Dr. Shandiz Tehrani selected for Physician-Scientist Transitional Support award

Dr. Shandiz Tehrani
Dr. Shandiz Tehrani

The OHSU School of Medicine congratulates Shandiz Tehrani, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology and member of the Casey Eye Institute, who has been selected for the school’s Physician-Scientist Transitional Support award.

Members of the award committee say they were impressed with Tehrani’s overall proposal, record of research productivity and “and the incredibly strong support and dedication conveyed by department chair Dr. Andreas Lauer and the Department of Ophthalmology. The committee is highly confident that Dr. Tehrani will succeed in transitioning to an R01.”

The junior physician-scientist is coming off an NIH Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08). The school’s Transitional Support award of $100,000 over two years will help Tehrani support staffing, materials and equipment for his lab while he seeks his first independent NIH R01 grant.

“The School of Medicine Physician-Scientist Program is a strategic investment in junior faculty that supports their development and ability to work from bench to bedside to advance human health, a broad skillset and passion the importance of which has only been heightened in our current environment,” said Dean Sharon Anderson. “Congratulations to Dr. Tehrani.”

In response to declining numbers of physician-scientists across the U.S. and at OHSU, the School of Medicine launched the Physician-Scientist Program in 2018 to better support clinician-scientist faculty across the career continuum who are conducting research.

The program provides support in a number of areas, including career development and networking and collaboration opportunities. It also offers Dean’s office financial support to help in recruitment and retention efforts. The program augments existing efforts such as the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) supports and services available to investigators conducting translational or clinical research.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Tehrani. “This will help me move from a mentored K08 to an independent research program and will allow me to build on a couple exciting areas I’ve been pursuing in my lab.”

As a physician-scientist, Tehrani splits his time between the clinical and surgical care of glaucoma patients at Casey Eye Institute and laboratory research investigating better treatments for glaucoma, which leads to irreversible blindness and currently has no cure.

Specifically, his lab looks at cellular and molecular mechanisms of glaucomatous optic nerve damage, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel pathways for therapeutic intervention.

“In our lab, we’ve developed a novel surgical method to deliver small molecule drugs to the optic nerve in a rodent model,” said Tehrani. “We’ve validated and published this method, and this award will help us open up new avenues to apply our technique to better understand the basic pathways involved in glaucoma, and test novel therapeutic candidates.”

Tehrani credits the mentorship of John Morrison, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, for helping him with his research career. “John is well known in our field for developing glaucoma models,” said Tehrani. “I’m using his models but applying my new questions to them. It’s been a fruitful collaboration.”

“Dr. Tehrani is an exceptionally productive scientist, a dedicated clinician and surgeon, and a collaborative colleague,” said Lauer, the department chair. “He is poised to become a leader in the field of glaucoma research and is one of few glaucoma specialists with training and experience in cell biology, molecular biology, animal models and local drug delivery to the optic nerve.”

Resources

For information, please visit the school’s Physician-Scientist Program web page (OHSU login required) on O2.

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