Sunil K. Ahuja, M.D., was awarded a $1.5 million Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) to pursue further his groundbreaking research on understanding host factors that influence HIV/AIDS. Dr. Ahuja is professor of medicine, microbiology/immunology and biochemistry, director of the Veteranís Administration Center for AIDS and HIV Infection and the Presidentís Council/Dielmann Chair for Excellence in Medical Research at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.
Dr. Ahuja attributed the award to the hard work and creativity of the members of his lab.
"I am indebted to my team for their dedication. I am very blessed to work side-by-side with this very talented group of individuals, and I am so proud of each of them," Dr. Ahuja said.
The foundation received 68 nominations from 43 institutions. The final six candidates were selected after a rigorous grant-review process and interviews with the DDCF Medical Research Programís Scientific Advisory Council.
"These are the skilled physicians who will contribute to the translation of basic science to clinical medicine and teach younger physicians to follow in their footsteps. Such physicians are absolutely required if we are to prevent and improve the treatment of serious illnesses," said David Nathan, M.D., chair of the foundationís Scientific Advisory Council.
Since Dr. Ahuja joined the Health Science Center faculty in 1996, he has been awarded more than $20 million in federal and non-federal research funding. In 2005 Dr. Ahuja was recognized with a rare and prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health. Fewer than 5 percent of NIH-funded investigators are selected to receive the honor.
Passionate about training the next generation of scientists, Dr. Ahuja said: "I really enjoy seeing young people learn in the lab and become excited about science and discovery."
Last year, he was featured in Texas Monthly magazineís "35 People Who Will Shape our Future," a list of the top innovative Texans. In addition to HIV/AIDS, his laboratory also conducts research on atherosclerosis, cancer and autoimmune diseases such as lupus and arthritis.
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