Beyond Celiac has announced the creation of the Society for the Study of Celiac Disease – Beyond Celiac Early Career Research Award, a joint venture to attract exceptionally promising early career academic investigators to the field of celiac disease research. The award will provide a clear and bold opportunity to expand the scope of research in this field that, to date, has been underfunded and underexplored. Beyond Celiac is funding this two-year grant, and SSCD (Society for the Study of Celiac Disease) is managing the grant application and research program.
The award aims to correct a significant gap in the gastrointestinal and autoimmune disease research portfolio. Celiac disease consistently received the lowest amount of federal research funding over a five-year period compared to other gastrointestinal conditions, as noted in a review published
as a commentary in the journal Gastroenterology by Emma Clerx, Sonia Kupfer and Daniel A. Leffler. In general, NIH (National Institutes of Health) support is seen as essential for improving the understanding of health and disease. Key reasons for the disparity in NIH funding include a lack of investigators in the field—precisely because of historically poor funding—and the sometimes narrow expertise of peer review panels on NIH review committees. This SSCD-Beyond Celiac award is targeted to address this gap.
“This partnership is natural fit for our organizations. We at Beyond Celiac recognize that advancing science by creating incentives for those early in their careers is playing the ‘long game,’ but one that will ultimately get us across the goal to find treatments beyond the gluten-free diet, and hopefully, a cure,” noted Beyond Celiac Chief Scientific Officer Marie Robert, MD.
“The support of Beyond Celiac for this important grant encourages and facilitates the research initiatives of an early career investigator in the field of celiac disease,” added Elena Verdú, MD, PhD, SSCD president. The project will comprise basic, clinical, translational, behavioral or epidemiological research in celiac disease.”
“Our community is living with the burden of this disease every day. We live in fear of food. The gluten-free diet is not enough. The need for research funding is now. While we hope the NIH will increase its investment, we are doing what we’ve always done—helping our community live life to the fullest and fighting for people with celiac disease through any means necessary,” noted Alice Bast, CEO of Beyond Celiac.