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ROCHESTER, Minn. ─ Two Mayo Clinic researchers have been named to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, bringing the total Mayo membership in the honorary society of physician-scientists to 39. Liewei Wang, M.D., Ph.D., a pharmacologist, and Martin Fernandez-Zapico, M.D., a pancreatic cancer biologist, were named to the society from several hundred nominees nationally. The society has 3,000 members.
“Drs. Wang and Fernandez-Zapico well deserve this honor, for their scientific contributions to the unmet needs of patients,” says Gregory Gores, M.D., executive dean of research, Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic has a great number of physician-scientists who turn to research when existing therapies are not enough.”
Dr. Wang is a specialist in pharmacogenomics, the study of choosing the right medication, at the right dose to work with an individual’s genomic makeup. In her laboratory, she uses genomic-based tools to identify biomarkers that can help predict a patient response to a given drug or dose. She also researches the genomics of cancer tumors to determine the most effective anti-tumor drugs.
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Dr. Fernandez-Zapico’s research aims to understand the epigenetic pathways regulating the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer, predicted to be the second cause of cancer death by 2030. Two main focus areas are the signaling regulation of transcriptional processes that fine-tune the growth of cancer and the epigenetic regulation of the tumor microenvironment. He and his team say they believe both avenues of research will provide foundation for new cancer therapies for this devastating disease.
“It is a real honor for me to be elected as a member of this group that includes many outstanding physician-scientists from great academic institutions,” says Dr. Wang. “This is also recognition of Mayo as a premiere academic medical center, where basic and clinical scientists can perform state-of-the-art translational research and a place that provides a very supportive environment for translational research.”
“This is great. I feel honored, pleased, excited and happy,” Dr. Fernandez-Zapico says about his selection. “This reaffirms my commitment to this disease, my present line of research and the choices I’ve made during my career. It says I’m on the right track with my work, and the path I selected is a good one. Now, I can proceed with even greater confidence.”
Dr. Wang received her medical degree at Fudan University Medical School in China, and completed her doctorate and postdoctoral fellowship at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Fernandez-Zapico received his medical degree from the National University of Córdoba in Córdoba, Argentina, and completed research fellowships at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
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