Young Physician-Scientist Awards, 2020

Ayodeji Adegunsoye, MD

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Ayodeji Adegunsoye, MD, is a pulmonary physician-scientist interested in utilizing genetic data from diverse races to improve clinical decision-making and outcomes for patients with pulmonary fibrosis (PF), a destructive interstitial lung disease (ILD) often characterized by profound scarring of the lungs. He completed his pulmonary/critical care fellowship at the University of Chicago, during which he focused his clinical training on patients with PF. His work seeks to understand PF from both clinical and translational facets while investigating the pathophysiologic mechanisms influencing outcomes. Predicated on differing phenotypic characteristics at baseline evaluation, he developed a cutting-edge statistical algorithm for classifying patients with ILD using a cluster analysis technique, the first in the ILD field. This model substantially improved the classification of patients with ILD into more prognostically useful phenotypes and distinguished clinically meaningful outcomes in ILD.

He recently identified race as an important independent predictor of survival, with data showing that this influence of race on ILD outcomes may stem from genetic variation between racial groups. His data suggests a substantial interplay between race and genetics in modulating PF outcomes, the central premise of his research interests is that the inclusion of genomic biomarkers from diverse racial populations into a cluster-based classification model will improve classification and prediction in PF.

In recognition of this work, he received the I.M. Rosenzweig Junior Investigator Award, and obtained research funding from the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the Respiratory Disease Young Investigators’ Forum, amongst others. As he initiates his NIH K-funded project, the application of novel statistical tools and state of the art genomic technology to data from patients with PF will provide an invaluable pharmacogenomic resource for studying PF across diverse races and improve PF classification and prediction, thus channeling discovery into translation and ultimately to clinical implementation.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Impact of telomere length heterogeneity on mortality in racially diverse cohorts of pulmonary fibrosis

Valerie A. Arboleda, MD, PhD

University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Valerie Arboleda, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Department of Human Genetics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She completed her MSTP training at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Vilain and identified the genetic mechanisms underlying several novel genetic disorders associated with disorders of sex development. She completed her residency training at UCLA in Clinical Pathology with a focus on Molecular Genetic Pathology. Currently, Dr. Arboleda is an Associate Director of the Molecular Diagnostics Lab at UCLA. Dr. Arboleda’s research laboratory is focused on understanding the functional role of genetic variation on clinical phenotypes, using functional genomics tools, clinical EHR data, and classic molecular biology and biochemistry. In 2017, she was awarded the NIH Early Independence Award (DP5) to explore the intersection between monogenic and complex (polygenic) phenotypes as a tool to explore phenotypic variability in rare monogenic disorders.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Multi-omics based approach to identifying druggable pathways in a chromatin-based syndrome caused by de novo mutations in the gene KAT6A

Petter Bjornstad, MD

University of Colorado School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Petter Bjornstad, MD, ‚Äčis an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, and a NIH and JDRF funded clinician-scientist whose research focuses on neurohormonal, metabolic and hemodynamic mechanisms underlying the development of early kidney disease in youth and adults with type 1 and 2 diabetes. His lab is known for applying an integrative biological approach to better understand early DKD, and are experts in hyperglycemic and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps to assess insulin secretion and sensitivity, iohexol and p-aminohippurate clearance to quantify GFR and ERPF, and functional MRI and PET imaging to determine renal energetics. Dr. Bjornstad and his lab have recently expanded their investigations to include research kidney biopsies with morphometrics and single-cell transcriptomics. Dr. Bjornstad is the Co-Chair of the Renal Working Group of NIH-funded Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY) study, as well as an investigator of NIH-funded Kidney Precision Medicine Project (KPMP). 

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Renal hemodynamic dysfunction is associated with reduced cortical oxygenation in adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Kelly L. Bolton, MD, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Kelly Bolton, MD, PhD was born in Los Angeles and pursued her undergraduate training at Cornell. She matriculated to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In between her second and third years of medical school she was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research scholar at the National Institutes of Health. She pursued PhD studies in the genetic epidemiology of breast and ovarian cancer at the University of Cambridge under the mentorship of Drs. Paul Pharoah and Stephen Chanock. She completed residency in internal medicine at NYP-Weill Cornell Medical College and fellowship in medical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, mentored by Ross Levine and Elli Papaemmanuil. During fellowship, she performed a large-scale epidemiologic investigation into how environmental factors shape the evolution of clonal hematopoiesis in cancer patients. Her research has resulted in several first author publications in high-profile journals including Nature Genetics, JCO and JAMA. She is the PI of several research grants including those sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (K08), the American Society of Hematology and the EvansMDS foundation. Her non-working hours are all devoted to her husband, Jesse, and their two sons, Cort and Max, ages two and four.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Oncologic therapy shapes the fitness landscape of clonal hematopoiesis

Liam R. Brunham, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FACP

University of British Columbia School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Liam Brunham, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a Canada Research Chair in Precision Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. He completed a fellowship in General Internal Medicine at UBC, followed by the Clinician Investigator Program in Singapore. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, and is certified by the American Boards of Internal Medicine and Clinical Lipidology. He is a Principal Investigator at the UBC Centre for Heart and Lung Innovation. His research focuses on the role of genetics in metabolic and cardiovascular disease and the response to medications. He has been recognized with a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Award, a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar award, a Heart & Stroke Foundation National New Investigator award, and in 2017 was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein to increase high density lipoprotein cholesterol and reduce mortality in sepsis

Daniel L. Chao, MD, PhD

University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Daniel L. Chao, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the Shiley Eye Institute at the University of California, San Diego. He completed an MD and PhD in Neurosciences at Stanford University, an ophthalmology residency at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami, and a vitreoretinal surgery fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. He is a clinician-scientist, focused on translating new discoveries and technologies to help patients with eye disease. 

