DiPersio Lab graduate student receives Minority Hematology Graduate Award from ASH

Omar Ibrahim, PharmD, a graduate student in the DiPersio Lab at Washington University School of Medicine, has received a 2023 Minority Hematology Graduate Award (MHGA) from the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Dr. Ibrahim is one of two individuals from Washington University selected for this prestigious honor, which recognizes high-caliber early career scientists on a national scale. 

As an MHGA awardee, Dr. Ibrahim will take part in ASH’s Minority Recruitment Initiative (MRI) career development award program. The program provides individuals mentorship and training opportunities to conduct blood science-focused research. Dr. Ibrahim will also receive $80,000 over a two-year period from ASH to support his research at Washington University School of Medicine. 

“I am deeply honored to receive the prestigious award and recognition from the American Society of Hematology for my translational research. Winning this award means a lot to me, as it signifies a pivotal step in my career development journey. During my oncology pharmacy training, I discovered my passion for science that could directly impact patients’ lives. With this award, I’ll have the invaluable opportunity to further my training under the guidance of esteemed mentors, Dr. Li Ding and Dr. John DiPersio. Together, we’ll harness computational and experimental methods to enhance cellular immunotherapies for hematological malignancies. ASH support not only propels my scientific and academic aspirations but also holds the promise of bringing hope to cancer patients. This award is not just an accolade; it’s a catalyst for positive change in the world of oncology,” Dr. Ibrahim said.

Prior to coming to Washington University to complete his graduate studies in cancer biology, Dr. Ibrahim was a Fulbright Scholar in Tumor Biology and Immunology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in New York. His research interests focus on identifying therapeutic targets, drug development, and modulating tumor microenvironment components that promote cancer growth.

Currently, Dr. Ibrahim works in the DiPersio Lab and the Ding Lab, where he collaborates with an interdisciplinary team to tackle large-scale cancer projects. His research in the DiPersio Lab sits at the interface of computational biology and translational immunotherapy to identify novel cancer targets and immunotherapies to engage these targets. The MHGA award will allow Dr. Ibrahim to continue his impactful work, said John DiPersio, MD, PhD, Virginia E. and Sam J. Golman Endowed Professorship of Medicine and Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine.

“I am really proud of Omar for winning an MHGA award from ASH. I think it will be a great learning experience for him,” Dr. DiPersio said. “This has been a tough project but Omar has dived in and really worked hard. His data already look great and I believe this will provide some important directions in our effort to treat patients with AM.”