Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Office of Research & Development

print icon sign up for VA Research updates

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)

See also: Notable Biomedical Research Investigators

Go to: BLRD Home | CSRD Home

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has not yet made a determination on the ORD PECASE nominations for 2019-2020 and 2021-2022.

If you have questions about the forms, process or award, please contact Pauline Cilladi-Rehrer at .

To be eligible for a PECASE, nominees must:

  1. Have a VA Appointment of 5/8ths or greater
  2. Have a VA-funded award
  3. Have no more than five years of research experience, as defined below:
  4. a. In the first five years since receiving their competitively independent award or in the first five years of a tenure track or equivalent academic or federal research position. (Nominees for 2021 may have a start date in 2016. Nominees for 2022 may have a start date in 2017.)
    b. Funds secured during graduate school or postdoctoral training and funds secured for training, fellowship, education, or career development do not count toward the five year limit.
    c. ORD Career Development Awards do not count toward the five year limit.  An investigator who has completed a CDA remains eligible for the PECASE award during his or her first VA-funded Investigator-Initiated Research Merit Award. Researchers currently completing a CDA are also eligible.

  5. Be involved in innovative research
  6. Show demonstrated community service through scientific leadership, education, and community outreach

Nomination Package Requirements

Nomination packages must include the following:

  1. Letter of Recommendation, not to exceed two pages. This letter may be from the ACOS/R or Medical Center Director. The letter should describe how the nominee meets the eligibility criteria. The first paragraph must include the nominee’s name, the year recommended for, name of service funding the nominee’s research, name of VAMC and level of appointment, e.g. 5/8ths.
  2. Nominee’s current Curriculum Vitae
  3. One-page Candidate Description (e.g. short bio)
  4. VA Form 0235: Security Check for Candidate Requiring Approval of the Secretary. Please note that the VA Form 0235 contains sensitive information and must be sent to us encrypted.
  5. Memorandum of Employment Verification and Citizen Status from nominee’s human resources office.





PECASE, established in 1996 to "recognize and nurture some of the finest scientist and engineers" is given annually to researchers early in their research careers. The PECASE is the "highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists." The full list is on the web site.

PECASE Awardees from BLR&D and CSR&D

Eric Chang, M.D. - San Diego VA Healthcare System, Department of Veterans Affairs
Jason Wertheim, M.D, Ph.D. - Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs


Panagiotis Roussos, M.D, Ph.D. - James J. Peters VA Medical Center
Erika Wolf, Ph.D., VA Boston Healthcare System

Brian Head, M.S., Ph.D. - VA San Diego Healthcare System (San Diego, CA)

K. Luan Phan, M.D. - Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (Chicago, IL)

Kristina M. Utzschneider, M.D. - VA Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle, WA)
Christine Basmajian, Ph.D. - VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (Ann Arbor, MI)

Melina R. Kibbe, M.D. - Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (Chicago, IL)

Mary Beth Humphrey, M.D., Ph.D. - Oklahoma City VA Medical Center (Oklahoma City, OK)

Sterling C. Johnson, Ph.D. - William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital (Madison, WI)

Jennifer L. Gooch, Ph.D. - Atlanta VA Medical Center (Decatur, GA)

William Grady, M.D. - VA Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle, WA)

Richard Z. Lin, M.D. - Northport VA Medical Center (Northport, NY)

Jeffrey R. Smith, M.D., Ph.D. - Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (Nashville, TN)

Eric J. Huang, M.D., Ph.D. - San Francisco VA Medical Center (San Francisco, CA)

Mary C. Nakamura, M.D. - San Francisco VA Medical Center (San Francisco, CA)

Alan E. Mast, M.D., Ph.D. - Memphis VA Medical Center (Memphis, TN)
Richard N. Pierson, M.D. - Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (Nashville, TN)

Michael J. Gaziano, M.D., M.P.H. - VA Boston Healthcare System (Boston, MA)
Martin R. Gluck, M.D., Ph.D. - James J. Peters VA Medical Center (Bronx, NY)

Melissa P. Clark, M.D. - Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (Nashville TN)
Joseph F. Cubells, M.D., Ph.D. - VA Connecticut Healthcare System (West Haven, CT)


Eric Chang, M.D., of the San Diego VA Healthcare System, was named as a recipient of the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Dr. Chang is a clinician specializing in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal (MSK) radiology and is a nationally recognized researcher.  Dr. Chang’s work specifically involves development, optimization, and validation of clinically translatable techniques for assessment of musculoskeletal tissues, such as the Achilles or rotator cuff tendons. This is particularly relevant to a globally aging population and the Veteran population with tendinopathy resulting from injuries incurred during active duty. Since 2014, he has been active in the development of performance measures, quality measures, and clinical guidelines serving as a Panel Chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria (AC) in MSK Imaging. The ACR AC are evidence-based guidelines to assist referring physicians and other providers in making the most appropriate imaging or treatment decision for a specific clinical condition. Employing these guidelines helps providers enhance quality of care and contribute to the most efficacious use of radiology. Dr. Chang’s contributions to science and his commitment to the VA mission make an excellent choice to receive this award.

Jason Wertheim, M.D, Ph.D., of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (Chicago, IL), was named as a recipient of the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).  Dr. Wertheim’s research focuses on developing new tissues using biomaterials called scaffolds, a substance critical in holding cells together and gives tissue their structure.  Dr. Wertheim’s focus on finding strategies to use these structures to repair damaged tissues, and to create new tissue for transplantation could benefit patients awaiting organ transplant and patients suffering from chronic kidney disease. Dr. Wertheim Chairs the Cellular Transplantation Committee of the American Society of Transplant surgeons and is co-Chair of the Section on Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials for the Alliance for regenerative Medicine. Dr. Wertheim is an innovative researcher working to address the critical health issue of organ shortages that impact the Veteran population and the broader society.


Questions about the R&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.