Dr. Victor Tkachev: Reflections On Winning the New Investigator Award Spotlight

Victor Tkachev, Ph.D., 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. Tkachev a few questions around what winning this award means to him and his career. 

What does receiving this award mean to you?

The transition to an independent investigator role was one of the most pivotal phases in my career. During this critical period, being recognized by the professional community was absolutely essential, as it provided the necessary support and instilled confidence in my career trajectory, helping me overcome various challenges. Beyond the national recognition it brought, the ASTCT New Investigator Award supplied crucial funding for pilot projects that would have otherwise faced challenges in competing for major federal grants. I am deeply grateful for the recognition and support that the ASTCT New Investigator Award has given, paving the way for my continued growth as an independent investigator.

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

I strongly believe that progress in transplantation therapy and clinical care hinges on fundamental discoveries, which must then undergo rigorous testing in clinically relevant models and trials. My aspiration is to contribute significantly to this field by uncovering the roles of novel immune cell subsets within the intricate tissue microenvironment and identifying targetable pathways for therapeutic interventions. To achieve this, I intend to utilize a combination of traditional pharmacologic and genetic manipulations, as well as cutting-edge cellular therapy approaches. By advancing our understanding of these critical aspects, I aim to pave the way for improved treatments and outcomes in transplantation medicine, benefiting patients worldwide.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the ASTCT community with regard to supporting the New Investigator Award?

Having personally experienced this program both as an applicant and as a reviewer, I can wholeheartedly commend the selection process. All reviews were conducted by experts in the field, solely focused on the scientific merits of the proposals, rather than the background or affiliations of the applicants. This approach ensures fairness and transparency in the nomination process. In my view, the ASTCT New Investigator Award presents an exceptional opportunity for young investigators, especially physician-scientists, to establish their independent research programs confidently. The award's support and recognition have the potential to significantly boost the career trajectory of promising researchers in the field of transplantation, fostering innovation and advancements in the field.

Tags: New investigator, New Investigators