The University of Arizona Health Sciences Career Development Awards (CDA) program recently selected Matthew Dodson, PhD, assistant research professor in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department at the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, as one of its four 2022 recipients.
“I was both excited and humbled to learn that I had received a University of Arizona Health Sciences Career Development Award,” said Dr. Dodson. “This is the first award I have received as a junior faculty, and I think it serves as a clear indicator of the commitment Health Sciences has shown with regards to ensuring the success and career development of its newer faculty members.”
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. Dodson received his CDA for his research investigating mechanisms of autophagy dysfunction in promoting Type II diabetes. He explained that the autophagy pathway plays an integral role in recycling old or damaged cellular components, as well as maintaining overall cell metabolism.
“Importantly, dysfunction of this pathway has been implicated in driving the development of many diabetic outcomes. My work focuses on determining how genetic, dietary and environmental toxin-induced autophagy dysfunction increases the risk of developing these diabetic phenotypes using cell and animal-based studies.”
“Matthew is a highly engaged member of the lab who doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult concepts and projects,” said Donna Zhang, PhD, Musil Family Endowed Chair in Drug Discovery, and professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy. “He continues to develop novel scientific projects and experimental ideas, write papers and grants, train and mentor young trainees/students, as well as attend seminars and scientific meetings vital to the advancement of his academic career. I strongly believe that he has a bright future as an academic scientist ahead of him.”
“Along with providing me mentorship and guidance over the past several years, Donna has always encouraged me to apply for awards and funding, recognizing these opportunities as an integral part of my progression towards independence,” said Dr. Dodson. “I am truly grateful for all of her support along the way.” Dr. Zhang has been Dr. Dodson’s mentor since he was a postdoctoral researcher.
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 to foster academic careers in clinical and translational research. Each year, the four 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 2022 CDA are:
- Asmaa AbuMaziad, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicine – Tucson
- Shirin Doroudgar, PhD, assistant professor of internal medicine at the College of Medicine – Phoenix
- Allison J. Huff, DHEd, assistant professor of family and community medicine at the College of Medicine – Tucson