Edward Schaeffer, MD, PhD
2008 - 2013 Astellas/Urology Care Foundation Rising Star in Urology Award Winner
Associate Professor of Urology, Oncology, and Pathology
Director of International Urology
Co-Director of the Prostate Cancer Multi-Disciplinary Clinic
Johns Hopkins Medical Institution
Research Project: Roles for Phospholipase A2 Signaling in Prostate Development
Funding Agency: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Funding Term: 2008 - 2013
Sampling of activities and achievements:
- Johns Hopkins Clinician Scientist Award.
- Passano Foundation Clinician Scientist Award.
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician Scientist Early Careers Award.
- Society for Basic Urology Research Young Investigator Award.
- The Journal of Urology Urological Survey Editorial Committee member.
- Dr. Schaeffer has more than 117 peer-reviewed published papers and abstracts, and has contributed to seven medical textbook chapters.
We recently sat down to talk to Dr. Schaeffer about his exciting work in prostate cancer:
What sparked your interest in the field of urology?
Two main things, my father was a urologist and his passion for the field influenced me. It was more of a passive influence-he never actually pressured me into becoming a urologist, but he’s an idol of mine so his pursuit of the field had influence on me. The other influence was my grandfather. He died of prostate cancer and that sparked my interest in the current area that I study which is prostate cancer.
What does your current research study hope to learn?
My current work focuses on the molecular factors that drive prostate cancers to be aggressive and lethal or, conversely, factors that mark cancers as non-aggressive and non-lethal cancer. The best way to identify and distinguish these molecular subtypes of prostate cancer is a major focus of my laboratory.
How will your research impact patients’ lives? How will your work impact urologic health care and patient outcomes?
I hope that by better defining the molecular sub-types of prostate cancer, we will be able to better tailor treatments for patients. In this way, we can reduce overtreatment for some men and, conversely, increase treatment intensity in others. Overall this will improve outcomes and increase the quality of life for patients with prostate cancer.
What are your plans for the future with regards to your work in the field?
I plan to continue on this line of investigation... since it’s a more of a life-long goal.
How has the Urology Care Foundation Rising Star in Urology Award impacted your work? What do you think of the program?
The award has made a very positive impact on my work - it’s allowed me to have the time to focus on this key question in urology in both my clinical practice and my basic science and clinic-translational research. The Urology Care Foundation Rising Star in Urology Award has been essential to my career development. I'd also like to think that the award has allowed me to help my patients in a positive way.
In my opinion this is a critical award, because it encourages clinicians to focus on and attack key problems in urology with scientific rigor. In my opinion there is a tremendous need for clinician scientists moving forward. If you’re a scientist you may not have key clinical interactions that inform the most important needs or particular nuances of a problem. As a clinician, I'm taking experience from the practical/clinical world and bringing it into the lab at a theoretical level. I firmly believe that there remains a huge need for scientists in the field of urology, but without clinical input I believe the science can lack impact.
How do you feel that the Urology Care Foundation Research Award Programs contribute to the future of urologic research and health care?
As a clinician and a scientist, I think I’m able to identify and understand important problems in the area of urology and think about ways to address these problems on a scientific level. The critical part of this program is that it encourages, in a very positive way, young urologists to pursue problems in urology with scientific rigor. Without urologists moving our field forward we will have to rely on other physician specialists or administrators to dictate how we treat and manage urologic diseases.
Click here for more information about Urology Care Foundation-funded research programs.