Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 05/28/2014

Anna Greka, M.D., Ph.D.,
Class of 2003
Harvard Medical School

“One of the most exciting people I met in Washington, D.C. during the International Achievement Summit was Dr. Francis Collins, who was at the time deeply immersed in the Human Genome Project. As a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-funded M.D.-Ph.D. student at Harvard, I was delighted with the opportunity to have a fascinating conversation with Dr. Collins about the enormous potential of sequencing the human genome. Now, more than a decade later, Dr. Collins is the Director of NIH, and I am on faculty at Harvard Medical School. I felt that we had come full circle when, to my great delight, I received notice that Dr. Collins had chosen my work on a potential new treatment for kidney disease to be featured in the tenth anniversary celebration of the NIH Common Fund. I am enormously honored and excited, and can’t wait to remind him of that conversation we had at the International Achievement Summit so many years ago!”

Anna Greka, an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, holds an AB from Harvard College and an M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School. Early in her biology studies, she worked in the field of molecular and cellular neuroscience, publishing two “first author” papers before the age of 21.

As a student in the Harvard-MIT M.D.-Ph.D. program in the Division of Health Sciences and Technology (laboratory of Dr. David Clapham), she explored the role of TRPC channels in neuronal growth cone motility. Her work, funded by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship, was published in Nature Neuroscience, Nature Cell Biology and Developmental Cell.

Upon establishing her independent laboratory, Dr. Greka published a senior author paper in Science Signaling, which was featured on the Science website with an editorial titled “Calcium signals both stop and go” (2010). More recently, her work in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (2013) revealed TRPC5 as the first ion channel targeted therapy for kidney disease, also featured in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (2014).

Additionally, Dr. Greka has recently published co-senior author papers in Nature Communications (2013) and in the New England Journal of Medicine (2013), the latter highlighted by an editorial titled “A New Era of Podocyte-Targeted Therapy for Proteinuric Kidney Disease.”

Dr. Greka has been invited to lecture nationally and internationally, and is the recipient of numerous honors, including career development awards from the American Society of Nephrology and the American Heart Association, and a 2014 Young Physician Scientist Award from the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

She currently serves as the founding director of Glom-NExT, a Center for Glomerular Kidney Disease and Novel Experimental Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

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