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.
- 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
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.