Medical Research Foundation award winner – Joshi Alumkal, M.D.

Joshi Alumkal Award
Joshi Alumkal, M.D., co-leader of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Prostate Cancer Research Program, was honored with the 2014 Medical Research Foundation’s Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award.

Joshi Alumkal, M.D.associate professor, division of hematology and medical oncology, prostate cancer physician and co-leader of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Prostate Cancer Research Program, was honored in Nov. 2014 with the Medical Research Foundation’s Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award.

Alumkal won the award for his work to improve clinical trials and his efforts in developing more effective treatments for advanced prostate cancer.  “It’s an incredible honor to receive this, especially given the other great researchers in Oregon,” he said. “The award will bring more attention to the work we’re doing in advanced prostate cancer and put a spotlight on the innovative ways our program is trying to tackle the problem.”

As part of his application material, Alumkal detailed his efforts to implement smarter clinical trials that run more like lab tests; rather than wondering simply whether a drug works, Alumkal hopes to find out why it does or doesn’t work. His team does this by performing research biopsies on trial participants, collecting tissue samples before and after the trial starts, and analyzing the evolution of cancer over the course of a trial.

The Medical Research Foundation was founded in 1942 and became an affiliate committee of the OHSU Foundation in 1994. The program awards more than $1 million each year to support research projects throughout Oregon; the Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award is intended to honor a new investigator who shows promise early in a career in biomedical research. Nominees are judged on a variety of factors, including quality of science, national funding, and first or senior authored publications in peer-reviewed research journals.

Alumkal said the award had special meaning, because the first grant he applied for after joining the Knight Cancer Institute in 2007 was from the Medical Research Foundation. He has since reviewed similar proposals from other researchers as a member of the School of Medicine’s Research Committee. “I see firsthand the great work that the Medical Research Foundation does,” Alumkal said. “That’s why I’m so honored to receive the New Investigator award.”

Other awards given by the Medical Research Foundation this year were to:

  • Fay Horak, Ph.D., professor of neurology in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, and physical therapist and motor control neurophysiologist in the OHSU Parkinson Center of Oregon, received the Mentor Award.
  • The late George Bailey, Ph.D., a distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and retired principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, was honored with the Discovery Award.