In September, Saenz was awarded a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund his
H. pylori research. The grant, worth $159,558 the first year alone, will allow him to build upon recent insights he has gained into how the bacterium spreads and survives in the stomach.
“This will really help me fund a critical period as a physician-scientist transitioning out of a training environment and building towards independence,” says Saenz, an instructor in the division of gastroenterology at Washington University School of Medicine. The five years of funding will allow Saenz to extend his research beyond the conclusion of GCF’s three-year grant, which he believes will set him up for even bigger research grants in the future.
GCF’s funding supported two key research publications over the past year that were led by Saenz, including a paper in the journal Gastroenterology. The study explained how
H. pylori exploits changes in the stomach environment, such as a decrease in acid, to expand its colonization of the organ.