Dr. Chao’s clinical focus is in the medical and surgical treatment of retinal diseases with a special interest in macular degeneration diabetic retinopathy, and inherited retinal diseases. He is an active investigator in many clinical trials for therapeutics for retinal diseases. He is involved in multiple interdisciplinary collaborations to develop novel imaging modalities and therapeutic approaches for retinal diseases.

Dr. Chao also leads a translational research program focused on developing new therapies for dry macular degeneration and inherited retinal diseases. His NIH-funded research is focused on the role of lipid metabolism in AMD, and has identified a role for a novel lipid enzyme ELOVL2 in regulating molecular age in the retina. He is also an entrepreneur and is co-founder of Visgenx, a startup company focused on developing new therapeutics for dry AMD based on research done in his lab at UCSD and consults and advises multiple early-stage startups in the retina space.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

The Lipid Elongation Enzyme ELOVL2 is a molecular regulator of aging in the retina: Implications for Age related Macular Degeneration

John S. Chorba, MD

University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

John Chorba, MD, is a physician-scientist and cardiologist focusing on developing chemical tools to investigate the mechanistic basis of cardiovascular disease and develop novel therapies. Dr. Chorba graduated from Harvard Medical School, completed his internal medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and his clinical cardiology fellowship at UCSF. He performed his postdoctoral work under Kevan Shokat at UCSF, where he is now an Assistant Adjunct Professor.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Genome-wide screening reveals novel modulators of the hepatic low-density lipoprotein receptor

Steven M. Corsello, MD

Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Dr. Steven Corsello is a physician-scientist and medical oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Corsello received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by subspecialty training in medical oncology and hematology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is a recipient of the National Cancer Institute K08 Award and the American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award. His research, in the laboratory of Dr. Todd Golub, focuses on the application of genomic methods to cancer therapeutic discovery. He currently leads the Drug Repurposing Project, an effort to evaluate all available clinical drugs using information-rich cellular assays and apply the results to develop therapeutic hypotheses. In a recently published study, Dr. Corsello systematically tested existing drugs against barcoded cell lines to discover new cancer vulnerabilities.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Adenosine receptor antagonists exhibit potent and selective off-target killing of FOXA1-high cancers

John P. Dekker, MD, PhD

NIH, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Dr. Dekker received his MD from Harvard Medical School and PhD from Harvard University through the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program. He completed Pathology residency and fellowship training in Medical Microbiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and is board-certified in both through the American Board of Pathology. In 2013, he joined the NIH Clinical Center as a senior staff member of the Microbiology Service in the Department of Laboratory Medicine. In this role, he co-directed the Bacteriology, Specimen Processing, Parasitology, and Molecular Epidemiology sections of the clinical laboratory before serving as acting chief of the Microbiology Service in 2018. In 2018, Dr. Dekker was named as a Lasker Clinical Research Scholar and recruited as a tenure-track investigator within the NIAID intramural research program, where he established the Bacterial Pathogenesis and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit within the Laboratory for Clinical Immunology and Microbiology.  

Dr. Dekker is an Editor for the Journal of Clinical Microbiology and has served on FDA Anti-Infective Drug Advisory Committees. In 2016, Dr. Dekker received the Beckman-Coulter Young Investigator award from the American Society for Microbiology, and he received an NIH Clinical Center CEO Award in 2017 for developing diagnostic methods using next-generation sequencing.

One of the main areas of focus within Dr. Dekker’s research laboratory is the application of genomic techniques to understand the evolutionary mechanisms by which bacterial antibiotic resistance emerges. Another important area of focus within the lab is the study of bacterial pathoadaptation in the natural contexts of acute and chronic infection. Population genomics approaches are applied in combination with in vitro adaptive evolution experiments to understand selection dynamics and host-pathogen interactions in the context of defined genetic immunodeficiency diseases.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Highly parallel genomic sequencing reveals distinct evolutionary trajectories facilitating rapid development of antibiotic resistance in mismatch repair-deficient Pseudomonas aeruginosa hypermutators

Kathryn M. Dupnik, MD

Weill Cornell Medical College
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Kathryn M. Dupnik, MD, is a physician-scientist who studies differential human immune response to mycobacterial pathogens, focusing on Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. leprae. After receiving her medical degree from the University of Virginia, she completed Internal Medicine residency training at NY Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center. She did her Infectious Diseases fellowship training at Weill Cornell Medicine, where she is now an Assistant Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and Immunology and faculty in the Center for Global Health. Dr. Dupnik’s translational research agenda includes the study of the pathologic immune reactions of leprosy and assessment of the dynamics of coinfection with M. tuberculosis and HIV. She is a former Associate Scientific Advisor for Science Translational Medicine and recently authored the M. leprae chapter for the 9th edition of Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Transcriptome of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in leprosy prior to and at the time of leprosy reversal reactions

Brian T. Emmer, MD, PhD

University of Michigan Medical School
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Brian T. Emmer, MD, PhD, is a Michigan native, and attended the University of Michigan during his undergraduate education with a major in Cell and Molecular Biology. He then joined the Medical Scientist Training Program at Northwestern University where he received his MD and PhD, studying the molecular basis of flagellar protein trafficking and trypanosome pathogenicity in the laboratory of Dr. David Engman. He returned to the University of Michigan for his residency in Internal Medicine, after which he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan as a Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, with 20% of his effort spent attending and teaching on the Hospitalist service and the remaining 80% dedicated to research in the laboratory of Dr. David Ginsburg. The focus of his postdoctoral research has been the molecular basis of cholesterol regulation. He first completed a genome scale CRISPR screen to identify SURF4 as a cargo receptor facilitating the ER exit of PCSK9. His subsequent research has focused on the generation and characterization of mice with germline and tissue-specific deletion of Surf4, and on extending genome-scale CRISPR screening to identify novel genetic modifiers of hepatocyte LDL uptake. He has received research support from a KL2 Career Development Award from the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, a K08 Career Development Award from the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, an Early Career Outstanding Research Award from the AHA ATVB Council, a McKay Award and Bo Schembechler “Heart of a Champion” Research Award from the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. He recently accepted an appointment as an Instructional Track Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and is now transitioning into his independent research program, where he plans to continue to leverage genome editing and massively parallel sequencing to better understand the molecular pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Genome scale CRISPR screening for modifiers of cholesterol homeostasis

