School of Medicine funds three Physician-Scientist New Appointment Awards

In a demonstration of significant commitment to junior physician-scientists, the School of Medicine funded three Physician-Scientist New Appointment Support awards during its most recent funding round.

The support totals $1.5 million over three years.

“I’m pleased we can support not one but three junior physician-scientists this time,” said Dean Sharon Anderson. “It’s gratifying to do our part to help to grow the ranks of physician-scientists and nurture their careers.”

Each $500,000 award supports the recruitment package for prospective and/or newly-hired physician-scientist faculty in order to accelerate and support their success in establishing an independently funded research career.

The Physician-Scientist Program also provides professional support to awardees, including tailored feedback on grants and assistance finding collaborators, as well as professional development resources.

The School of Medicine Dean’s office launched the program last year to better support the careers of clinician-scientist faculty members who are conducting research. The goal of the program is to deploy a comprehensive approach that provides support across the professional continuum.

Please join Dean Anderson in congratulating the following faculty.

New Awardees

Dr. Atheir Abbas
Dr. Atheir Abbas

Atheir Abbas, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU School of Medicine, with a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry; Staff Psychiatrist, VA Portland Health Care System

Dr. Abbas joined the faculty in August. He earned his M.D./Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 2011 and completed his residency in psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in 2015. He completed postdoctoral research fellowships in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute.

His graduate work focused on serotonin receptor mechanisms as they relate to antipsychotic and psychedelic drug action and associated neural processes. During his postgraduate research, he used in vivo neural recordings in awake, behaving mice to study the circuit mechanisms underlying working memory with the goal of better understanding the neural basis for cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. His research interests include studying the role of interneurons in regulating working memory circuitry and associated task-related information and using advanced computational techniques to analyze high density neural recordings to better understand how populations of neurons represent behaviorally-relevant information. 

Dr. Robert Eil
Dr. Robert Eil

Robert Eil, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Surgery, Cell, Development and Cancer Biology, OHSU School of Medicine; Director of Solid Tumor Surgical Immuno-oncology, Knight Cancer Institute

Dr. Eil will join the faculty in August 2020. Dr. Eil is a surgeon-scientist with a long-term goal of applying T cell-based immunotherapy to cancers involving the liver.

He received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010 and graduated from OHSU’s general surgery residency program in 2018, completing 3 years as a research fellow in tumor immunology within the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI/NIH) from 2013 to 2016. Dr. Eil’s recruitment back to OHSU will follow the completion of an additional 2-year clinical surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Dr. Eil’s scientific focus centers on how tumors escape destruction by the immune system. During Dr. Eil’s work as a research fellow at the NIH, he found that cell death within tumors leads to a local ion imbalance that profoundly affects the anti-cancer function of T cells – the type of immune cell that is responsible for tumor destruction (Eil et al., Nature 2016 & Science 2019). His findings have broad implications for cancer immunotherapy. Upon his arrival to OHSU in 2020, Dr. Eil is looking forward to integrating his scientific and clinical interests, bringing immune based therapies to patients with cancers involving the liver that currently have limited effective treatment options. 

Dr. Steven Mansoor
Dr. Steven Mansoor

Steven Mansoor, M.D. Ph.D. ’09 R ’11 F ’17

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, OHSU School of Medicine; secondary appointment in the Department of Chemical Physiology and Biochemistry; Member, Knight Cardiovascular Institute

Dr. Mansoor joined the faculty in 2017. He earned his M.D./Ph.D. from OHSU in 2009. For his Ph.D. dissertation, he was awarded an F30 pre-doctoral fellowship from the NIH to work in David Farrens’ lab developing fluorescence techniques to study membrane protein structure and conformational changes, with a focus on understanding the dynamics of G-protein coupled receptor activation. He completed residency training in internal medicine at OHSU in 2011 and then fast-tracked into a research-focused clinical fellowship in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at OHSU. He received an F32 fellowship award from the NIH to work as a postdoctoral research fellow in Dr. Eric Gouaux’s Lab investigating the structure/function of purinergic receptors, completing that training in 2017. He then received a K99/R00 NIH Career Development Award to continue his structural biology work on purinergic receptors.

The overarching goals of his research are to use techniques in structural biology and techniques in electrophysiology to study the structure, function and signaling of P2X receptor ion channels to identify and develop novel, high-affinity, subtype-selective small molecule agonists and antagonists for the treatment of cardiovascular conditions such as angina, hypertension and platelet aggregation. This research vision has the potential to span from studying ligand/receptor interactions at the bench, to the development of novel drug therapies that will be tested for safety in animals and efficacy in humans through clinical trials, to ultimately treating patients with cardiovascular disease at the bedside.

For more information, please visit the school’s Physician-Scientist Program web page (OHSU login required).