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BME's Wilbur Lam Elected to ASCI

Researcher elected to national honor society for physician-scientists

Jan 30, 2017

The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), launched in 1908, is one of the oldest, most respected organizations of its kind in the nation, and gaining membership is an aspiration that pretty much all physician-scientists share, since their days as trainees.

So when Wilbur Lam, assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Georgia Tech and Emory, found out this month that he’d been inducted into the ASCI, it felt kind of like he’d won an Academy Award.

“It’s not unlike the Oscars,” he says, only half joking. “It’s truly humbling. This is essentially a national honor society for physician-scientists, and few are inducted each year. Furthermore, I’m extremely humbled to be inducted as a physician scientist from the field of biomedical engineering.”

He adds that biomedical engineering, “is a relatively nascent discipline within biomedicine, and is not highly represented within the ASCI. So I’m deeply honored to be able to represent my BME colleagues as a member of the ASCI.”

Lam, a pediatrician with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as well as the Emory School of Medicine, is a researcher with the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, whose lab focuses on developing and applying new technologies to research, diagnose, and treat blood disorders.

With more than 3,000 members, the ASCI exists to support the scientific efforts, educational needs, and clinical aspirations of physician-scientists to improve human health. The organization considers the several hundred nominations each year, and elects up to 80 new members annually. New members must be 50 or younger, so membership reflects early-career research accomplishments.

“Membership in ASCI is confirmation that our lab’s research program is on a successful trajectory,” says Lab. “And that our current and future work will have a likely significant impact on the fields of medicine and biomedical engineering and obviously, improving patients’ health and their clinical outcomes.”