KY Cha Award In Stem Cell Technology

(supported by an endowment from the Asia-Pacific Biomedical Research Foundation)


This award carries a $20,000 grant awarded by ASRM and supported by the Asia-Pacific Biomedical Research Foundation. The purpose of this award is to provide start-up funds to initiate an innovative research project in regenerative medicine and stem cell technology. Funds are available for salary support, technical assistance, supplies, durable equipment or other project expenses but may not be used for indirect costs, or institutional overhead.


A research project in which the applicant is the primary investigator is the essential core of the award. A progress report and a financial report on the work sponsored by the KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology are required to be submitted to the ASRM Office at the completion of the project or within two years, whichever comes first. This report should be signed by the recipient of the award and the Chair of the Department. Any published report must carry the acknowledgment “Supported by the KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology.” If the applicant has other funding for the same project then the proposed project must represent a significant enhancement of the research already funded.


Candidates eligible for the KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology:
  • Earned an M.D., a Ph.D., a D.O., and/or a D.V.M. degree or their equivalents (M.D. degree not required)
  • Be an independent investigator who has completed his/her training and has a full-time faculty/research staff appointment as of July 1, 2019; note that clinical and research students, residents, fellows and postdoctoral trainees are not eligible.
  • Have not ever received any other ASRM research award (not including Reproductive Scientist Development Program, Frontiers in Reproduction Program, and SREI/ASRM traineeship [T32] awardees).


There is no application form. The application consists of the following seven items in this order (10 point font or greater):
  1. Cover sheet - including title of research proposal, applicant’s name and degree(s), address, telephone, fax, and email.
  2. Research Proposal – the description of the research project should be presented in NIH format using six pages or less, including references.
  3. Budget – a one-page budget should be prepared and signed by the applicant and by the Department Chair.
  4. Statement of Career Goals – briefly list and/or describe career goals.
  5. Curriculum Vitae – this should include basic personal data, educational background, past and present positions, honors, achievements, and publications; limited to three pages, please.
  6. Letter of Recommendation from Division Director or Department Chair – signed letter on company/organizational letterhead.
  7. Letter of Intent from Chair of the Department – this letter should state that the award money will only be allocated to salary support for research time, project supplies, and/or support personnel for the project. The letter should also state that the award money will not be used for laboratory equipment, indirect costs or institutional overhead, and should affirm that laboratory space with proper equipment will be available for the investigator to carry out the project.

Applications should be submitted to



Selection of an award recipient is made by ASRM and is based primarily on the scientific merit of the proposed study and the qualifications of the applicant. Also, consideration is given to the availability of resources to conduct the proposed study and the identification of a suitable environment for the pursuit of the proposed project. The awardee will be recognized at the opening ceremony of the ASRM Scientific Congress.

Previous recipients of the KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology:

2013 David E. Reichman, M.D. and Erin F. Wolff, M.D., Co-recipients
2014 Carlos Simón Vallés, M.D., Ph.D.
2015 Jatin Patel, Ph.D.
2016 Yossi Buganim, Ph.D.
2017 Philip Jordan, Ph.D.
2018 Zhengshan Zhao, M.D., Ph.D.

Congratulations to the 2018 Winner

KY Cha Award WinnerThis award, which carries a $20,000 research grant, is given competitively by ASRM to provide start-up funds to initiate an innovative research project in regenerative medicine and stem cell technology. A research project in which the applicant is the primary investigator is the essential core of the grant. Selection is based primarily on the scientific merit of the proposal and the qualifications of the applicant. The recipient of the KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology for 2018 is Zhengshan Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor at the Biomedical Institute for Regenerative Research (BIRR), Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Texas A&M University – Commerce. The subject of his award research is, “Repair of Damaged Myocardium Using Human-Heart RNA in a Rat Myocardial Infarction Model.” Dr. Zhao received his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine degrees from Norman Bethune Medical University, Jilin, China, and his Ph.D. at Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea.

Dr. Zhao has completed high-content, small-molecule screenings, which led to the development of a highcontent in vitro pancreatic beta-cell replication discovery platform. He has investigated the effects of PPARgamma and PPAR–alpha agonists in lipid metabolism, a study that showed that PPAR-gamma and PPAR–alpha agonists improved dyslipidemia by enhancing malonyl-CoA activity in type-2 diabetic animal models. Dr. Zhao has successfully performed gene therapy in type-1 diabetic animal models using adeno-associated virus carrying the insulin analog gene via portal vein delivery strategy. With numerous publications, his work on new mechanistic insights into cAMP-dependent growth regulation of β-cells and the potential of commonly prescribed medications to influence β-cell growth was recognized as one of the 15 Best of Basic Research 2014 highlights by the Endocrine Society journals.

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