Hall and Hanks receive 2019 ASCI Young Physician-Scientist Awards

Friday, March 1, 2019

Two faculty from the Department of Medicine have received 2019 ASCI Young Physician-Scientist Awards from the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

Gentzon Hall, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (Nephrology), and Brent Hanks, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (Medical Oncology) and pharmacology and cancer biology, are among 35 "outstanding physician-scientists" nationally to be recognized.

“These awards are a wonderful recognition of what Dr. Hall and Dr. Hanks have accomplished through their outstanding research,” said Kathleen Cooney, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine. “Both physicians completed their training at Duke, and this honor illustrates the strategic investment the Department of Medicine and School of Medicine have made in supporting young physician-scientists.”

Nominees were required to have received their first faculty appointment within the last five years and be currently funded by an NIH K or equivalent career-development award (in or outside the United States).

Dr. Hall has a NIH K08 grant that focuses on investigating the role of Interleukin-15 Receptor-alpha variants in the pathogenesis of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Hall has three other awards: the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program and American Society of Nephrology Career Development Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Duke Physician-Scientist Strong Start Award; and a Northwestern University George M. O’Brien Kidney Research Center Pilot and Feasibility Award.

"It is a tremendous honor to have been selected for the ASCI Young Physician-Scientist Award. I am pleased to have my work recognized in this manner and to be included in this prestigious community of innovators and scientists," Hall said. "I consider this award to be a highlight of my career thus far, and I look forward to the opportunity to present my findings at the ASCI meeting in April." 

Listen to Dr. Hall describe his research.

Dr. Hanks has an NIH K08 grant that focuses on investigating mechanisms by which cancers promote the tolerization of dendritic cells as a strategy to evade the immune system and promote resistance to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy, and is also working under five other grants including from the Melanoma Research Alliance, the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, Merck & Co., and Glaxo-Smith Kline. He also received a Duke Health Scholar award in 2016. Read about his research.

“I have a ton of respect for the mission of the ASCI and their support for the development and training of future physician scientists,” said Hanks. “I believe the role of the physician scientist to be critical for advancing medicine and healthcare into the future and this type of support is vital for making sure this challenging career path remains viable.”  

The ASCI Young Physician-Scientist awardees will each receive a $500 travel award to attend the 2019 Joint Meeting, April 5-7, in Chicago, and present their work at the ASCI’s Food & Science Evening on Saturday, April 6. 

View a list of AAP and ASCI members from the Duke Department of Medicine.

Julie Harbin, writer for Duke Cancer Institute, contributed to this story. Read about Dr. Hanks on the DCI website.