NIH Director's Early Independence Award Recipients
Jonathan Abraham, M.D., Ph.D.Brigham and Women's Hospital
Project Title: Antibody Therapeutics for Human Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers and Prevention of Late Neurological Syndromes
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023084
Jonathan Abraham is an Instructor in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and a Clinical and Research Fellow in Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. He obtained his B.A. at Harvard College, his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in the Harvard-MIT combined M.D.-Ph.D. program, and completed residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His research focuses on the human antibody response to emerging viruses using structural biology, molecular virology, and immunology.
Marie-Abèle Bind, Sc.D.Harvard School of Public Health
Project Title: Transporting Established Insights from Classical Experimental Design to Address Causal Questions in Environmental Epidemiology including the Understanding of Biological Mediating Mechanisms
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021412
Funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Dr. Marie-Abèle Bind earned her joint Sc.D. degree in Environmental Health and Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Subsequently, she worked as a postdoctoral Ziff Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment with Prof. D. Rubin and estimated causal effects of extreme weather exposures on health under the Rubin Causal Model. Dr. Marie-Abèle Bind is a Research Associate in the Statistics Department at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University. Her research focuses on transporting classical experimental insights into the field of environmental epidemiology, as well as developing new causal inference methods to address causality when examining the effects of environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution and extreme weather) on health in complex settings (e.g., missing data and big data).
Jacob O. Brunkard, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley and USDA ARS Plant Gene Expression Center
Project Title: An Aminoacyl tRNA Synthetase is a Nitrogen Sensor that Activates TOR in Plants
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023072
Jacob Brunkard is a researcher in UC Berkeley’s Plant and Microbial Biology Department and the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Plant Gene Expression Center. Dr. Brunkard conducted his doctoral research with advisor Dr. Pat Zambryski at UC Berkeley, and earned his B.A. in Biology and History with high honors from Swarthmore College. His doctoral dissertation investigated intercellular communication in plants and chloroplast redox signaling. Dr. Brunkard’s group is focused on the TOR metabolic signaling network in plant development and physiology, emphasizing insights into the evolution of TOR signaling networks across eukaryotes.
Brandon DeKosky, Ph.D.The University of Kansas
Project Title: Comprehensive Analysis of Human Adaptive Immune Receptors to Elucidate Correlates of Epstein-Barr Virus Disease Suppression
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023118
Brandon DeKosky is an assistant professor at the Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Chemical & Petroleum Engineering at the University of Kansas. He also is affiliated with the Kansas Vaccine Institute in the KU School of Pharmacy. Brandon attained his Ph.D. in the lab of George Georgiou at the University of Texas at Austin where he developed the first technology for high-throughput sequencing of complete antibody variable regions from single B cells, providing an entirely new window for understanding immune responses to vaccination and disease. Brandon performed his postdoctoral studies in the lab of John Mascola at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center, where he applied high-throughput immune technologies to accelerate development of vaccines and therapeutics against HIV, Ebola virus, and Zika virus. Brandon’s lab at KU specializes in the invention and application of high-throughput immune technologies to detect key molecular features of immune responses, and in translating those insights into novel strategies to combat human diseases.
Sherrie J. Divito, M.D., Ph.D.Brigham and Women's Hospital
Project Title: Investigating a Novel Cell Population in Delayed-Onset Drug Hypersensitivity Reactions
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023091
Sherrie Divito received her MD and PhD (Immunology) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Medical Scientist Training Program. Her graduate work focused on cellular therapeutics, dendritic cell biology, and T cell effector responses in transplantation. She completed dermatology residency in the research track at Harvard, then joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Divito’s lab performs translational research, utilizing patient samples and humanized mouse models, with the direct goal of improving patient care. The lab currently leverages innovative technologies and assays to investigate the immune system in delayed-type drug allergies.
Jesse R. Dixon, M.D., Ph.D.Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Project Title: Mechanisms of Formation of 3D Genome Structures
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023071
Jesse Dixon is a faculty fellow in the Salk Helmsley Fellows program at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Prior to joining Salk, Jesse completed his M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of California at San Diego. During his Ph.D., Jesse worked in the laboratory of Bing Ren studying higher order chromatin structure. Jesse’s lab is interested in how our genomes are organized in 3D space inside the nucleus and how alterations to 3D genome structure can influence the development of human disease.
Valentino M. Gantz, Ph.D.University of California, San Diego
Project Title: Development, Characterization and Application of CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Drive Technologies and Related Active Genetic Elements to Benefit Research and Society at Large
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023098
Valentino Gantz is a Postdoctoral researcher in the Biological Sciences division at UC San Diego. During his time as a graduate student at UCSD, Valentino conceived and tested a new application of the CRISPR/Cas system. The resulting technology, the mutagenic chain reaction or MCR, is a new method that allows MCR-type "active" genetic elements to be propagated at double the expected frequency. In brief, in the germline of animals heterozygous for an "active" transgene, the element is capable of converting the second chromosome leading to homozygosity. This genetic behavior, also known as gene drive, holds great promise for basic research, fighting insect-borne diseases and crop pest control. In a fruitful collaboration with the James Lab at UC Irvine, Valentino helped bring this technology to a mosquito system, with the end goal of using gene drive to modify a mosquito population not to be competent to carry the malarial parasite. Valentino has also been involved with the UCSD Biosafety Committee in outlining the UCSD safety guidelines for the cautious use of “active genetics” technologies in the laboratory and, among his colleagues, they are progressing towards the establishment of national guidelines.