Guido J. Falcone, MD, ScD, MPH

Yale School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Guido Falcone, MD, ScD, MPH, is a Neurologist with subspecialty training in Neurocritical Care and Stroke, and an Epidemiologist with expertise in Population Genetics and Big Data. Dr. Falcone completed his clinical training in Neurology and Neurocritical Care at FLENI (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and the Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA). In parallel to his clinical training, Dr. Falcone completed a Masters of Public Health and a Doctorate in Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, the latter with minors in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. During his last year as a doctoral student, Dr. Falcone completed the SPOTRIAS (Specialized Programs of Translational Research in Acute Stroke) Fellowship, an NIH-sponsored training program specifically designed to equip physicians in training with a wide variety of analytical tools related to translational sciences and clinical research. The goal of Dr. Falcone’s research is to understand how common and rare genetic variation influences the risk, severity, evolution, and recurrence of stroke. He is also interested in understanding how genetic risk factors for cerebrovascular disease influence brain health, cognition and disability. This work is conducted within the construct of the International Stroke Genetics Consortium, where he serves as the Chair of the Intracerebral Hemorrhage Working Group, and is supported by grants from the Yale Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, NIH-NIA, NIH-NINDS, American Heart Association and Neurocritical Care Society. Dr. Falcone is the recipient of the Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging (K76).

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Sex and Genetic Predisposition Synergistically Influence Risk of Stroke and Myocardial Infarction in Middle-Aged Persons without Risk Factors

Rasheeda Hall, MD, MBA, MHS

Duke University School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Rasheeda Hall, MD, MBA, MHS, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at Duke University. As a clinician-investigator, Dr. Hall conducts health services research that focuses on adapting current geriatric models of care to prevent and manage geriatric problems in older adults with kidney disease. She is a 2018 recipient of the National Institute on Aging’s Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging and the American Society of Nephrology-Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program award. Her current research includes observational cohort studies of physical function, cognition, and resilience in older dialysis patients, qualitative studies on quality of life and geriatric syndromes in older dialysis patients, pharmacoepidemiology of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) in older dialysis patients, and deprescribing interventions for patients with kidney disease. 

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Potentially inappropriate medications and risk of adverse outcomes in chronic kidney disease

Christopher S. Hourigan, DM, DPhil, FACP, FRCP

NIH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Christopher S. Hourigan, DM, DPhil, FACP, FRCP, is Chief of the Laboratory of Myeloid Malignancies in the Hematology Branch of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He trained at Oxford and then Johns Hopkins and was recruited to the NIH to develop a new program in Myeloid Malignancies. The central focus of his laboratory is the “detection of measurable residual disease in acute myeloid leukemia”. He is also a practicing acute leukemia physician and continues to see patients as a part-time Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Hourigan is a member of the ELN International Consensus Committee on Measurable Residual Disease in Acute Myeloid Leukemia, the NCI Myeloid Malignancies Precision Medicine Initiative, the ASH Clinical Guideline Panel on AML in Older Adults, is Scientific Co-Director of the new trans-NIH Myeloid Malignancies program and is Co-Chair of the Acute Leukemia Working Committee of the CIBMTR. He is married, with two sons.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Impact of conditioning intensity of allogeneic transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia with genomic evidence of residual disease

Stefanie Krick, MD, PhD

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Stefanie Krick, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Krick’s lab focuses on the role of fibroblast growth factor signaling in inflammatory lung diseases. She has characterized fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 23 as a pro-inflammatory circulating factor contributing to the development of airway inflammation. In addition, she found that alpha-klotho, its co-receptor, can attenuate both inflammation and fibrosis in the diseased lung.

Dr. Krick received her medical degree in Germany as well as her PhD, which was in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, in New York and her medical residency and pulmonary, critical care fellowship at the University of Miami, where she joined to become faculty in 2015. She joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2017.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Novel Anti-Aging Strategies to Inhibit the Effect of Bronchial Cell Senescence on Mucociliary Dysfunction

Hrishikesh S. Kulkarni, MD, MSCI

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Hrishikesh S. Kulkarni, MD, MSCI, is an Instructor of Medicine at the Washington University in St. Louis. He completed his medical school from Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital in Mumbai, India, and moved to the United States in 2009 to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. He first worked at the University of California, San Francisco on the role of TLR2 agonists in acute lung injury, followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He subsequently joined Washington University School of Medicine for a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and joined faculty in 2018 as a transplant pulmonologist.  

During his postdoctoral training, he demonstrated that airway epithelial cells are unique in having intracellular stores of the complement protein C3, and these stores can be augmented to mitigate cell death. Since then, he has developed in vitro and in vivo approaches to test these observations, and has been dissecting the mechanism by which these intracellular proteins contribute to cellular survival. He will be starting his laboratory as an Assistant Professor in July 2020. He will continue to utilize models of bacterial pneumonia, and collaborate with the Division of Surgery to test the role of complement proteins in modulating immune responses in experimental lung transplantation. A major focus of their work will involve distinguishing the role of locally-derived complement proteins in the lung from those present in the blood, and how they modulate the development of acute lung injury. 

