Professor Rajkumar Savai, MD, was awarded the Thoracic Oncology “Mid-Career Achievement Award” for his significant and meaningful contribution to thoracic oncology research at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) International Conference in Washington, DC, USA.
Professor Savai says, "I am honored to receive this award for research that could not have been achieved without my wonderful team and collaborators. I believe that working hard and working smart will lead us to develop effective approaches to identify therapeutic targets that can be successfully translated into better therapies for patients with cancer”.
Savai aims to understand how the lung microenvironmental niche drives tumor initiation and progression. Of particular interest is the identification of specific targets that inhibit or reverse tumor niche maintenance and the functional competence of tumor cells. The long-term goal of the Savai lab is to translate tumor microenvironment-based therapeutic approaches into clinical trials to stop lung cancer in its tracks. “This is an exciting time working in the tumor niche. Novel single-cell and spatial phenotyping focused methodology enables us to make great progress in deciphering the cross-talk between cancer and immune cells and other cells, which will impact on how the tumor will progress and metastasize”, says Savai.
Savai was born in Warangal, Telangana, India. After completing his Master's degree (MSc) in Biochemistry at Kakatiya University, Warangal, India, he moved to Germany and completed his PhD and postdoctoral training in the Department of Pneumology/Oncology at JLU. In 2010, he moved to the Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim to lead an independent junior research group. In 2020, he was appointed to the Chair of Lung Microenvironmental Niche in Cancerogenesis at the Institute for Lung Health, in Giessen. He is a professor in the Heisenberg Program, which is awarded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) to outstanding scientists. The scientific coordinator of the disease area lung cancer at the DZL is also member of the Executive Committee of the Thoracic Oncology Assembly of the American Thoracic Society (ATS), and co-spokesperson of the LOEWE consortium iCANx (Cancer-Lung [Disease] Crosstalk: Tumor and Organ Microenvironment). In 2018, he served as a visiting professor at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute of the Robert W. Franz Cancer Center at Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, USA.
The American Thoracic Society improves global health by advancing research, patient care, and public health in pulmonary disease, critical illness, and sleep disorders. Founded in 1905 to combat TB, the ATS has grown to tackle asthma, COPD, lung cancer, sepsis, acute respiratory distress, and lung cancer, among other diseases (https://www.thoracic.org/).