The American Society for Clinical Investigation is proud to present the ASCI Scientific Sessions: a monthly spotlight on distinguished investigators and their contributions to biomedical research. The Scientific Sessions are free and open to all, with a goal to create a space for our community, beyond our annual meeting, to gather and celebrate discovery.


Next in the ASCI Scientific Sessions

December 16, 2022, 1-2 pm Eastern:

E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD
“Mitochondrial Dynamics and Cardiometabolic Disease”

E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, is the William S. Adams Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Chair and Executive Medical Director of the Department of Medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine and UCLA Health.

Dr. Abel’s pioneering work on glucose transport and mitochondrial metabolism in the heart guides his current research interests: molecular mechanisms responsible for cardiovascular complications of diabetes. His laboratory has provided important insights into the contribution of mitochondrial dysfunction and aberrant insulin signaling, to heart failure risk in diabetes. Recent work has focused on mitochondrial mechanisms that mediate inter-organ crosstalk that may influence the pathophysiology of insulin resistance and mitochondrial pathways linking metabolism with increased risk for atherothrombosis.

Dr. Abel, who previously served as ASCI Councilor (2009-12), is the recipient of numerous awards and is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association of Physicians (AAP), the ASCI (profile here), the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Clinical and Climatological Association. He is a past President of the Endocrine Society and is currently President of the Association of Professors of Medicine.

This session will be moderated by Sherita Hill Golden, MD, MHS, the Hugh P. McCormick Family Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dr. Golden is an internationally recognized physician-scientist and member of the AAP, and is Vice Chair of the ASCI Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.


Past Sessions

November 10, 2022, 1-2 pm Eastern:

Leonard I. Zon, MD
“The niche for stem cells and cancer:
fishing for pathways that drive self-renewal”

Leonard I. Zon, MD is the Grousbeck Professor of Pediatric Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Director of the Stem Cell Program, Boston Children’s Hospital. He is founder and former president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and chair of the Executive Committee of the recently formed Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Dr. Zon is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in the fields of stem cell biology and cancer genetics. He has been the pre-eminent figure in establishing the zebrafish as an invaluable genetic model for the study of the blood and hematopoietic development. His laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer; have undertaken chemical genetic approaches to blood development finding that prostaglandins upregulates blood stem cells; and have developed suppressor screening genetics and zebrafish models of cancer.

Dr. Zon served as 2004-2005 ASCI President, is an elected member of the NAM (2005), AAAS (2008), and NAS (2022), and was awarded the E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize from American Society of Hematology, the ISEH Donald Metcalf Lecture Award and the AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lecture Award.

​​This event was moderated by Benjamin D. Humphreys, MD, PhD, 2022-2023 ASCI President-Elect, Chief of the Division of Nephrology and the Joseph Friedman Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, and member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

October 25, 2022, 1-2 pm Eastern:

James P. Allison, PhD
“Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy: New insights into therapeutic mechanisms”

James P. Allison, PhD is the Regental Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology, Vice President of Immunobiology, Executive Director of Immunotherapy Platform, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Research, Deputy Director for David H. Koch Center for Applied Research for Genitourinary Cancers, and the Olga Keith Wiess Distinguished University Chair of Cancer Research at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Allison studies the regulation of T cell responses and develops strategies for cancer immunotherapy, and earned the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Dr. Tasuku Honjo, “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.” His lab demonstrated that CTLA-4 inhibits T-cell activation by opposing CD28-mediated costimulation and that blockade of CTLA-4 could enhance T cell responses, leading to tumor rejection in animal models. This finding paved the wave for the emerging field of immune checkpoint blockade therapy for cancer. His current work seeks to improve immune checkpoint blockade therapies and identify new targets to unleash the immune system to eradicate cancer.

Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academies of Science (1997) and Medicine (2007) and received the Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research award (2015).

​​This event was moderated by Sohail Tavazoie, MD, PhD, Leon Hess Professor, Rockefeller University, and the ASCI’s 2022-2023 President. Dr. Tavazoie is recipient, among other honors, of the Rita Allen Scholar Award and the Pershing Square Sohn Prize.

September 16, 2022, 1-2 pm Eastern:

Helen H. Hobbs, MD
“Nature, Nurture, and Disorders of Lipid Excess”

Helen Hobbs is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) in Dallas, Texas. After attending Stanford University and Case Western Reserve Medical School, she trained in internal medicine and endocrinology at Columbia-Presbyterian and UTSW. She joined the UTSW faculty in 1987 where she is Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics and Director of the McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development. Together with Jonathan Cohen, she has used human genetics to identify sequence variations in genes with large effects on plasma levels of LDL-cholesterol (ABCG5/ABCG8, LDLRAP, PCSK9, NPC1L1, ANGPTL3) and triglyceride (ANGPTL3,-4,-8). More recently, she discovered the two most impactful genetic risk factors for fatty liver disease (PNPLA3, TM6SF2). Gene identification is the starting point for studies that have elucidated pathways and processes altered by the defective genes she has identified.

