National Scleroderma Foundation
Pre‑Doctoral Summer Fellowship Award Program

Recognizing Ph.D. Students Conducting Scleroderma Research

2021 Award Recipients

The National Scleroderma Foundation is excited to announce the recipients of the 2021 Pre-Doctoral Summer Fellowship Award. Follow this link to see a list of their project titles, institutional affiliation, and mentors. The 2021 awards are named in memory of Arnold Postlethwaite, M.D., renowned scleroderma specialist and 22-year member of the National Scleroderma Foundation’s Medical & Scientific Advisory Board.

The application process for the 2022 awards will open in February 2022. Please check back at that time, or for questions, email

Our Mission

The mission of the National Scleroderma Foundation is threefold: 1) to provide EDUCATIONAL and emotional SUPPORT to people with scleroderma and their families; 2) to stimulate and support RESEARCH designed to identify the cause and cure of scleroderma as well as improve method of treatment; and 3) to enhance the public's awareness of scleroderma and related diseases.

The National Scleroderma Foundation is the leading nonprofit supporter of scleroderma research, funding an average of $1 million in peer-reviewed grants annually to discover the cause, understand the mechanism, and overcome scleroderma forever. Since its inception, the Foundation has committed over $29 million for scleroderma research, which continues as a priority of our mission.


The goal of the Summer Fellowship Award Program is to recognize Ph.D. students conducting research related to scleroderma. The program will encourage and foster the next generation of researchers by cultivating students' early interests in working to discover the cause and cure of scleroderma.


Students may submit a proposal on research relevant to adult or pediatric scleroderma.

To be eligible to apply, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a current graduate student in an accredited doctoral (Ph.D.) program in the U.S.
  • The applicant must still be a current graduate student at the time of award activation.
  • Medical students are not eligible; however, M.D./Ph.D. students in the graduate phase of their education are eligible to apply.
  • May not hold an M.D., Ph.D., D.O., or equivalent terminal degree.
  • Propose a research topic that is relevant to adult or pediatric scleroderma.
  • Must complete research under the direction and mentorship of a sponsor who demonstrates sufficient funding to support the proposed study of the mentee.
  • Students must devote at least eight weeks to the project.


The application process for the 2022 awards will be open in February 2022. Please check back at that time, or for questions, email

Funding and Award Notification

All applicants will be notified of their award status on June 1, 2022. The National Scleroderma Foundation will award $2,000 directly to the recipients of the award. The funds can be used to support the student's research project, defray tuition costs, housing, books, or travel/registration to scientific meetings. This award may be taxable; the National Scleroderma Foundation sends an IRS form 1099 to the recipient at the end of the calendar year.

The Summer Fellowship Awards are made possible in part by a generous contribution from the National Scleroderma Foundation Greater Chicago Chapter.

Conditions of Award

All award recipients are required to submit a brief report by June 2022 on the outcomes of their research project. Recipients are asked to acknowledge the National Scleroderma Foundation as a supporter in any published work and presentations resulting from their research.

About Arnold Postlethwaite, M.D.

The National Scleroderma Foundation is pleased to name 2021 awards in memory of Arnold Postlethwaite, M.D. Dr. Postlethwaite dedicated his life to medicine, working full-time until his recent illness. He held positions at both the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee for 47 years. In 1981, he became Chief of the Rheumatology Section at UT and the VA. He also assumed the role of Director of the Division of Connective Tissue Diseases at UTHSC and held the Goodman Chair of Excellence in Medicine. He was an international authority in rheumatologic diseases with particular interest in rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. In 2012, he received the President’s Award by the Tennessee Rheumatologic Society and Doctor of the Year Award by the National Scleroderma Foundation, where he was a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board. He was also awarded the designation of Master by the American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Postlethwaite was a well-loved academician who always unselfishly gave his time to mentor and train other researchers and physicians as well as to provide support to patients.


Please contact the National Scleroderma Foundation with any questions at or by calling (800) 722-4673.