Dr. Kulkarni's work is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, American Lung Association and Children's Discovery Institute. The overarching goal of his research program is to determine how epithelial cell-derived proteins can be harnessed to mitigate the risk of acute lung injury in various settings, to ultimately reduce the burden of end-stage lung disease. 

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Complement component C3 facilitates protection against lung epithelial injury through the alternative pathway

John K. Lee, MD, PhD

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

John K. Lee, MD, PhD, received an AB magna cum laude in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College, an MD from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and a PhD from the Molecular Biology Institute as a Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) medical oncology fellow at UCLA. His PhD thesis under the mentorship of Dr. Owen Witte focused on characterizing determinants of aggressive prostate cancer. His postdoctoral research with Dr. Witte involved the identification of cell surface antigens in subtypes of prostate cancer and the development of immunotherapeutics against these targets. Dr. Lee started his independent research program in the Human Biology Division at Fred Hutch in March of 2018. He is also a medical oncologist who specializes in advanced genitourinary cancers and sees patients at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/University of Washington Medical Center. 

Title of abstract presented for recognition

A next-generation functional genomics strategy to deconvolute compound genetic drivers and phenotype-to-genotype relationships in bladder cancer

Pui Y. Lee, MD, PhD

Harvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Pui Lee, MD, PhD, is a pediatric rheumatologist at Boston Children's Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.  He received his MD/PhD degrees from the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed residency and fellowship training at Boston Children's Hospital.  His research interests include the role of immunometabolism in myeloid cell development and the mechanism of autoinflammatory diseases in children.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Genotype and functional correlates of disease phenotype in deficiency of adenosine deaminase 2 (DADA2)

Alan S. Lewis, MD, PhD

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Alan S. Lewis, MD, PhD, completed his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. He then received his MD and PhD at Northwestern University as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program, where his doctorate research studied trafficking mechanisms of neuronal voltage-gated ion channels in the lab of Dr. Dane Chetkovich. He subsequently undertook residency training in psychiatry at Yale University in the Neuroscience Research Training Program. While at Yale he conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Marina Picciotto, studying nicotinic receptor regulation of aggressive behavior in mouse models, supported in part by a fellowship from Autism Speaks. After joining the faculty at Yale as an Instructor, he moved to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2018, where he is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He is supported by a K23 career development award from NIMH to continue his study of hippocampal mechanisms of aggression regulation in animal models as well as nicotinic receptor regulation of emotion-based impulsivity. Dr. Lewis is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in General Psychiatry, and in addition to his research efforts, serves as an attending psychiatrist in the Vanderbilt University Hospital Emergency Department.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Mossy cells in the caudal hippocampus regulate aggressive behavior

Jennie Lin, MD, MScTR

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Jennie Lin, MD, MScTR, is an adult nephrologist with a research focus on the functional genomics of kidney and cardiometabolic disease. As a K08 investigator, she is building a research program at Northwestern University dedicated to the translation of human-based discoveries to new biological insights. Areas of study include (1) the role of RNA biology in mechanisms of lipoprotein metabolism and fibrosis and (2) functional interrogation of molecular mechanisms by which common genetic variants influence disease phenotype. Her group employs an integrative approach including kidney organoid and macrophage models derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells, genetic interrogation with genome-editing technology, animal-based mechanistic studies, and single-cell RNA sequencing. 

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Profiling APOL1 Nephropathy Risk Variants in Genome-Edited Kidney Organoids with Single-Cell Transcriptomics

David Liu, MD, MPH, MS

Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

David Liu, MD, MPH, MS, is a medical oncologist and computational biologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with affiliations at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Broad Institute. He received a BA in Economics and MS in Computer Science at Stanford University and was a software engineer and data analyst at Amazon.com before changing careers and going into medicine, receiving an MD and MPH (concentration in Biostatistics and Epidemiology) from Johns Hopkins. He did his residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital, hematology/medical oncology fellowship at DFCI/Harvard CancerCare, and postdoctoral training in Dr. Eliezer Van Allen’s lab.

His lab focuses on computational approaches to (1) dissect clinical tumor evolution and heterogeneity; and (2) build integrated clinical and molecular models to predict response to therapy across tumor types and therapies. 

He has received the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Physician-Scientist Training Grant, Society for Immunotherapy of Cancers Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, NIH K08 career development award, Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award, and American Association of Cancer Research Rising Stars award.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Integrative molecular and clinical modeling of clinical outcomes to PD-1 blockade in metastatic melanoma patients

Jonathan J. Lyons, MD

NIH, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Jonathan J. Lyons, MD, graduated with a BA in Chemistry from Pomona College in 2003 and received his MD from USC in 2007. He subsequently completed residency training in Internal Medicine at UCSD in 2010, where he served as a Chief Resident in 2011, and concluded his formal medical training in 2014 at NIAID as a Clinical Fellow in Allergy/Immunology. That year he was selected for the NIAID Transition Program in Clinical Research and named an Assistant Clinical Investigator in the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases. In 2015 he was awarded the AAAAI Foundation/The Mastocytosis Society Research Award in Mastocytosis and/or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome in order to support his ongoing studies on the hereditary basis for elevated basal serum tryptase. Dr. Lyons received NIAID Merit Awards in 2016 and 2017 for related work, and in 2018 Dr. Lyons received the Lasker Clinical Research Scholarship Award. Based upon this track-record of success, in late 2018 he was appointed as a tenure-track investigator and named the Chief of the Translational Allergic Immunopathology Unit.

