Sponsored by the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and USCAP

The Ramzi S. Cotran Young Investigator Award was established by the USCAP Board of Directors to recognize a body of investigative work which has contributed significantly to the diagnosis and understanding of human disease. This award is restricted to USCAP members who are under the age of 45 and in good standing with USCAP for at least one year prior to receiving the award.

This important award is named after Dr. Ramzi S. Cotran, Past-President of USCAP, outstanding pathologist, person, and mentor. The award consists of a commemorative plaque and $5,000.

Selection Process

  • Application form, completed and signed by the applicant
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Letter from a nominating sponsor (not necessarily a USCAP member) summarizing the nominee’s qualifications for the award
  • Supporting letter from an additional sponsor who must be a member of USCAP
Awardees are selected by The Ramzi S. Cotran Young Investigator Award Committee. Committee members rank the candidates and provide their assessment to the Committee Chair. The Chair notifies the Executive Vice President (EVP) of his/her selection. The EVP presents the individual to the Board of Directors for ratification (preferably at the Interim Meeting) and subsequently notifies the winner and arranges for the plaque and check. The awardee does not have to be present at the Annual Meeting and travel funds are not included.
It is preferable that the Ramzi S. Cotran Professor (Harvard Medical School) and Chair, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Jeffrey A. Golden, present the award on March 3, 2020 during the USCAP Annual Meeting at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Note:  The deadline for The Ramzi S. Cotran Young Investigator Award is
Friday, October 11, 2019.

Laura D. Wood, MD, PhD

2019 Ramzi S. Cotran Young Investigator Award

Dr. Wood is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology, Division of Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She received her BS in Biology from the College of William & Mary, graduating Summa Cum Laude with membership in Phi Beta Kappa. During her undergraduate years, she began her involvement in biological research, studying the nuclear transport of the thyroid hormone receptor with Dr. Lizabeth Allison. She then went on to earn both her MD and PhD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. She completed her PhD research in the laboratory of Dr. Bert Vogelstein, where she led the first whole exome sequencing studies in human cancers. These studies describing the “genomic landscape” of breast and colorectal cancers, which represented the most comprehensive analysis of cancer genomes at that time, had profound implications for tumorigenesis in these common tumor types and served as models for numerous subsequent whole exome studies of a variety of tumor types. Dr. Wood then went on to complete residency in Anatomic Pathology (serving as Chief Resident in her final year) and fellowship in Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. During residency and fellowship, she remained an important collaborator with the Vogelstein laboratory, using her pathology expertise to develop a strategy to confirm the quality of primary tumor tissue for genetic analysis. She also led multiple exome sequencing studies in pancreatobiliary tumors during the collaboration, including the comprehensive genomic analysis of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. In addition, she participated in several projects with mentors in Pathology correlating morphology and genetics in gastrointestinal and liver neoplasms. Now, she leads her own translational research laboratory focused on molecular characterization of pancreatobiliary cancers and their precursor lesions. Her research group’s analyses of pancreatic cancer precursor lesions have revealed several important insights into pancreatic tumorigenesis, such as the absence of SMAD4 mutations in high-grade pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and the unexpected independence of co-occurring intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm and pancreatic cancer. Such studies have defined the evolutionary trajectory of pancreatic cancer precursor lesions, with critical implications for early detection approaches. In addition, Dr. Wood’s group has also applied several novel techniques to human pancreatic neoplasms, including single-cell DNA sequencing and three-dimensional culture models, which will allow further interrogation of the molecular basis of pancreatic neoplasia. Throughout her career, Dr. Wood has received several awards for her work, including the American Association for Cancer Research Team Science Award and the Jack Yardley Investigator Award from the Gastrointestinal Pathology Society. She also has an active clinical practice, signing out gastrointestinal biopsy specimens.

Previous Award Recipients

2019 Laura D. Wood
2018 Lynette M. Sholl
2017 Anthony J. Gill
2016 Donna Hansel
2015 Charles Mullighan
2014 John Iafrate
2013 Celina Kleer
2012 Cristina Antonescu
2011 Shuji Ogino
2010 Jorge S. Reis-Filho
2009 Christine Lacobuzio-Donahue
2008 Anirban Maitra
2007 Arul M. Chinnaiyan
2006 Kojo S. J. Elenitoba-Johnson
2005 Marc Ladanyi
2004 Mark A. Rubin
2003 Julia A. Bridge
2002 Frederic G. Barr
2001 Ralph Hruban
2000 Mary Sunday
1999 Lawrence M. Weiss
1998 Cheryl L. Willman
1997 Christopher D.M. Fletcher
1996 James R. Downing