Dr. Rajan Kulkarni selected for inaugural Physician-Scientist New Appointment Support award

Rajan Kulkarni, M.D. Ph.D., staff dermatologist, VA Portland Health Care System, and assistant professor of dermatology, OHSU School of Medicine, has been selected as the first awardee for OHSU's Physician-Scientist New Appointment Support award.

The $500,000 award over a three-year period supports the recruitment package for prospective and/or newly-hired physician-scientist faculty.

The award is part of the school’s Physician-Scientist Program launched last year to better support the careers of clinician-scientist faculty members who are conducting research. The program is a comprehensive approach that provides support across the professional continuum.

“This award helps departments and units create robust start-up packages for new physician-scientists,” said Dean Sharon Anderson. “With a supported career path, junior physician-scientists can work on the pilot data they’ll need to eventually seek independent funding. Congratulations to Dr. Kulkarni.”

Dr. Kulkarni was jointly recruited last year by the Department of Dermatology, the VA Portland Health Care System and the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center (CEDAR) at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. He joined the OHSU faculty in July 2018.

“The support of the Physician-Scientist Award will be instrumental in helping my research program to expand faster and for my lab to address cutting-edge and cross-disciplinary questions for which we don’t yet have initial data but hold great promise,” said Dr. Kulkarni. “This award will also allow me to expand intramural and extramural collaborations. I am grateful not only for the funding but also the career support provided by OHSU School of Medicine and senior faculty.”

“Receiving this award gives Dr. Kulkarni the opportunity to expand into other currently unfunded areas of research that are high risk but have the potential for extremely high reward,” said Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., chair and professor of dermatology, OHSU School of Medicine. “We are confident in his potential to succeed as a physician scientist, and most important, to make a difference in the field and for all cancer patients.”

The award selection committee agreed, saying it was impressed with Dr. Kulkarni’s potential as a physician scientist. “He’s demonstrated remarkable research productivity in terms of publications, grants and pursuing collaborative research projects,” wrote members of the committee. “He’s published 46 research publications, including eight as senior author. Moreover, the rate of publication has increased over the past two to three years. Similarly regarding grants, he has competed successfully for several foundation grants, including a career development award and has been a finalist for the NIH New Innovator Award. All this productivity predicts that he will be successful in obtaining R01 funding.”