Dr. Lyons participates in a number of intramural activities at NIH, including the Allergy/Immunology Clinical Fellowship Training Program where he serves on the Program Evaluation, Fellowship Selection, and Mentorship Committees. He is also an integral member of the NIAID Human Genetics Committee, where he helped to create a framework for intramural policies governing reporting of genetic sequencing results within the institute. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the NIAID Clinical Genomics Program and is the Medical Advisory Investigator for the NIAID Genomic Research Integration System.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Dualistic impact of increased germline TPSAB1 copy number on AML risk and survival

Andrew F. Malone, MD

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Andrew F. Malone, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and an academic transplant clinician scientist. He received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, before earning his medical degree at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2005. He then completed Internal Medicine training at The National Kidney Transplant Center at Beaumont Hospital Dublin and specialist training in Nephrology in Ireland before moving to the US where he received Nephrology Fellowship training at Duke University Medical Center and Transplantation Nephrology Fellowship training at Washington University before joining the faculty at Washington University. His clinical interests focus on antibody mediated rejection diagnosis and therapies and recurrent glomerulonephritis. He continues to see transplant patients at Barnes Jewish Hospital and Washington University. His research training was genetics, in particular, familial FSGS and Alport syndrome and he has been involved in the discovery of a number of genes and mutations that cause disease. His research now involves the investigation of the transcriptional and molecular responses in acute antibody mediated rejection using single cell RNA-seq methods on rejecting transplant biopsies. He is the director of the Washington University Kidney Translational Research Core for Transplantation. This is a large bio-repository of over 12,000 blood, urine, and tissue samples from kidney transplant recipients. He is currently funded by the NIDDK K08 program to study ABMR using single cell genomics methods and continue as site-PI for a number of clinical trials in transplantation. He is a current member of the American Society of Nephrology Policy and Advocacy Committee. He is also involved in education and has served as a contributor to the Renal Fellow Network and a regular commentator for AJKD online. He is a Member of the American Society of Transplantation, the American Society of Nephrology and the Royal College Physicians in Ireland.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Plasma Cell Clonotype discordance between rejecting Kidney Transplant Biopsy and paired Peripheral Blood Samples

Anna V. Mathew, MBBS

University of Michigan Medical School
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Anna V. Mathew, MBBS, is dual boarded in adult and pediatric nephrology and trained exclusively to provide nephrology care for patients across the age spectrum. After her fellowship at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Mathew joined the University of Michigan to expand on her research training in cardiovascular biology and analytical mass spectrometry. She uses these techniques to explore molecular mechanisms of atherosclerosis in animal models and in clinical studies to address elevated burden of cardiovascular disease in kidney patients. Dr. Mathew is exceptionally productive and has a total of 27 peer-reviewed papers (9 first author) published in high impact journals like Nature Immunology, Nature Microbiology, Diabetes Care, and Diabetes. She was awarded the Elizabeth Caroline Crosby Research Award and four pilot grants in the last two years. Dr. Mathew was also awarded young investigator award in the International Society of Nephrology and Metabolomics meetings. Her work was named the ‘Top Oral abstract by Trainee’ in the annual American Society of Nephrology 2014, and her work was awarded distinction in scholarship in Physiological Genomics by the American Physiological Society. In 2016, she was awarded a K08 career development grant and promoted to Assistant Professor with an independent research team and lab.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Tryptophan levels predict incident cardiovascular disease in chronic kidney disease

Dolly Ann Padovani-Claudio, MD, PhD

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Dolly Ann Padovani-Claudio, MD, PhD, was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where she obtained her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez. Following completion of MD and PhD (Neuroscience) degrees at Case Western Reserve University through the Medical Scientist Training Program, she completed ophthalmology residency as well as research and pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus fellowships at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. She is now a member of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) faculty where she is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology in the Physician-Scientist Track. Her laboratory is focused on finding new treatments for angiogenic retinopathies such as diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. At VUMC, Dr. Padovani-Claudio provides ophthalmic care to children at risk of vision loss and is developing a translational research portfolio with support from the NIH and several Foundations. She has been featured as an Emerging Vision Scientist in Washington DC representing the vision scientist community under the auspices of the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research and showcased by the National Eye Institute (NEI/NIH) as a Hispanic investigator that contributes to NEI’s mission to understand, prevent, and treat eye diseases. Dr. Padovani-Claudio is passionate about mentoring the next generation of physicians and scientists and promoting diversity in academia. At VUMC, she serves as the co-chair of the steering committee for Women on Track, an organization that aims to support the advancement, promotion, and retention of women in academia, and as the VUMC Ophthalmology Diversity Liaison and AUPO Champion for Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring. Nationally, she serves as a mentor in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s minority mentoring program, member of the Diversity Initiatives Committee of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and faculty mentor for the Rabb-Venable Ophthalmology Program of the National Medical Association. 

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Investigation of glial-derived novel targets for diabetic retinopathy therapy

William F. Parker, MD, MS

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

William F. Parker MD, MS, is an instructor of pulmonary and critical care medicine and senior fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Ethics at the University of Chicago. He studies the impact of organ allocation policies on patients and the behavior of transplant programs. Dr. Parker’s overall goal is to apply advanced data science methods such as deep learning to organ allocation, designing systems that efficiently and fairly allocate these scarce health care resources to the patients most in need. He was recently funded by the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute to develop a novel heart allocation system using machine learning (K08 HL150291).