Dr. Hobbs is a member of the ASCI (profile here), the Association of American Physicians, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences. She is recipient of The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2016) and the Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine (2018).

This event was moderated by Anna Greka, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Dr. Greka serves as the current ASCI Vice President, Co-Chair of the ASCI Physician-Scientist Development Committee, and is the 2018 co-recipient of the Seldin~Smith Award for Pioneering Research.

May 13, 2022, 1-2 pm Eastern:

Charles L. Sawyers, MD
“Many Faces of Resistance to Targeted Cancer Therapy”

Charles L. Sawyers, MD, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and is Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chair, Human Oncology & Pathology, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He served as the ​​2007-2008 ASCI President (profile here).

Dr. Sawyers studies mechanisms of cancer drug resistance with an eye toward developing novel therapies. He co-discovered the antiandrogen drug enzalutamide (approved by the FDA in 2012) for treatment of advanced prostate cancer. He shared the 2009 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for the development of the ABL kinase inhibitor imatinib for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia and the second generation ABL inhibitor dasatinib to overcome imatinib resistance.

He is recipient of the 2011 ASCI Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award, 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, 2015 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine, and 2020 Alfred G. Knudson Award in Cancer Genetics. Dr. Sawyers is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Sawyers co-founded the American Academy for Cancer Research Project GENIE, an international consortium of cancer centers that share genomic and clinical data from their respective patients, for which he received the 2021 AACR Distinguished Public Service Award.

This event was moderated by Goutham Narla, MD, PhD, ASCI Councilor, Chief of the Division of Genetic Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Associate Director, MSTP at the University of Michigan. Dr. Narla is President of The Young Scientist Foundation and a member of the American Academy for Cancer Research.

March 8, 2022, 1-2 pm Eastern:

Bruce Beutler, MD
“Mutagenesis, phenotypic screening,
and automated meiotic mapping to discover
disease modifier mutations in mice”

Bruce Beutler, MD, is a Regental Professor at the UT Southwestern Medical Center, where he directs the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense.

Dr. Beutler studied medicine at the University of Chicago. Early in his career he isolated mouse TNF and discovered its inflammatory properties, later developing TNF inhibitor proteins that found widespread use in clinical medicine. He then identified Toll-like receptor 4 as the mammalian sensor of bacterial lipopolysaccharides. These groundbreaking studies earned Dr. Beutler the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (with J. Hoffmann and R. Steinman).

In the past decade, using statistical computation and artificial intelligence to discover point mutations that cause any measurable phenotype in real time, Dr. Beutler and his team have identified thousands of mutations in hundreds of genes that disrupt normal immune function, development, metabolism, neurobehavioral function, and other biological processes of interest.

Dr. Beutler is a member of the ASCI (elected in 1990, profile here), the National Academy of Medicine (2008), the National Academy of Sciences (2008), and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2013). He is recipient of the Balzan Prize (2007), Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2009), the Shaw Prize (2011), and the ASCI Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award (2013).

This event was moderated by Sohail Tavazoie, MD, PhD, Leon Hess Professor, Rockefeller University, and the ASCI’s 2021-2022 President-Elect. Dr. Tavazoie is recipient, among other honors, of the Rita Allen Scholar Award and the Pershing Square Sohn Prize.

February 18, 2022, 1-2 pm Eastern:

Huda Y. Zoghbi, MD
“Regional vulnerability in adult neurodegenerative disorders:
Lessons from Spinocerebellar Ataxia type1”

Huda Y. Zoghbi, MD, is Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, Neuroscience, and Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Zoghbi’s clinical encounters with young girls with Rett syndrome inspired her to go into basic research. Her laboratory ultimately discovered the genetic cause of Rett syndrome and provided insight into the function of the gene in various neurons. Her discovery (with Harry Orr) that Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 1 is caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract and her studies that such expansion leads to accumulation of the mutant protein has informed studies of other neurodegenerative disorders. Zoghbi also discovered Math1/Atoh1 and showed that it governs the development of several components of the proprioceptive, balance, hearing, vestibular, and breathing pathways.

Dr. Zoghbi was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among Zoghbi’s recent honors are the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.
​​
This event was moderated by Anna Greka, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She currently sits on the ASCI Council, is Co-Chair of the ASCI Physician-Scientist Development Committee, and is and is a 2018 recipient of the Seldin~Smith Award for Pioneering Research.

January 18, 2022, 1-2 pm Eastern:

James E. Crowe, Jr., MD
“Human monoclonal antibodies for infectious diseases”

Dr. Crowe is Director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center and the Ann Scott Carell Professor of Pediatrics, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is a board certified pediatric infectious diseases physician and viral immunology researcher. Dr. Crowe was elected to the ASCI in 2004 (profile here).

