"I'm really optimistic about the prospects for scleroderma, because in the last five to ten years there's really been an increasing pace of understanding about the disease, its subtypes, and also some potential causes. I'm hopeful that maybe in a five-year time frame, many of these ideas will start moving into actual therapies."

- Dr. Howard Chang, SRF-funded Investigator


The Scleroderma Research Foundation would like to congratulate funded investigator, Dr. Howard Y. Chang, Stanford University School of Medicine, on receiving the 2018 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Award in Molecular Biology.The NAS Award in Molecular Biology recognizes a recent notable discovery in molecular biology by a young scientist (defined as no older than 45). 

Dr. Chang, a physician-scientist, was recognized for his discovery of long noncoding RNAs and the invention of genomic technologies. Long noncoding RNAs are important causes of cancer metastasis and other human diseases, as well as development and aging. His work showed that long noncoding RNAs can act as guides, scaffolds, or decoys between DNA and enzyme machines.

These discoveries themselves would not have been possible without Dr. Chang’s invention of new genomic technologies such as ATAC-seq, a project funded in part by the SRF. ATAC-seq in particular has revolutionized the field of epigenetics, improving the ability to map active DNA elements by 1 million-fold in sensitivity and 100-fold in speed. Dr. Chang’s genomic technologies have already been widely adopted by investigators in thousands of labs around the world and have revolutionized the study of many human diseases and model organisms.

The National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology has a rich history of honoring premier scientists making groundbreaking discoveries in science and medicine— fourteen prior recipients went on to become Nobel laureates.

Video Clip: In this two-minute video Dr. Chang shares is optimism on the future of scleroderma research and the value of the SRF research program.

Click to watch video here>


Learn more about Dr. Chang's SRF-funded work here:

Gene Regulatory Mechanisms in Scleroderma


Scleroderma Twin Study


Epigenetics of Sex Differences in Scleroderma