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Association of transplant center with survival benefit among adults undergoing heart transplantation in the United States

Amanda Marma Perak, MD, MS

Northwestern Memorial Hospital
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Amanda Marma Perak, MD, MS, received her BA in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago and her MD and MS in Clinical Investigation from the Northwestern University (NU) Feinberg School of Medicine. She trained in pediatrics and pediatric cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University before returning to NU in 2015 for training in advanced cardiac imaging and cardiovascular epidemiology and prevention. Dr. Perak is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Cardiology and Preventive Medicine at NU and a pediatric cardiologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She is committed to preventing atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases and heart failure by promoting optimal cardiovascular health from the beginning of life. Her clinical and teaching interests are in pediatric preventive cardiology and noninvasive cardiac imaging. Her research centers on defining and intervening at the origins of cardiovascular and metabolic function. Dr. Perak’s specific areas of focus include maternal-fetal cardiometabolic health, molecular mechanisms of cardiometabolic health development (e.g., microbiomics, metabolomics), and behavioral interventions to improve cardiometabolic health in youth. Her research is supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (K23), the American Heart Association (SFRN), the Dixon/NUCATS Translational Research Initiative, the Woman’s Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and the NU Department of Pediatrics.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Associations of maternal cardiovascular health in pregnancy with offspring cardiovascular health in childhood: the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Follow Up Study (HAPO FUS)

Heather H. Pua, MD, PhD

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Heather Pua, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Pua received her MD/PhD from Duke University, where she defined a role for autophagy in promoting survival and mitochondrial clearance in T cells in the laboratory of Dr. You-Wen He. She completed her residency and fellowship in Pathology as well as her postdoctoral training at UCSF, where she worked with Dr. Mark Ansel to leverage miRNAs as discovery tools in allergic lung inflammation. Dr. Pua’s laboratory studies small non-coding RNAs as cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic regulators of pathologic tissue inflammation, especially through their emerging roles as extracellular communicators. Dr. Pua is also a practicing molecular genetic pathologist.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Increased immune extracellular RNAs and vesicles in the lung during allergic airway responses

Sidharth Puram, MD, PhD

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Sidharth Puram, MD, PhD, received dual degrees in Biology and Neuroscience from MIT, followed by an MD/PhD at Harvard Medical School with doctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Azad Bonni, where he studied EGFR signaling in glioma and centrosomal regulators of dendrite morphogenesis. He went on to complete his Postdoctoral Fellowship with Dr. Bradley Bernstein at MIT Broad/Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Puram is currently an Assistant Professor and Head and Neck Surgeon at Washington University in St. Louis, where his group focuses on genetic, transcriptional, and epigenetic heterogeneity in head and neck cancer and its relationship to cancer phenotypes such as metastasis, drug resistance, and local invasion that may be driven by tumor subpopulations. During his postdoctoral training, Dr. Puram completed the first major single cell RNA-sequencing analysis of an epithelial malignancy (carcinoma), identifying a partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition program which appears to trigger metastasis, poor outcomes, and extra-capsular extension/lymphovascular invasion. These studies have been the foundation for further studies of the pathways that may drive the p-EMT state, and in particular, biomarkers of p-EMT that may be used to predict patient outcomes. In addition, Dr. Puram’s group is utilizing advanced genomic techniques to characterize changes in heterogeneity upon immunotherapy, as well as determining how heterogeneity may change in distinct head and neck cancer subsites including HPV-related oropharynx tumors and larynx cancers. Dr. Puram plans to utilize patient-derived xenograft models and organoids to further study these early findings. His research related to head and neck tumor heterogeneity has been awarded a Cancer Research Foundation Young Investigator Award, American Society for Clinical Investigation Young Physician-Scientist Award, and a V Scholar Grant as well as NIH K-series support.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Malignant and immune cell heterogeneity modulates responses to immunotherapy in head and neck cancer

Radha Rajasingham, MD

University of Minnesota Medical School
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Radha Rajasingham, MD, is an Infectious Diseases physician and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

She is building a clinical research career in reducing AIDS-related deaths in sub Saharan Africa through screening and prevention programs for opportunistic infections. She has developed expertise in the evaluation of cost-effective HIV diagnostic and treatment algorithms to maximize efficiency in resource-poor settings.

Dr. Rajasingham has led an international consortium to estimate the global burden of cryptococcal infection, and the burden of advanced HIV disease in Africa. She is an international expert on the prevention of cryptococcal meningitis. Since 2012 she has been a co-investigator in cohort studies, clinical trials, and cost-effectiveness analyses evaluating cryptococcal prevention programs in Uganda, South Africa, and Ethiopia. For her K23 award, she is PI of a randomized clinical trial evaluating high dose AmBisome to prevent cryptococcal meningitis in Uganda. Her work has influenced WHO guidelines and US DHHS guidelines.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

The Burden of Advanced HIV Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa

Mark E. Roeser, MD

University of Virginia School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Mark E. Roeser, MD, was born with Tetralogy of Fallot and received a repair as a toddler. This fueled his interest in medicine and gave him drive in his studies. He was elected AOA at UTSW and stayed there for his general surgery training at Parkland. He did his thoracic training under Irv Kron at UVA, and found interest in lab there.

He is a congenital heart surgeon at UVA where he performed the state's first successful Berlin heart LVAD and the first successful Berlin heart BiVAD. He also performed the first Heartware HVAD pediatric implant in the state of Virginia, as well as the breadth of congenital heart surgeries. He performed the first bilateral pediatric lung transplant in the state of Virginia for pulmonary hypertension, and still operates on the occasional 80-year-old ascending aortic dissection.

His research emphasis is on treating ischemia reperfusion injury in ECMO patients. He has a K08 award and is investigating a porcine extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation model using FDA approved adenosine A2A receptor agonist Regadenoson as a preliminary study to a human trial. He also rehabilitated human donor lungs with ex-vivo lung perfusion using an A2A agonist. With his mentor, Dr. Kron, he designed an in-vivo porcine lung isolation/perfusion technique to successfully rehab septic lungs, and has applied for DOD funding using this model. He designed and patented a ventricular nitinol stent to stabilize the left ventricle and cardiac septum to negate suction events, improve laminar flow, and stabilize RV function for long term ventricular device therapies, and is currently implanting these in an ovine left ventricular assist device model. Every step of his journey has uniquely prepared him for his current research, including the Parkland Burn unit where he became interested in limiting secondary burn progression.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Inhibition of burn progression using an adenosine A2A receptor agonist

