April 24, 2023 — The 2024 recipient of the ASIP Young Scientist Leadership Award is Dr. Daisy Shu, an Instructor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass Eye and Ear, and Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA).
The ASIP Young Scientist Leadership Award recognizes outstanding and sustained achievements at the earliest stages of a career in biomedical research. Characteristics expected of the awardee include exceptional volunteered service and/or leadership within the ASIP, as well as achievements that form the foundation for a successful career as an experimental pathology researcher (scientific publications, scientific presentations at national/international meetings, and awards for excellent research).
Dr. Shu graduated from The University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) with a Bachelor of Optometry and a Bachelor of Science (Vision) in 2017. She then completed her PhD at the University of Sydney (Sydney, Australia) in the Lens Research Laboratory headed by Dr. Frank Lovicu in 2019, where she explored growth factor signaling pathways during cataract formation. Dr. Shu then relocated to Boston, MA to pursue postdoctoral research with Dr. Magali Saint-Geniez and Dr. Leo Kim at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass Eye and Ear (2019-2022). Dr. Shu’s postdoctoral research on the role of mitochondria and metabolism in retinal eye diseases was supported by the Fight for Sight Leonard & Robert Weintraub Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Macular Degeneration Research from the BrightFocus Foundation. Dr. Shu was promoted to Instructor in May 2022 and she continues to investigate the role of mitochondria and metabolism in retinal eye diseases.
Dr. Shu has a demonstrated record of leadership within and commitment to the organizations to which she belongs. Dr. Shu joined the ASIP in 2019 and quickly became engaged in numerous Society activities and initiatives. Dr. Shu is a member of the Committee for Career Development (since 2019), contributor to the ASIP Next-Gen Blog, and a contributor to the ASIP Virtual Trainee Hangouts. Dr. Shu has contributed to numerous sessions during ASIP in-person and virtual meetings – very often contributing her expertise on the use of social media to promote one’s research. In addition, Dr. Shu is a co-host of the Behind Our Science Podcast, which is co-sponsored by the ASIP and The Histochemical Society. Dr. Shu is a regular attendee of ASIP virtual events and participated in the 2022 ASIP Leadership Academy. Beyond the ASIP, Dr. Shu is highly engaged with the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), and the International Society for Eye Research (ISER).
Dr. Veronica Contreras-Shannon (Professor, St. Mary’s University and Chair of the ASIP Committee for Career Development) described Dr. Shu as “…all in, contributing in significant ways to the success of the Committee for Career Development initiatives…readily sharing ideas, giving good feedback, and volunteering for committee assignments…” In this way, Dr. Shu epitomizes the type of membership engagement that makes the ASIP strong.
Dr. Shu’s research is focused on wound healing mechanisms in the eye. The connecting themes in her research projects build on the current understanding of how scars and fibrotic membranes form. Since the eye contains mostly transparent tissues to improve transparency and vision, scars can lead to devastating blindness. She seeks to develop novel ways of promoting wound healing and preserving the normal tissue architecture, thereby preventing vision loss. Dr. Shu’s research in this are has been very productive. She has published 18 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, and book chapters, 11 as first author. Dr. Shu’s research has been recognized as excellent by numerous awards. Dr. Shu received the ASIP Experimental Pathologist-in Training (EPIT) Merit Award in 2021 and 2022, and was recognized with the PISA2021 Virtual Meeting Postdoctoral Award for Outstanding Research. Further, Dr. Shu received an A.D. Sobel ASIP Education Fund Trainee Scholar Award (2020) and an ASIP Trainee Travel Award for Experimental Biology 2020. Beyond ASIP awards for excellent research, Dr. Shu has been recognized by ARVO, ISER, the BrightFocus Foundation, and other organizations, and has received numerous institutional awards during her graduate and postdoctoral training.
Dr. Magali Saint-Geniez (Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research/Ophthalmology) commented on that “…Dr. Shu possesses exceptional capabilities as an outstanding scientist and leader…is committed to developing her leadership skills and was accepted into the inaugural ASIP Leadership Academy…” In fact, Dr. Shu has emerged as a leader among the trainee members of the ASIP and enthusiastically contributes her time and energy to Society initiatives—often taking the lead, and just as often providing strong support for others.
In her nomination of Dr. Shu for this award, Dr. Pat D’Amore (Vice Chair for Basic and Translational Research in the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology) said that Dr. Shu “…approaches everything with professionalism, commitment, and enthusiasm…with her active involvement in the ASIP and her exceptional track record in research, Dr. Shu represents the ideals of the Young Scientist Leadership Award…”
Dr Shu will receive the 2024 ASIP Young Scientist Leadership Award during the 2024 Annual Meeting of the ASIP in Baltimore, MD (April 2024).