Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Researcher Receives American Society of Hematology Scholar Award

December 7, 2016

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) has awarded a 2017 Scholar Award to Craig Byersdorfer, M.D., Ph.D., a Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC hematologist and blood and marrow transplant physician.

One of ASH’s most prestigious award programs, the ASH Scholar Awards financially support fellows and junior faculty dedicated to careers in hematology research as they transition from training programs to careers as independent scientists.

Dr. Byersdorfer is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapies at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, a division within the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He also holds a secondary appointment in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Immunology.

Dr. Byersdorfer is one of 12 researchers to be awarded the ASH Scholar junior faculty award, which will provide $150,000 over a three-year period for his lab to carry on work related to blood and marrow transplantation (BMT). The program funds hematologists in North America who conduct basic, translational and clinical research that furthers the understanding and treatment of blood disorders.

“Given the caliber and accomplishments of past recipients, I am extremely honored to receive an American Society of Hematology Scholar Award this year,” Dr. Byersdorfer said. “Blood and marrow transplantation is a curative procedure for a variety of hematologic disorders, but the benefits of BMT often are outweighed by the risk of post-transplant complications, including when immune cells from the donor attack and destroy tissues in the host.

“My lab will use funds from the ASH Scholar Award to study these post-transplant complications, as well as ways to overcome them, in an effort to make BMT a safer and more effective therapy for patients with otherwise incurable disease,” he added.

“This award has launched the careers of many independent researchers in hematology,” said ASH President Charles Abrams, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. “The scholars we are supporting today have demonstrated creativity and commitment to hematology research, and I have no doubt that their studies will lead to important discoveries in our understanding of blood diseases, treatment and patient care.”

For more than 30 years, the program has supported more than 360 researchers who are now part of a network of members leading the Society through their contributions to the research enterprise, Society committee service, and engagement in the ASH annual meeting.

ASH Scholar Awards are made possible through support from the ASH Foundation as well as from the corporate community, individual donors and funds committed by the Society.

The overarching goal within the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapies is to design and implement biologically rational transplantation regimens for patients with high-risk leukemia/lymphoma and life-threatening inherited conditions, including bone marrow failure syndromes, immune deficiency, autoimmune disease and neurodegeneration.

For more information on Dr. Byersdorfer and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, visit