Daniella M. Schwartz, MD

NIH, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Daniella M. Schwartz, MD, received a BA in Biochemistry and French (Cum Laude) from Rice University in 2001, and an MD from Wake Forest in 2007 (Alpha Omega Alpha). She completed an Internal Medicine Residency and Chief Residency at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  She completed a Rheumatology fellowship at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) from 2012-14, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship as a Metzger Scholar in Translational Research in the lab of John O’Shea from 2015-18. During her postdoctoral fellowship, she studied the effects of retinoids on the Th9 transcriptional and epigenomic program, and she was involved in the discovery of the autoinflammatory disease HA20. In 2018, she joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as Assistant Clinical Investigator (ACI), where she is investigating the regulation and roles of atopy-associated cytokines in rheumatic diseases.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Unique innate function of Human T helper 9 cells promotes allergic disease

Nilay S. Sethi, MD, PhD

Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Nilay S. Sethi, MD, PhD, was born and raised in New Jersey and received his BS from The College of New Jersey, his MD from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and his PhD in molecular biology from Princeton University. He then matriculated to the University of California, San Francisco for an internal medicine residency. Dr. Sethi returned to the east coast to complete his hematology and oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he remains as a medical oncologist. He splits his time between taking care of patients with gastrointestinal cancers in the clinic and investigating a subset of these cancers in the laboratory. He is particularly keen on better understanding how early genetic alterations engage environmental risk factors to promote premalignant gastrointestinal conditions. Most recently, he developed an integrative mouse model that combines p53 alterations with dietary carcinogen exposure to study gastric premalignancy. He has also established an avenue of research in colorectal cancer, defining a molecular circuit and stem cell program that is constitutively active in this prevalent malignancy. By leveraging data from patients, mouse models, and cell culture studies, he is motivated to provide an integrated understanding of early events in gastrointestinal cancers with the ultimate hope that the knowledge gained will inspire new avenues for cancer prevention and treatment.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

SOX9 is required for colorectal cancer by regulating an essential stem cell program

Ciara M. Shaver, MD, PhD

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Ciara M. Shaver, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine. She received her BA from Rice University and then her MD and PhD in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. After moving to Vanderbilt, she completed Internal Medicine residency, a chief residency, and fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. She joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2015. Her growing basic and translational research program centers on mechanisms of acute lung injury with an emphasis on inflammation during critical illness and after lung transplantation. Several years ago, she and others discovered that elevated levels of cell-free hemoglobin were present in the airspace during ARDS and in the circulation prior to lung transplantation. Early research in her laboratory identified a subpopulation of macrophages in the airspace that engulf hemoglobin and are no longer able to respond to inflammatory stimuli, representing a potential approach to limit acute lung injury. A second focus of her research is the mechanisms of primary graft dysfunction after lung transplantation. They recently discovered that circulating levels of cell-free hemoglobin prior to lung transplant are independently associated with increased risk of primary graft dysfunction. Using an ex vivo human lung perfusion model, they demonstrated that hemoglobin directly injures the lung endothelium and identified a potential therapy that may mitigate hemoglobin-mediated lung injury. In the future, her laboratory will continue to use murine and human lung model systems to comprehensively explore the underlying mechanisms of ARDS and primary graft dysfunction. In addition, She manages a biorepository including explanted human lungs, declined human donor lungs, and serial bronchoalveolar lavage, blood, and biopsy samples from lung transplant recipients to facilitate detailed basic and translational studies in a variety of acute and chronic lung illnesses.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Immunomodulation of alveolar macrophages by cell-free hemoglobin during acute lung injury

Niraj K. Shenoy, MD, MS

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Niraj K. Shenoy, MD, MS, obtained his medical degree from Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute, India. He gained exposure in Medical Oncology as a junior resident at St. John’s Medical Hospital, India. He then moved to the United States, and completed a residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/ Jacobi. Next, he completed a 3-year fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. During his fellowship at Mayo Clinic, he also completed a Masters in Clinical Research from Drexel University (distance learning). He is American Board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology. Currently, he is a faculty Assistant Professor of Medicine (Oncology) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/ Montefiore, in the physician-scientist track.

His lab works on understanding and targeting the interactions between epigenetic dysregulation, aberrant metabolism, and immune evasion in cancer (with a keen current interest in exploring the therapeutic potential of high-dose ascorbic acid as an anti-cancer agent targeting these mechanisms). As an extension of his pre-clinical work, he has designed three phase 2 randomized clinical trial protocols combining high-dose IV ascorbic acid with the standard of care (in three different cancers- kidney cancer, lymphoma and MDS), which are either actively accruing patients (kidney cancer, lymphoma) or pending regulatory approvals (MDS). His outpatient oncology clinical practice focuses on Genitourinary malignancies (particularly kidney cancer).

His first/ corresponding author work has been published in a number of high impact journals, including JCI, PNAS, Cancer Cell, Annals of Oncology, Blood and Blood Cancer J. He has served as an expert reviewer for numerous peer-reviewed journals in Oncology, has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences, and has received regional and national awards for his research as a young investigator. He also has a keen interest in teaching, and has been inducted into the Leo M. Davidoff Society of the Albert Einstein College of Medcine as a recognition for his teaching accomplishments. 

