American Thyroid Association Awards Research Grant to to Connie Rhee, MD, MSc, The Regents of the University of California (University of California Irvine)

By June 16, 2017 March 3rd, 2024 Past News Releases

Connie Rhee, MDSupported by the ATA

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is pleased to announce that it has awarded a 2016 Thyroid Research Grant to Connie Rhee, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, University of California Irvine (Orange, CA), for the project entitled “Thyroid Functional Disease, Mental Health, and  Quality of Life in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients.” The overall goal of Dr. Rhee’s project is to determine whether thyroid functional disorders increase risk of depression and reduced health-related quality of life (QOL) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and, if so what is the potential to ameliorate these effects using thyroid hormone replacement.

Patients with CKD, many of whom require dialysis, are more likely to have thyroid functional disease than their peers without CKD. Recent findings indicate that hypothyroidism is associated with a higher risk of death in patients with CKD, but no mechanism to explain this link has been identified. Depression may be an important contributor to this increased mortality risk, as it is a complication of both thyroid dysfunction and CKD.

Dr. Rhee will first examine of thyroid dysfunction on patient-reported mental health and quality of life in a group of patients with CKD undergoing hemodialysis, based on data collected in an NIH-sponsored study. She will then explore the association between hypothyroidism and the development of new-onset depression in pre-dialysis CKD patients and whether the use of thyroid hormone replacement can impact the development of depression and reduced QOL using data from hundreds of thousands of U.S. veterans. Bio

Dr. Motoyasu Saji, Chair, ATA Research Committee says, “The ATA research grant program has been supporting young scientists in various thyroid-related research area, including clinical, translational, and basic areas. Every year we receive over 50 Grant applications from various countries. We excite to see young thyroid researchers, who attack current clinical problems and basic scientific questions using state of art technologies, new ideas, and new views. Many current leaders in the ATA were award recipients and this tells us how this program is important for us. We hope that this grant will be one of gateway to succeed in carrier as thyroid researchers and they will become leaders in next generation in the ATA. Finally, we appreciate all supports from members and various organizations, including cancer survivors, to make us possible creating excellent program.”

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has awarded 85 thyroid research grants totaling over $2.2 million since the inception of the Research Fund. In addition, the ATA rigorously manages the selection of research projects and distribution of over $1.8 million generously donated to the ATA specifically for research grants from ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc., Bite Me Cancer and Thyroid Head and Neck Cancer Foundation. For information on other research grants underway and funded by the ATA, see

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. (ThyCa) has provided funding in support of 60 special research grants totaling $1,680,000 focused on thyroid cancer and medullary thyroid cancer since 2003. ThyCa is supporting three research grants in 2016 and three renewing grants. ThyCa is a member of the ATA Alliance for Patient Education. Find out more at

Bite Me Cancer (BMC) is our newest grant funder supporting five thyroid cancer grants since 2014 for a total of $143,750. BMC will be supporting a new thyroid cancer grant in 2016 and one renewing grant. BMC is a member of the ATA Alliance for Patient Education. Find out more at


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 individual membership organization for over 1,700 clinicians and researchers from 43 countries around the world, representing a broad diversity of medical disciplines. It also serves the public, patients and their family through education and awareness efforts.

Celebrating its 94th anniversary, ATA delivers its mission through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded monthly journals, THYROID, Clinical Thyroidology, VideoEndocrinology and Clinical Thyroidology for the Public; 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.

More information about ATA is found at