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Dr. Pilar Alcaide Receives the ASIP 2018 Cotran Early Career Investigator Award

Dr. Maria Pilar Alcaide Alonso (Pilar Alcaide) is the 2018 recipient of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) Cotran Early Career Investigator Award. This award recognizes individuals in the early stages of their career who have demonstrated excellence as investigators and have recently established independence and a research focus leading to an improved understanding of the conceptual basis of disease. The award was named in honor of Dr. Ramzi Cotran, a longtime member of ASIP who was widely recognized as one of the most distinguished and influential academic pathologists of the United States in the 20th century.

Dr. Alcaide is Assistant Professor of Integrative Physiology and Pathobiology at the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and an independent investigator at the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (MCRI), where she combines her expertise in vascular immunology and inflammation with the field of cardiac remodeling and heart failure. Her current work focuses on the mechanisms that recruit T-cell subtypes to inflamed cardiac tissue and the pathophysiological role of T-cell subtypes in heart failure. According to her mentor, Dr. William Luscinskas of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, she and her team have pioneered an emerging field that has revealed T-cells to be major contributors to nonischemic heart failure: “These observations are significant because they identify a rational therapeutic target for this disease, which affects millions of patients worldwide.”

Dr. Alcaide earned her PhD, cum laude, in Molecular Biology and Immunology at the University of Autonoma of Madrid in Spain. Her doctoral research focused on Chagas disease and how T-cells and macrophages are targeted by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi to evade the immune response and persist in the infected host. Her postdoctoral training was in vascular biology, specifically the mechanisms regulating immune cell trafficking across the vascular endothelium.

Dr. Alcaide is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Fulbright postdoctoral grant award (2004-2006), a fellowship award from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education (1999-2003), an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (2009-2014), and the Russo Family Charitable Foundation Award (2013-2014).

In addition, Dr. Alcaide has forged a reputation, according to her associate and co-author, Dr. Patricia D’Amore of Schepens Eye Research Institute, as “…a terrific role model for women in science…a rising star in her field…actively involved in the core activities (research, training and teaching) of ASIP, [with] an impressive career trajectory as an independent and gifted ‘vascular immunologist’ in cardiovascular research of heart failure.”

Dr. Alcaide will receive the Cotran Early Investigator Award at the ASIP 2018 Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology in San Diego, California on Monday, April 23 from 5:15 to 6:30 PM and will present her award lecture, “T- cell Immune Responses and Cardiotropism in Heart Failure,” from 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM on Tuesday April 24, both in Session Room 2 of the San Diego Convention Center.

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