 

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Functional Succinate dehydrogenase deficiency is a pathognomonic adverse feature of clear cell renal cancer

David H. Spencer, MD, PhD

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

David H. Spencer, MD, PhD, is a molecular pathologist and an expert in cancer genomics and epigenetics who has made significant contributions to our understanding of genomics and epigenetics of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). His accomplishments include a study of the epigenetic effects of the drug decitabine in primary AML samples that provided one of the first genome-wide views of the DNA methylation changes directly caused by this drug. He also co-led a study of tumor subclones in AML patients, which demonstrated that genetically-defined AML clones can have distinct functional properties both in vivo and in vitro. Dr. Spencer’s contributions also include a comprehensive epigenetic analysis of the HOX gene clusters in AML samples and normal hematopoietic cells, which demonstrated that the most common HOX expression pattern in AML involved a canonical set of genes in the HOXA and HOXB gene clusters and is shared with normal hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. This study also identified distinct regions within these HOX clusters that are likely targets of regulatory activity in AML cells. In addition, Dr. Spencer led a genome-wide analysis DNA methylation patterns associated with the DNA methyltransferase DNMT3A in AML samples. This study showed that the AML-initiating DNMT3AR882 mutation results in hypothmethylation in preleukemic cells, and is therefore an initiating phenotype in AML. His analysis also demonstrated that CpG island hypermethylation in AML is mediated by DNMT3A,  and likely occurs as a consequence of leukemic transformation. Dr. Spencer has been an ASH Scholar Award recipient and is a Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award Scholar.

 

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Transcriptional activation of the HOXA locus in NPM1 mutated AML cells is independent of CTCF-mediated chromatin loops

Ashley L. Steed, MD, PhD

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Ashley Steed, MD, PhD, is a physician-scientist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Critical Care Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Duke University. Thereafter she matriculated in the NIH-sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University for her medical and graduate school. Her graduate work in immunology focused on understanding host responses to infections, and specifically, elucidated the role of interferon gamma in suppression of viral reactivation from latency. Then she completed clinical training with a residency and chief-residency in Pediatrics and subspecialty training in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. She joined the faculty at Washington University in 2016.    

Dr. Steed’s research investigates the role of the microbiota in the establishment and maintenance of antiviral immunity. She was a fellow in the national Pediatric Scientist Development Program and one of the first trainees in the Oliver Langenberg Physician-Scientist Training Program at Washington University. Her work demonstrated that specific bacteria and associated metabolites enhance innate immunity and afford protection in animal models of influenza infection. Currently, she aims to define the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which microbial dysbiosis impacts host immunity. She is funded externally by the NIH-NIAID and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and internally by the Department of Pediatrics, the Children’s Discovery Institute, and the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University.   

Title of abstract presented for recognition

The microbiota shape cell-specific host and viral transcriptomics

Adina F. Turcu, MD, MS

University of Michigan Medical School
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Adina Turcu, MD, MS, is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Turcu completed her Endocrinology fellowship at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, and subsequently pursued a postdoctoral fellowship with focus on adrenal pathophysiology and steroid biology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Turcu’s research focuses on primary aldosteronism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and adrenal androgenesis across ages. She has expertise in mass spectrometry, and she has a particular interest in identifying novel biomarkers with clinical relevance in adrenal disorders. Dr. Turcu’s research is currently supported by the NIH and by a Doris Duke Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award. Dr. Turcu is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, such as the Mayo Clinic Randall G. Sprague Award for outstanding clinical, investigative, and academic achievement in Endocrinology; the Endocrine Society Early Investigators Award, and the Susan G. Urba MD Early Career Endowment Award.

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Clinical utility of steroid biomarker panels in the diagnosis and management of non-classic 21-hydrohylase deficiency

Aaron D. Viny, MD, MS

New York Presbyterian Hospital
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Aaron D. Viny, MD, MS, is a hematologic oncologist and his career goal is to better understand the functional role of chromatin structure in transcriptional regulation of both normal and malignant hematopoiesis. This work is focused primarily through the lens of cohesin complex alterations but likely represents a convergent mechanism of transformation with other epigenetic drivers in cancer, particularly acute myeloid leukemia. He graduated in the inaugural class of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine; a program designed to train physician-scientists. His graduate research was in the lab of Dr. Maciejewski and focused on bone marrow failure syndromes, including myelodysplastic syndrome. He played a central role in identifying a polymorphism in the NKG2D receptor agonist, MICA as a driver of clonal lymphoproliferation in LGL leukemia. Given his strengths in molecular genetics and hematopoiesis, it was a natural progression upon beginning his fellowship at MSKCC to join the laboratory of Dr. Levine whose prior work in myeloproliferative neoplasms and AML is well known. Under the mentorship of Dr. Levine, he was well-positioned to characterize the mechanisms and determine the clinical significance of cohesin mutations in myeloid disease. Together, they generated novel cohesin mouse models and intersected phenotypic, transcriptional, and chromatin conformation datasets to identify the functional effects of cohesin loop abnormalities in hematopoiesis. His aim is to develop a research program that interrogates the effects of epigenetic disease alleles on 3-dimensional DNA structure in normal and malignant tissue. These structural aberrations will be leveraged for epigenetic reprogramming and synthetic lethal modifications. In addition to his academic history, he is a survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia after an allogeneic bone marrow transplant at age 21. The passion and dedication that he brings to the bench, influenced by the time he spent at bedside, gives him a unique perspective that will undoubtedly increase the likelihood of his success. 

Title of abstract presented for recognition

Determining 3D chromatin structure dynamics and dependency in transcriptional control of cohesin mutant cancer

Abolfazl Zarjou, MD, PhD

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
(affiliation at time of recognition)

About the awardee

Abolfazl Zarjou, MD, PhD, is currently Assistant Professor at Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He is an active physician-scientist with research interests focused on the iron metabolism/ferritin system in the context of acute kidney injury and vascular diseases. His research is currently supported by a K08 award to decipher the potential causal relationship between iron metabolism derangements during advanced CKD and vascular calcification. His research has been recognized for excellence by multiple societies including first place winner of Southern Society for Clinical Investigation Nephrology Young Investigators' Forum (2012) and first place winner of the National Kidney Foundation Young Investigators Forum (2017).

Title of abstract presented for recognition

A novel and reproducible model of vascular calcification associated with chronic kidney disease in mice