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Shashi to accept Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Award on behalf of UDN

Friday, February 8, 2019
Vandana Shashi

The Clinical Research (CR) Forum will honor ten outstanding clinical research studies, including The Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN), at the 2019 Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards at the National Press Club on March 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. Vandana Shashi, MBBS, MD, professor of pediatrics in the Division of Medical Genetics and principal investigator for the UDN at Duke, has been nominated to accept the award on behalf of the entire UDN.

These award-winning studies exemplify major advances, resulting from the nation’s investment in research, to benefit the health and welfare of its citizens, and reflect the influential work being conducted by investigators at nearly 60 research institutions and hospitals across the United States, as well as at partner institutions from around the world. All nominated studies were published in peer-reviewed journals between November 2017 and December 2018.

The winners were selected based on the degree of innovation and novelty involved in the advancement of science; contribution to the understanding of human disease and/or physiology; and potential impact upon the diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of disease.

The Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN), nominated by the National Human Genome Research Institute, represented by Vandana Shashi, MBBS, MD, professor of pediatrics in the Division of Medical Genetics and principal investigator for the UDN at Duke, and Kim Leblanc, associate director of research operations for the Undiagnosed Diseases Coordinating Center based at Harvard University. Rare, novel, and undiagnosed disorders challenge patients, their families, and their clinicians. The goals of the UDN are to develop a model to speed the diagnosis of rare or previously unrecognized diseases, improve care, and stimulate research. The UDN plans to reach these objectives by growing the numbers of experts who can make accurate diagnoses, by determining best practices for introducing the strategy into medical centers nationwide, and by sharing results, data, specimens, and approaches with the scientific and medical communities.

At the awards ceremony, three of the Top 10 studies will receive additional recognition and cash prizes:

  • The Herbert Pardes Clinical Research Excellence Award, named in honor of CR Forum board member Herbert Pardes for his profound impact on clinical research and academic medicine; this award, which comes with a $7,500 cash prize, is for the research study that best shows a high degree of innovation and creativity, advances science, and has an impact upon human disease. 
  • The Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Awards, presented to the top two studies that show creativity, innovation, or a novel approach that demonstrates an immediate impact on the health and well-being of patients. Each study will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

Awardees will have the opportunity to meet with policymakers the day after the ceremony to discuss their findings and the critical role of federal funding for clinical research.

See the complete list of winners

About the Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards

Recognizing the need to celebrate our nation's clinical research accomplishments that involve both innovation and impact on human disease, the Clinical Research Forum conducts an annual competition to determine the ten outstanding research accomplishments in the United States. These major research advances represent a portion of the annual return on the nation's investment in the health and future welfare of its citizens. 

About the Clinical Research Forum

The mission of the Clinical Research Forum is to provide leadership to the national and clinical translational research enterprise and promote understanding and support for clinical research and its impact on health and healthcare. For more information, visit

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