Shaul Massry, professor emeritus of medicine, physiology and biophysics at the Keck School and president of the Massry Foundation, here with Carmen A. Puliafito, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, signs a check for $100,000 to support four Massry Research Scholars as part of the Dean’s Fifth-Year Research Scholars program. (Photo by Amy E. Hamaker)
By Amy E. Hamaker
The Meira and Shaul G. Massry Foundation is best known for the prize in medicine that it offers to noted scientists—10 of the 31 Massry Prize winners have gone on to win Nobel Prizes. Now, fourth-year students at the Keck School of Medicine of USC can further their scientific careers thanks to a recent $100,000 grant from the Massry Foundation to the Dean’s Fifth-Year Research Scholars program.
Fifth-year scholars receive a stipend of $25,000 each to continue their research. The new grant will support four Massry Research Scholars over the coming year. “I believe that a student who has finished four years of medical school and is ready to postpone his or her career is motivated to be a scientist, and that’s critical,” said Shaul Massry, professor emeritus of medicine, physiology and biophysics at the Keck School and president of the Massry Foundation.
Massry served as chief of division of nephrology at the Keck School from 1974 to 2000, and has received honorary doctorates from 14 European universities. He has published more than 600 scientific papers, 111 book chapters, and has edited 32 books. He created the Massry Foundation in 1995.
According to Massry, encouraging new scientists is vital to the future of medicine. “Clinical medicine is critical,” he said. “It’s very important to take care of patients. But to treat disease and to find the right avenues for medications and therapy, we need to understand the disease and what causes it. You need investigators to search for the causes of disease.”
Keck School Dean Carmen A. Puliafito agrees. “I created the Dean’s Fifth-Year Scholar program to give students the opportunity to spend a full year working on focused research projects to prepare them for further research after graduation and encourage them in the development of their academic medical careers,” he said. “We thank Dr. Massry for his foundation’s generous contribution to help our students meet those goals.”
Massry believes that giving back to others is an integral part of life. “In America, this is often called ‘charity,’ he explained. “But in the Jewish tradition, there is no word for charity—the word in Hebrew is ‘tzedakah,’ which means ‘justice.’ I believe that to share with others and to give for good causes is a justice in this world that we are a part of. To invest as a physician in medical education and the encouragement and support of young people in their research careers is something that I believe is essential. If I can do more, I will not hesitate to do so.”