Dr. Stephen P. Persaud: Reflections On Winning the New Investigator Award Spotlight

Stephen P. Persaud, MD, PhD., is one of ASTCT's New Investigator Award recipients. The New Investigator Award encourages clinical or laboratory research of young investigators and is used to fund research costs or salary. The award —  $50,000 per year, typically for two years — is to be used to support the investigator’s salary for his or her research effort. Alternatively, the award may be used for direct support of research costs. 

We asked Dr. Persaud a few questions around what winning this award means to him and his career. 

What does receiving this award mean to you?

I was a postdoctoral fellow when I received the ASTCT New Investigator Award. The news came at a time when I was building a new area of research in my postdoc lab, looking at antibody-based conditioning regimens for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). I also hoped to launch my own independent research lab based on this work. Funding from the New Investigator Award provided resources that helped grow my research program, develop my initial publications in this field, and definitely contributed to my securing my first faculty position. Personally, the award provided a great confidence boost, both as an early career investigator and relative newcomer to HSCT research, that my science was of importance to the field and that I was capable of securing extramural funding.

How do you hope to advance the science of transplantation and cellular therapy?

Through basic science and translational studies, I hope to continue my work developing targeted, minimally toxic conditioning strategies to improve the safety of HSCT, with the ultimate goal of enabling more patients with hematologic diseases (both malignant and non-malignant) to benefit from this potentially curative therapy. While my initial work focused on optimizing conditioning regimens in the context of acute leukemias, I am very interested in applying my work to non-malignant diseases like sickle cell anemia, particularly in combination with autologous gene therapy.

Tags: New investigator, Award, New Investigators

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