Dr. Crowe’s laboratory studies the human immune response to infection for a wide variety of major human pathogens, including many emerging infections. His research group uses a very broad array of techniques including molecular and cellular biology, state-of-the-art imaging and flow cytometry, bioinformatics, and bioengineering approaches to attack scientific problems at the forefront of immunity research.

Dr. Crowe is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and has been the recipient of numerous investigator awards including the 2017 ASCI Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award, the 2019 Merck Future Insight Prize, 2020 AAAS Golden Goose Award, and others. A number of vaccine candidates and human monoclonal antibodies developed in the course of his team’s research have been tested in Phase I-III clinical trials in humans.

​​This event was moderated by Lorraine B. Ware, MD, the ASCI’s 2021-2022 Immediate Past President. Dr. Ware is the Ralph and Lulu Owen Professor of Medicine and Director of the Vanderbilt Medical Scholars Program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

December 15, 2021, 1-2 pm Eastern:

Christine E. Seidman, MD
“Genetic Cardiomyopathies – How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?”

Dr. Christine Seidman is the Thomas W. Smith Professor of Medicine and Genetics at Harvard Medical School, an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She was elected to the ASCI in 1992 (profile here).

Dr. Seidman has pioneered the discovery of the genetic basis for heart muscle disorders, including hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathies and congenital heart disease. Her work has enabled development of clinical gene-based diagnostics, early and accurate identification of at-risk individuals, and pre-emptive interventions to limit the progression and devastating outcomes associated with these disorders.

Dr. Seidman is the recipient of the American Heart Association Basic Science Prize and Joseph A. Vita Award, the ASCI Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award, the Pasarow Foundation Award in Cardiovascular Research, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cardiovascular Research, the Institut de France Fondation Lefoulon-Delalande Grand Prix for Science Award and the European Society of Cardiology Gold Medal. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Science.

This event was moderated by Hossein Ardehali, MD, PhD. Dr. Ardehali, the 2021-2022 ASCI President, is Professor of Medicine-Cardiology and Professor of Pharmacology; Director, Medical Scientist Training Program; and Director, Center for Molecular Cardiology, at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

November 10, 2021, 12-1 pm Eastern:

Elaine Fuchs, PhD
“Epithelial Stem Cells: Survival of the Fittest”

Elaine Fuchs is renowned for her research in skin biology, its stem cells and associated genetic disorders, particularly cancers. She is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at The Rockefeller University.

Dr. Fuchs’ awards and honors include the US National Medal of Science, L’Oreal-UNESCO Award, Albany Prize in Medicine, March of Dimes Prize, International Pezcoller Award in Cancer Research, EB Wilson Award in Cell Biology, Vanderbilt Prize, AACR Clowes Award, ISSCR McEwen Award for Innovation in Stem Cell Research, and the Canada Gairdner International Award. She is an honorary member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, American Philosophical Society, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society.

​​This event was moderated by Sophie Paczesny, MD, PhD. Dr. Paczesny is Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology as well as Co-Leader of the Cancer Immunology Program at the Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Paczesny serves on the ASCI Council, is Chair of the ASCI Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee, and Co-Chair of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Immunobiology working group.

October 20, 2021, 1-2 pm Eastern:

Daniel J. Drucker, MD
“Evolving mechanisms and clinical indications for incretin-based therapies”

Dr. Drucker is currently Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Medical Genetics, and Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. He holds the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre-Novo Nordisk Chair in Incretin Biology. Dr. Drucker was elected to the ASCI in 1995 (see profile).

Dr. Drucker is the recipient of numerous awards: the Claude Bernard Medal and Lecture from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, the Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement from the American Diabetes Association, the Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research, the Rolf Luft Award from the Karolinska Institute, the ASCI | Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine (shared with Drs. Joel F. Habener and Jens J. Holst), the Transatlantic Medal of the British Endocrine Society, and the Canada Gairdner International Award. Dr. Drucker is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

This event was moderated by Rexford S. Ahima, MD, PhD. Dr. Ahima, 2018-2022 Editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, is Director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Diabetes in the Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, and the leader of the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Initiative at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Ahima is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians, and the ASCI (elected 2005).

September 15, 2021, 1-2 pm Eastern:

William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD
“von Hippel-Lindau Disease: A Bedside to Bench to Bedside Story”

Dr. Kaelin is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a professor at Harvard Medical School, and a professor and senior physician-scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Kaelin was elected to the ASCI in 1997 (see profile).

Dr. Kaelin is recipient of numerous awards including the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, shared with Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Dr. Gregg L. Semenza for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability; the 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (with Sir Ratcliffe and Dr. Semenza); and the 2012 ASCI Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award (with Dr. Semenza).

This event was moderated by Hossein Ardehali, MD, PhD. Dr. Ardehali, the 2021-2022 ASCI President, is Professor of Medicine-Cardiology and Professor of Pharmacology; Director, Medical Scientist Training Program; and Director, Center for Molecular Cardiology, at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.