American Thyroid Association Announces 2015 Research Grant Awards

By October 16, 2015 August 8th, 2017 2015 News Releases, News Releases, Thyroid Research Grants

Novel Insights and Information on Potential Leads to New Drugs and Therapeutic Methods to Help Improve Thyroid Cancer Treatment

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is pleased to announce the awarding of first-year grants to support two young researchers selected from among a pool of applicants who proposed projects that will contribute novel insights and information with the potential to lead to new drug targets and therapeutic strategies to improve the treatment of thyroid cancer and patient outcomes.

“One important function of the American Thyroid Association is to review and fund early career research grants submitted by promising young investigators,” says Robert C. Smallridge, MD, ATA President. “This year, meritorious proposals from both PhD scientists and clinician investigators, both within the United States and internationally, were selected.  When completed, these awards will result in the publication of important new observations, and hopefully help the investigators in their requests for further research funding from federal sources.”

Juan Nicola, PhDJuan Nicola, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, National University of Córdoba, Argentina, received an ATA grant for the project “Uncovering Na+/I Symporter (NIS) Interacting Proteins: Implications for Radioiodide Therapy Efficiency and Diagnosis of Radioiodide-Avid Thyroid Tumors.” The sodium/iodide symporter, NIS, mediates the transport of iodide across the cell membrane and into thyroid cells. Radioiodide therapy to treat thyroid cancer uses the NIS to deliver the radioactive payload into tumor cells. Dr. Nicola proposes to identify proteins that interact with NIS and help guide it to the cell surface. Defects in NIS trafficking may be present in some forms of thyroid cancer, making them less responsive to radioiodide therapy. Bio

Sarah Oltmann, MDSarah Oltmann, MD, Assistant Professor at University of Texas Southwestern-Dallas, and Director of Endocrine Surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital, is pursuing research to develop a mouse model that spontaneously develops medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a rare and aggressive form of cancer that spreads to lymph nodes in the neck and distant organs and for which there are few treatment options. The funded project, entitled “Cancer Progression and Therapeutic Response in a Mouse Model of Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma,” will continue ongoing work to improve a mouse model of MTC that, following surgical removal of the thyroid, can be monitored to study the progression of metastatic disease and used for preclinical testing of new therapeutic agents. Bio

“The ATA research grant program has played an increasingly influential role in encouraging, attracting and supporting early-stage faculty scientists in embarking on an academic career in thyroidology,” says Mingzhao Xing, MD, PhD, ATA Research Committee Chair. “This year we have received a record-breaking number of applications from all over the world.  It is exciting to see outstanding, talented young investigators, representing various areas of thyroidology, become the finalists to receive this prestigious award, providing a new source for future leaders in thyroidology.”


The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international membership medical society with over 1,700 members from 43 countries around the world. Celebrating its 92nd anniversary, the ATA delivers its mission — of being devoted to thyroid biology and to the prevention and treatment of thyroid disease through excellence in research, clinical care, education, and public health — through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded professional journals, Thyroid, Clinical Thyroidology, and VideoEndocrinology; annual scientific meetings; biennial clinical and research symposia; research grant programs for young investigators, support of online professional, public and patient educational programs; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer. The ATA promotes thyroid awareness and information through its online Clinical Thyroidology for the Public (distributed free of charge to over 11,000 patients and public subscribers) and extensive, authoritative explanations of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer in both English and Spanish. The ATA website serves as the clinical resource for patients and the public who look for reliable information on the Internet.