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Dr. Wali Badar, MD, Receives SIR Foundation 2023


Dr. Wali Badar, MD, Receives SIR Foundation 2023 Radiology Resident Research Grant for Detection and Prognostication of HCC through Circulating Genetic Material.

The Radiology Resident Research Grant is awarded annually by the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) Foundation. SIR awards grants to radiology residents located in the U.S. or Canada to fund a research project in an area identified by the SIR Foundation as important to the advancement of interventional radiology and patient care.

This year, the grant has been awarded to Dr. Wali Badar, MD, an alumnus of University of Illinois at Chicago and current Resident in Interventional Radiology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Dr. Badar completed his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, and his current research interests include interventional oncology for hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. Wali will receive $20,000 for the implementation of his project titled, “Circulating Genetic Material for Detection and Prognostication of HCC.”

Dr. Badar will be working with Dr. Ron Gaba MD MS, Professor of Radiology & Pathology and Division Head of Interventional Radiology at University of Illinois College of Medicine at UIC, and Dr. Kyle Schachtschneider PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Radiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at University of Illinois College of Medicine at UIC. Dr. Gaba and Dr. Schachtschneider have extensive involvement in clinical and benchtop research regarding Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), the topic of Dr. Badar’s forthcoming project.

“Specifically, Dr. Gaba and Dr. Schachtschneider have investigated the genetic makeup of HCC tumors that have been previously biopsied and preserved to see which genes/mutations confer poor or improved prognosis” says Dr. Badar.

His project aims to build on Dr. Gaba and Dr. Schachtschneider’s previous work to ultimately see if these genes can be identified in tumor genetic material circulating in the peripheral blood. “Using the data gained from previous studies, we thought it would be prudent to look for these genetic biomarkers in the peripheral blood. We devised a pilot study to evaluate how circulating tumor genetic material in the blood of HCC and chronic liver disease patients can be used to improve the detection of disease and predict treatment response.” says Dr. Badar.

Dr. Gaba and Dr. Schachtschneider will be serving as Dr. Badar’s mentors for the project. “Essentially, I’ve been working with Dr. Gaba and Dr. Schachtschneider since I was a medical student,” says Dr. Badar. “Working with them helped me realize my passion for innovation and translational research.” To further these interests, he enrolled in the Master’s in Clinical and Translational Sciences program (MS CTS) which he is concurrently completing with his residency training.

“The proposed pilot study will be the basis for my MS thesis. The thesis project requires funding, so we applied for the SIR grant, which we were awarded earlier this year.” The project will take place from July 2023 to July 2024.

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