The University of Arizona Health Sciences Career Development Awards program recently selected Hongxu Ding, PhD, an assistant professor of translational pharmacogenomics at the University of Arizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, as one of its five 2023 recipients.
“It’s such a great honor to receive the award,” Dr. Ding said. “I would also like to share this honor with my mentors Qin Chen, PhD, and Hao Zhang, PhD, my supervisors Brian Erstad, PharmD, and Rick Schnellmann, PhD, as well as the Ding lab.”
CDA scholars must complete an independent research project, which is expected to generate sufficient pilot findings to enable the submission of an NIH K-series or R01 grant (or equivalent) by the second year of the program. Each scholar also must choose a lead mentor, or mentors if the project is multidisciplinary.
Dr. Ding’s research aims to combine bioinformatics algorithms and stem cell biology approaches to manufacture human esophageal basal cells. “Such cells are adult stem cells, which are able to establish the entire esophageal epithelium. The successful completion of my proposal will shed light on the regenerative medicine of esophageal genetic defects and wounds,” he said.
Dr. Chen, a professor and director of pharmacogenomics in the College of Pharmacy, a member of the UArizona Cancer Center and Dr. Ding’s mentor, said she was happy to recruit Dr. Ding to the college. “Dr. Ding is a sophisticated computational scientist who applies his mathematical skill to basic science questions involving genomics, DNA or RNA sequencing. He has added energy and a depth of knowledge on the subject of artificial intelligence to the program. It is wonderful that UArizona Health Sciences recognizes Dr. Ding’s talent,” she said.
Dr. Ding said this award means a lot to his career. “This honor comes with valuable supports and, most importantly, gives me confidence that I am on the right track in my research and career.”
The CDA program was established by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences in 2014 to provide research training and funding for early-career faculty members and foster academic careers in clinical and translational research. Each year, the recipients of the two-year award receive 75% protected time for research, plus salary support and funding for research-related activities and travel.
Other recipients of the 2023 CDA are:
- Lauren Benton, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicine – Tucson
- Kellen Chen, PhD, assistant research professor of surgery at the College of Medicine – Tucson
- Tobias Jakobi, PhD, assistant professor of internal medicine at the College of Medicine – Phoenix
- Bridget Murphy, DBH, MEd, assistant research professor of health promotion sciences at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health