Published: Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 10:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time
Media Contact: Kara Flynn, 202.257.8424, firstname.lastname@example.org
ROCKVILLE, MD – The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has named Eimear Kenny, PhD, as the recipient of the 2022 Early-Career Award. Dr. Kenny is the Founding Director of the Institute for Genomic Health and Professor of Medicine, General Internal Medicine, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
This award, which includes a plaque and a $10,000 prize, recognizes the contributions of genetics and genomics scientists in the first ten years of their careers as independent investigators.
“Dr. Kenny is an outstanding researcher who is positively contributing to the fields of human genetics and genomics,” said ASHG President Charles Rotimi, PhD. “She is improving the accessibility of genetics to global populations and has led multiple genetics-based clinical trials. Not only is she an exceptional mentor, but she is also an advocate for improving diversity in the genetics workforces.”
Dr. Kenny’s work has expanded the global use of genetics by identifying population-specific effects in non-European populations and current limitations in genetic studies. For example, her group was one of the first to demonstrate that Polygenic Risk Scores derived from European populations have reduced accuracy when applied to non-European populations. Her research is considered to have moved the general research community forward in the need to center historically underrepresented groups in genomic discovery with a priority on clinical impact. She leads a number of projects, including PAGE, which outlined the benefits of genetic epidemiology in diverse populations for discovery, replication and fine mapping across a range of traits, and CSER and eMERGE, utilized biobanks to both generate evidence and implementing solutions to better genomic medicine in diverse populations, particularly underrepresented minorities, as well as offering insight into how the discoveries can be implemented.
“One thing that immediately stands out about Eimear is that she never stops moving – she is a perpetual motion machine, blazing a trail through the wilderness of the human genome and leaving a trove of discoveries in her wake,” said Chani Jo Hodonsky, PhD, MPH Postdoctoral Research Associate University of Virginia Center for Public Health Genomics, in her nomination letter. “It would be difficult to overstate her effect on the field of statistical genetics. She is currently the principal investigator (PI) of five scientific consortia and a collaborating investigator of four additional national working groups. In addition to advising over 30 graduate students and postdocs thus far as an independent researcher, she has unofficially mentored dozens of young scientists. Over the course of her career, Dr. Kenny has amassed more than 18,000 citations, always ensuring that she includes and uplifts trainees in every aspect of her work.”
Dr. Kenny received her PhD in computational genomics from Rockefeller University in New York City and completed her post-doctoral training in population genomics at Stanford University. She is currently Professor of Medicine and Genetics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Founding Director of the Institute for Genomic Health at Mount Sinai Health System, which focuses on innovating approaches to accelerate the pace with which genomic information can be integrated into routine clinical care. Her research intersects genomics, medicine, and computer science and addresses the challenges of integrating diverse populations into personalized medicine. Dr. Kenny is also a scientific advisor to many initiatives in the government, non-profits, and industry arenas, and has trained 33 individuals, including junior faculty members.
ASHG will recognize this year’s award winners in the weeks prior to the Society’s annual meeting with a series of videos honoring their accomplishments. These videos will also be presented during the meeting, which will be held in Los Angeles on October 25-29.
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About the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)
Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. Its nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others with an interest in human genetics. The Society serves scientists, health professionals, and the public by providing forums to: (1) share research results through the ASHG Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics and Human Genetics and Genomics Advances; (2) advance genetic research by advocating for research support; (3) educate current and future genetics professionals, health care providers, advocates, policymakers, educators, students, and the public about all aspects of human genetics; and (4) promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies. For more information, visit: http://www.ashg.org.