Newswise — Akshay Sharma, MBBS, of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, is the recipient of a 2020 Scholar Award from the American Society of Hematology (ASH). One of ASH’s most prestigious research award programs, the ASH Scholar Award provides financial support to an early career hematology researcher.

Sharma is an instructor in the Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. He works on sickle cell disease research with his department chair, Stephen Gottschalk, M.D., and with Mitchell Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Hematology.

"The ASH Scholar Award will help fund our research to bring novel gene therapies for sickle cell disease to the clinic,” Sharma said. “It also shows the commitment ASH has to achieving a cure for this disease.”

“I am proud Dr. Sharma has received an ASH Scholar Award," Gottschalk said. “These are very competitive awards. The award highlights his potential to develop into a leading translational cell therapist for non-malignant hematological disorders, including sickle cell disease.”

Weiss said: “Dr. Sharma is a talented, dedicated physician-scientist doing cutting-edge research in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and gene therapy that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of patients. He represents the best of the St. Jude junior faculty.”

2020 ASH President Stephanie Lee, M.D., of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, congratulated the 39 recipients of its 2020 Scholar Awards who are working to further the understanding and treatment of blood disorders.

“For many scientists, attaining early funding for their research is a turning point, not only providing financial support but also showing that ASH believes in their potential to make impactful discoveries,” Lee said.