By Leslie Ridgeway
With a goal of helping young researchers launch their careers, the Meira and Shaul G. Massry Foundation has provided a $175,000 gift to the Keck School of Medicine of USC Dean’s Fifth-Year Research Scholars program.
With this gift, seven fourth-year medical students have the opportunity to focus on research projects for a year after graduation from medical school.
Fifth-year scholars receive a stipend of $25,000 each to continue their research. The $175,000 gift is $75,000 more than last year’s gift, giving three more students an opportunity for support.
“I believe that a student who has finished four years of medical school and is ready to postpone his or her career is motivated to be a scientist, and that’s critical,” said Shaul Massry, MD, professor emeritus of medicine, physiology and biophysics at the Keck School and president of the Massry Foundation.
The Foundation is best known for the prize in medicine that it offers to noted scientists — 10 of the 31 Massry Prize winners have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.
Massry served as chief of the division of nephrology at the Keck School from 1974 to 2000, and has received honorary doctorates from 14 European universities.
He has published more than 600 scientific papers and 111 book chapters and has edited 32 books. He created the Massry Foundation in 1995.
According to Massry, encouraging new scientists is vital to the future of medicine. “Clinical medicine is critical,” he said. “It’s very important to take care of patients. But to treat disease and to find the right avenues for medications and therapy, we need to understand the disease and what causes it. You need investigators to search for the causes of disease.”
Keck School Dean Carmen A. Puliafito, MD, MBA, agrees. “I created the Dean’s Fifth-Year Scholar program to give students the opportunity to spend a full year working on focused research projects to prepare them for further research after graduation and encourage them in the development of their academic medical careers,” he said. “We thank Dr. Massry for his foundation’s generous contribution to help our students meet those goals.”