The American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) has elected Smita Bhatia, M.D., and Ravi Bhatia, M.D., to its membership. The Bhatias were among 167 nominees, 64 of whom received the prestigious recognition at an induction ceremony on April 28 in Chicago.
“Election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation is one of the highest honors for research excellence in American academic medicine,” said Theodore Krontiris, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical and scientific affairs. “This brings great recognition to the Bhatias and to City of Hope.”
Chief among ASCI requirements for membership are “meritorious original, creative and independent investigations in the clinical or allied sciences of medicine,” according to bylaws published on the society’s Web site. ASCI also requires that active members be 45 years old or younger. This age limit dates back to the society’s beginnings in the early 1900s, when most scientific organizations only accepted older researchers. At that time organization meetings were the primary forums for communicating research findings, so younger investigators usually were unable to present their results. ASCI distinguished itself by limiting membership to those who were a certain age or younger.
Michael A. Friedman, president and chief executive officer of City of Hope, noted the Bhatias’ election to ASCI during the May 2 City Forum. “The American Society of Clinical Investigators is the premier young person’s medical research organization,” said Friedman. “[ASCI] represents a real expression of the life, excitement and quality in our next generation of scientists.”
Smita Bhatia is chair of the newly established Department of Population Sciences and associate director of the Center for Population Sciences and Cancer Control at City of Hope Cancer Center. Her research focuses primarily on issues related to long-term complications among survivors of cancer, with a special interest in second cancers. She is responsible for constructing and maintaining a national centralized database of adverse events, such as second cancers and cardiovascular complications, developing among children treated on Children’s Oncology Group therapeutic protocols. Her work also aims to determine the role genetic predisposition plays in the development of these events.
Ravi Bhatia is director of the recently formed Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research. His research activities include investigation of the mechanisms underlying the transformation of hematopoietic stem cells into myeloid leukemias and study of the processes whereby certain malignant stem cells develop resistance to targeted therapies. The overall aims of his research include improved understanding of early events in the genesis of leukemia, identification of patients at risk or in early stages of the disease and development of novel preventive or therapeutic strategies.