Arlene Dent, M.D., Ph.D., Instructor of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, physician of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and researcher at the Center for Global Health & Diseases, has been selected to receive The Career Awards for Medical Scientists (CAMS) from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The award, $700K over 5 years, will allow Dr. Dent to conduct research in biomedicine, infectious diseases and metabolic disorders.
The prestige of the award extends beyond the grant amount; the Burroughs Wellcome Fund received 153 applications nationwide. After careful review, twenty-nine candidates were invited for personal interviews and twenty candidates were chosen as award recipients with the number of final recipients varying from year to year. Candidates must hold a clinical degree and during the award period, 75% of the awardees time must be devoted to research-related activities.
"I couldn't be more excited to receive this prestigious award from an institution that is dedicated to advancing the medical sciences by supporting research," said Dent.
Dr. Dent's research goal is to understand the development of anti-malaria immunity in children. Malaria accounts for 1-2 million deaths yearly, with most of this burden occurring in children under 5 years old in sub-Saharan Africa. A child acquires immunity to blood stage malaria over time with repeated exposure to the parasite. The project will focus on measuring and defining functional anti-malaria antibodies in Kenyan infants and relating this to fetal malaria exposure and subsequent infant malaria infections. The study will take place in Kenya on the southern coast where there is moderate malaria transmission. With the results of this research, Dr. Dent hopes to identify functionally significant infant immune responses to malarial infection that will be essential for developing and monitoring blood stage vaccine in this highly susceptible population.
The award holds special meaning for the School of Medicine; Dr. Dent was one of four females to receive the award overall and only the second recipient at the School of Medicine in the twelve-year history of the CAMS category.
"We congratulate Dr. Dent on her remarkable accomplishment in winning this award. Dr. Dent reflects enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to the field which complements her intellectual contribution to improving human health. We are proud to have her as a member of our faculty," said Pamela B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D., Interim Dean, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
"The past few years have seen dramatic reductions in national government supported research which has greatly affected physician scientists and their decisions concerning pursuing a career in the competitive field of medical research. I am fortunate to have great mentors, Drs. James Kazura and Christopher King, both physician scientists, in addition to fantastic collaborators at the Center for Global Health and Diseases in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University," Dent added.
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