ACMG Foundation announces recipients of 2018 Shire/ACMG Foundation Next Generation Awards

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Credit: ACMG Foundation

Four recipients of the Shire/ACMG Foundation Next Generation Fellowship Awards were announced during the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) 2018 Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. The four awards were the second set of awards given after Shire made a $1.65 million commitment in 2017 to support the training of future medical geneticists.

Bruce R. Korf, MD, PhD, FACMG, president of the ACMG Foundation said, "The Shire Awards represent a critical investment in the future of our field by helping to train the next generation of clinical and laboratory geneticists. This remains a vital need, and we are grateful to Shire for their commitment to medical genetics training."

The Shire/ACMG Foundation Genetics and Genomics Residency Fellowship Residency Program will provide funding for two different specialties in 2018: one Clinical Genetics and Genomics Residency Training (2 years) Award and three Clinical and Medical Biochemical Subspecialty Fellowships (1 year).

Clinical Genetics and Genomics Residency Fellowships:

1. Ali Zaidi, DO, Children's National Medical Center

Dr. Zaidi received his DO from Midwestern University in 2016. Graduating Summa Cum Laude, he received his Bachelors of Science in Cell and Developmental Biology and Genetics from ASU in 2011. His research interests included synthesizing small molecule inhibitors for epilepsy and hepatocellular carcinoma and assessing various roles of mi-RNAs and protein expression in the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC).

Upon receiving this award, Dr. Zaidi says, "The Shire Next Generation Fellowship Award is an incredible resource that allows individuals like me desiring to enter the field of medical genetics a source of funding for our training. Without the generosity of awards like these, there may be no source of funding for fellowship training, and therefore limited training opportunities."

Medical Biochemical Genetics Subspecialty Fellowships

1. Irene J. Chang, MD, FACMG, University of Washington, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics

Dr. Chang recently completed her Medical Genetics Residency and is currently a senior fellow in the Division of Medical Genetics at the University of Washington. Her research under the mentorship of Dr. Sihoun Hahn utilizes the immuno-SRM platform to detect tryptic peptides in dried blood spots and predict immunogenicity to enzyme therapy in patients with infantile Pompe disease and other lysosomal storage diseases. Dr. Chang received her MD from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She completed an intern year in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Hawaii prior to starting her Medical Genetics residency at the University of Washington. Dr. Chang has received numerous awards including the NIH Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN) Scholars Program and the NIH Fogarty Global Health Fellowship. She has published two book chapters and authored or co-authored a dozen peer-reviewed articles.

Dr. Chang said of receiving the award, "I am incredibly honored to be granted the ACMGF Shire Genetics Fellowship Award, which will help me pursue Medical Biochemical Genetics training with the phenomenal team at Seattle Children's Hospital and the University of Washington. In the setting of expanding newborn screening, this timely opportunity will allow me to provide the best possible care for patients with inborn errors of metabolism and continue translational research on the diagnosis of lysosomal storage diseases."

2. Nina Beth Gold, MD, Boston Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)

Dr. Nina Beth Gold is currently completing her fourth year in the combined Pediatrics-Medical Genetics residency at Boston Children's Hospital where she is Chief Resident in the Division of Genetics and Genomics. She earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. As a recipient of the 2018-2019 Shire/ACMGF Next Generation Medical Biochemical Subspecialty Genetics Training award, Dr. Gold will continue her training at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as a fellow in medical biochemical genetics. During this fellowship she will devote her time to understanding the variable expressivity of metabolic disease phenotypes under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Rader and Dr. Rebecca Ganetzky.

"I am honored to be a recipient of the ACMGF/Shire Genetics Fellowship Award. It is an incredibly exciting time to be training in clinical genetics and medical biochemical genetics. I deeply appreciate the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Rader and Dr. Rebecca Ganetzky, both of whom have supported my clinical and research goals. We hope that our proposed study will lead to a greater understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that affect the expression of metabolic disease phenotypes," said Dr. Gold after receiving this award.

3. Jean-Leon Chong, PhD., University of Utah

Dr. Jean-Leon Chong obtained a PhD in Molecular Genetics at Ohio State University (OSU) with subsequent postdoctoral training at the Comprehensive Cancer Research Center also at OSU. He studied normal development and tumorigenesis using genetically modified mice and published his findings in very high impact journals. He then joined the Newborn Screening Laboratory of the State of Ohio where his interest in Biochemical Genetics started. He is currently completing a Fellowship in Clinical Biochemical Genetics at the University of Utah and ARUP Laboratories.

Upon receiving this award, Dr. Chong said, "I am thankful to receive this training award that will enhance my knowledge in clinical biochemical genetics, advance our understandings of the interactions among different metabolic pathways, and set up a foundation for developing new standards of practice in biomedical genetics. This fellowship will provide me an opportunity to become an independent clinical biochemical geneticist."

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The ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine (ACMGF) is a community of supporters and contributors who understand the importance of medical genetics and genomics in healthcare. A non-profit organization established in 1992, the Foundation supports the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) mission to "translate genes into health"; to foster charitable giving, promote training opportunities to attract future medical geneticist and genetic counselors, to share information about medical genetics, to sponsor important research and much more.

To learn more and support the ACMGF mission to create "Better Health through Genetics", please contact Nicole O. Bell, ACMG Foundation Manager, at [email protected] or (301) 718-9604 or visit acmgfoundation.org.

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Kathy Moran, MBA
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301-238-4582
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