The Cary Council, a group of emerging young leaders who support the missions of Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center, announced grant recipients of funds raised to support early-stage research from their 2021 An Evening with DocStars at Home event, held on Saturday, May 1. Thanks to sponsors and supporters of this special drive-thru celebration, The Cary Council was able to provide significant grants to three early-career researchers at UT Southwestern.

This year’s winners, Emily H. Adhikari, M.D., Owoicho Adogwa, M.D., M.P.H., and Samuel John, M.D., were selected by The Cary Council’s Steering Committee from an outstanding group of researchers nominated by David Russell, Ph.D., Vice Provost and Dean of Basic Research, and UT Southwestern leadership.

Dr. Adhikari’s project focuses on COVID-19’s effect on pregnant women and their babies and how vaccination can protect them. Dr. Adogwa is one of few surgeons in the world cross trained in both orthopedic spine surgery and neurosurgery. His project is in improving the treatment of patients with complex spinal conditions. Dr. John’s research project includes immunotherapy and cell therapy in cancer.

“The connection between our business and medical leadership will continue to thrive in the next generation thanks to the tremendous dedication we have witnessed across The Cary Council. They are stepping up to lead our region forward during one of the most dynamic periods we have seen, and we are extremely proud to support their mission and their work.”

Kathleen M. Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation

2021 Cary Council Early Stage Research Grant Recipients Samuel John, M.D. Emily H. Adhikari, M.D., and Owoicho Adogwa, M.D., M.P.H., with Event Co-Chairs Alexandra Kahn and Grace Cook posing with Southwestern Medical Foundation Trustee Nita Clark and Cullum Clark.

The interactive nature of the 2021 celebration sustained the distinguishing characteristics of past An Evening with DocStars events, while following guidance from public health officials. Stations along the drive-thru route provided guests with several giveaway items, including swag bags, gourmet treats, coloring activities for children, and take-home science kits designed by former grant recipients and inspired by the research they are conducting in their respective labs.

“Advancing impactful research has been at the core of UT Southwestern’s mission for decades. Funds raised through The Cary Council have supported our investigators who are early in their careers, enabling them to accelerate the momentum of their innovative research.”

Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern

From a safe distance, guests also had the opportunity to meet this year’s grant recipients and several from previous years, including Dr. David Greenberg, a grant recipient in 2018 and expert on infectious diseases and the global antibiotic resistance crisis. His lab monitors global antibiotic resistance and will study long-term damaging health and societal effects a pandemic has on communities.

“Though our event looked a little different this year, the resilience and generosity of North Texas continue to shine,” said Grace Cook, Event Co-Chair. “We are so grateful for the sponsors and ticket holders who joined us in support of the groundbreaking innovation happening at UT Southwestern.”

Margaret, Charlotte, and Alexa Shufeldt at the Evening with DocStars at Home Drive-Thru Celebration.

Since 2017, The Cary Council has awarded 12 grants to emerging research investigators in the fields of breast cancer, genomic technologies, and infectious diseases, among others. Following the initial grants, recipients have leveraged early-stage grants to secure nearly $7 million in additional funding.

“By supporting early-stage research at UT Southwestern, our community is carving out pathways to discovery that will address and solve some of the greatest health challenges we face today. It is a tremendous honor to carry forward our region’s long-standing focus on investing in the top talent, technology, and infrastructure necessary for progress. We are grateful for each change-maker joining us in this worthy mission.”

Amanda Eagle George, Chair of The Cary Council

“I am so inspired by the vision of our community,” said Alexandra Kahn, Event Co-Chair. “In five short years, what began as a desire to build awareness of UT Southwestern’s excellence among our generation has grown into an intentional, purpose-filled mission for emerging leaders in Dallas.”

Learn more about The Cary Council’s journey of progress

View the Photo Gallery from An Evening with DocStars at Home 

Learn more about this year’s Cary Council Early Stage Research Grant recipients