scientists into faculty-level positions.

“We are thrilled to support this year’s cohort of Physician Scientist Fellows during their fellowship training, which is a critical stage in their careers,” said Betsy Myers, program director for medical research at DDCF. “We hope these awards will provide these outstanding subspecialty fellows with the resources they need to advance their careers and make important contributions to clinical research.”

Recipients of the Physician Scientist Fellowship were chosen through a competitive, peer-review process by an external panel of physician scientists. While fellows training in fields such as cardiology, hematology, infectious diseases and oncology typically receive funding from their departments for short-term research, there are few opportunities to obtain external support for extended research during this phase. DDCF has designed the Physician Scientist Fellowship to address this gap in support.

Each selected fellow is receiving two years of funding at $110,000 per year, a total of $220,000 for the entire grant term, and will work under the supervision of a mentor who will guide them toward successful biomedical research careers. Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the Medical Research Program will work with grantees to identify flexibility in grant start dates to accommodate differences in when physician scientists can return to research work.

A list of the 2020 Physician Scientist Fellows and their research project titles can be found below:

Jeeyeon M. Cha, M.D., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center Project name: A Role for the MAFA S64F Mutation in Sex-dependent Diabetes by Accelerating Beta Cell Aging and Senescence

Senthil Selvaraj, M.D., M.A., Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Project name: Therapeutic Exogenous Ketosis in Heart Failure with Reduced and Preserved Ejection Fraction: A Randomized, Controlled, Crossover Trial

Alan C. Kwan, M.D., Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Project name: The Digital Biopsy in Cardiac Transplant Rejection

Christiaan R. de Vries, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine Project name: The Antibody Response Against Pf Bacteriophage in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection

Scott A. Peslak, M.D., Ph.D., Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Project name: Cellular Signaling Pathways in the Regulation of Fetal Hemoglobin for Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease

Jordan J. Wright, M.D., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center Project name: Role of Pancreatic Macrophages in the Progression of Type II Diabetes

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