2016-05-24 23:18:34 UTC

Dr. Chang Receives AGA Young Investigator Award

May 22, 2016

AGA presents John T. Chang, MD, with the AGA-GRG Young Investigator Award in Basic Science at DDW® 2016.

AGA honors John T. Chang, MD with the AGA-GRG Young Investigator Award in Basic Science. Dr. Chang is a talented, intelligent, innovative and ambitious physician-scientist who is having a major impact in the field of fundamental immunology. Throughout his career, Dr. Chang has focused on understanding basic mechanisms underlying lymphocyte fate specification in systemic and mucosal immune responses. This research theme has important relevance to human health and disease, particularly vaccine design for infectious lymphocyte fate specification in systemic and mucosal immune responses. This research theme has important relevance to human health and disease, particularly vaccine design for infectious publications in high impact journals, including Science, Nature Immunology and Immunity, his superb record and seminal contributions make him an exceptional, stand-out independent investigator, or as some call him, a genuine superstar. 

Described as a warm and generous colleague and mentor, and tireless citizen for the field at-large, Dr. Chang has a track record of challenging existing paradigms and pushing his research field into new areas of inquiry. He is an independent thinker with abundant creativity. Beyond numerous invitations to present his work at a variety of national and international scientific conferences, Dr. Chang has, unsurprisingly, acquired a plethora of awards and recognition, including recent election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Successfully obtaining federal grants to continue his research, he has also received a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, a HHMI Physician-Scientist Early Career Award, a V Foundation V Scholar Award, a CCFA Senior Research Award, and an AGA Fellow to Faculty Transition Award.

Dr. Chang is currently at the University of California, San Diego, where he was recently promoted to tenured associate professor of medicine and runs his own laboratory with an independent research program. Dr. Chang is exploring whether pharmacologic modulation of proteasome activity might be a useful strategy for improving memory cell generation, highly relevant for mucosal vaccine development. His team has become a leader in the single-cell genomics field with their innovative work using single-cell transcriptional profiling to investigate T cell differentiation.

Dr. Chang obtained his bachelor of science with honors from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, and his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA. He took two years off during medical school after being selected for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-NIH Research Scholar Award to pursue rigorous basic science research. Working in the Laboratory of Immunology at the NIH, Dr. Chang published six manuscripts, three as first author, within a mere two years. Upon graduation from medical school, Dr. Chang received the Carle H. Spaulding Award for Excellence in Microbiology and Immunology and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. 

After receiving his medical degree, Dr. Chang was recruited to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, for both internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship. Within two years, Dr. Chang published a seminal paper in Science describing, for the first time, a role for asymmetric T cell division in the initiation of an adaptive immune response. The importance of these findings to the scientific community was highlighted as one of the top ten breakthroughs of 2007.

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