Amber Herbert Wins the Elisabeth Pickett Award

Amber Herbert, MD is a 3rd-year Resident at Stanford Department of Urology. She has spent her first three years of residency caring for patients while simultaneously cultivating her surgical skills. In a couple of months, she will transition to her fourth year of residency or research year, where she will work to develop her basic science skills in Dr. Dobberfuhl’s lab. 

Raised in Reisterstown, Maryland, Herbert’s desire to pursue a career in medicine started at a young age after seeing a loved one battle glioblastoma multiforme. Herbert’s journey in medicine began at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she completed her undergraduate studies in Neurobiology and Physiology. She then went on to complete her medical degree at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, before starting her Urology Residency at Stanford Department of Urology. She has continued to demonstrate a remarkable commitment to marginalized and under-resourced communities throughout her medical training.

Recently, Herbert was among our four residents who attended the American Urological Association (AUA) annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, where she was presented with the prestigious Elisabeth Pickett Research Award. The Elisabeth Pickett Research Award is a research scholarship in honor of the first female urologist in the United States, Dr. Elisabeth Pauline Pickett. Dr. Elisabeth Pauline Pickett was presented with the Elisabeth Pauline Pickett research award in 1995 at the AUA annual meeting by Dr. Kristine Whitmore, the then president of the Society of Women in Urology.

Herbert plans to spend her year of research using the Elisabeth Pickett Research Award to explore nocturia. Nocturia is a prevalent condition in urology and has a profound impact on the overall quality of life in many patients, and is defined by the International Incontinence Society as waking up 2 or more times to void per night. Despite nocturia being a major health concern, its’ pathophysiology remains unclear which often makes it difficult to treat patients with current pharmacotherapies.  

“This is a condition that affects all individuals regardless of race and gender. Many patients experience poor quality of sleep and daytime somnolence from the disruptive sleep patterns.  There are no specific medications that target nocturia, which makes it very difficult to treat,” Herbert said. “I plan to decipher the underlying mechanism leading to nocturia. Long-term I hope that the molecular information collected from our study will guide the creation of novel therapeutic agents to improve the symptoms and even more importantly the quality of life of the millions of patients suffering from nocturia.”

As an aspiring female urologist, Herbert considers this award more than a personal achievement. “This award highlights and validates the scientific inquiry being performed by women in the field of urology,” she says. “It represents a milestone in my professional journey and pathway toward pursuing academic medicine in urology. The 2024 Elisabeth Pickett Research Award will be a spring board for me to collaborate with fellow researchers and colleagues with the ultimate goal to improve patient centered care and outcomes.”