Daniel P. Giovenco, Ph.D., M.P.H.Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Project Title: Geographic Variation in the Diverse Tobacco Retail Environment and Its Impact on Tobacco Use Disparities
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023064
Daniel Giovenco completed his undergraduate degree at The College of New Jersey and received both his M.P.H. and Ph.D. from the Rutgers School of Public Health, where he trained under Dr. Cristine Delnevo in the Center for Tobacco Studies. His research uses geographical information systems, field data collection, and survey data to uncover how community characteristics, such as the tobacco retail environment, influence racial and ethnic disparities in substance use. Dr. Giovenco is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Kristen Koenig, Ph.D.Harvard University
Project Title: Investigating Organ Formation and the Emergence of Complexity in the Visual System Using Comparative Developmental Approaches
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023111
Kristen Koenig received a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology and History from University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. At University of Texas, Kristen worked in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Gross to develop the squid, Doryteuthis pealeii as a system to study the evolution and development of complex visual systems. Currently Kristen is a John Harvard Distinguished Science Fellow at the FAS Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University. The Koenig Lab is interested in using comparative developmental, cellular and genetic approaches to study visual systems as a model for understanding the emergence of organ complexity.
Aashish Manglik, M.D., Ph.D.Stanford University School of Medicine
Project Title: Molecular Mechanisms of Iron Homeostasis
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023048
Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Aashish Manglik is currently the first Stanford Distinguished Fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine. He received B.A. degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis followed by an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Stanford University. His graduate research under the mentorship of Brian Kobilka focused on the structural and biophysical basis of G protein-coupled receptor signaling. Now, the Manglik lab aims to understand the molecular basis of transmembrane signaling and transport using a broad range of methods in structural biology, protein biophysics, pharmacology, and protein engineering.
Micaela Elvira Martinez, Ph.D.Princeton University
Project Title: Hacking Epidemics: Unlocking the Drivers of Transmission Seasonality to Battle Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023100
Micaela E. Martinez (https://memartinez.org) is currently a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, and a Postdoctoral Affiliate of the Global Health Program in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. She earned a Ph.D. in 2015 from the University of Michigan Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, a B.S. in Biology, and a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Alaska Southeast. She uses cutting-edge statistical methods and dynamic models to deconstruct epidemics and reveal information about host-to-host transmission of viral infections, immunity in the population, and vaccine efficacy. She works at the intersection of epidemiology, computational biology, chronobiology (i.e., the study of biological rhythms), and ecology. Her traditional training in biology, coupled with research in computational/applied mathematics and statistical inference, has allowed her to develop a unique expertise: leveraging Big Epidemiological Data to unmask population-level biological processes that impact human health.
Monica Mugnier, Ph.D.Johns Hopkins University
Project Title: Variant Surface Glycoprotein Diversification in Trypanosoma brucei
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023065
Monica Mugnier received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Tufts University and went on to do her Ph.D. at Rockefeller University in the lab of Dr. Nina Papavasiliou. In Dr. Papavasiliou’s lab, Monica studied the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, which is the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis, a devastating disease posing a huge economic and public health burden on sub-Saharan Africa. During her Ph.D., Monica developed bioinformatics tools for studying the way this parasite evades recognition by its hosts’ immune systems. Now, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, her lab will focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms of immune evasion in T. brucei.
Steve Ramirez, Ph.D.Harvard University
Project Title: Artificially Modulating Memories to Alleviate Psychiatric Disease-Like States
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023106
Steve Ramirez is a Junior Fellow and Principle Investigator at Harvard University. He received his B.A. in neuroscience from Boston University and began researching learning and memory in the laboratory of Howard Eichenbaum. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in neuroscience in the laboratory of Susumu Tonegawa at MIT, where his work focused on artificially modulating memories in the rodent brain, and his current work focuses on leveraging these manipulations to alleviate symptoms associated with psychiatric diseases. Steve has also received the Smithsonian's American Ingenuity award, National Geographic's Breakthrough Explorer prize, Forbes and Technology Review's Top 35 Innovators Under 35 award, and has given a TED talk.
Aaron Ring, M.D., Ph.D.Yale University School of Medicine
Project Title: Uncoupling Pleiotropy in the LIGHT/HVEM/LTBetaR Signaling Network
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023088
Aaron Ring received his undergraduate training at Yale University and entered the Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program for his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. At Stanford, he worked in the laboratories of K. Christopher Garcia and Irving Weissman to use structure-based protein engineering to develop new cytokine and immune checkpoint therapies for cancer. Aaron joined the faculty of the Yale Department of Immunobiology in 2016 as the Robert T. McCluskey Yale Scholar and Assistant Professor. The focus of his research is to understand and manipulate the activity of immune receptors using structural and combinatorial biology approaches.
Matthew H. Spitzer, Ph.D.University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Quantitatively Modeling Immune Responses to Cancer
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023056
Matt completed his training in Immunology at Stanford University in the laboratories of Garry Nolan and Edgar Engleman. There, he developed experimental and analytical methods to model the state of the immune system using high dimensional single-cell data. This led Matt to develop the first reference map of the immune system, providing a framework into which new data can be integrated and compared for system-wide analysis. He has also developed new strategies for inducing powerful immune responses against cancer. Matt’s lab combines methods in experimental immunology and cancer biology with computation to understand the modes in which the immune system can respond to tumors and to rationally initiate curative immune responses against cancer.
Kevin Yackle, M.D., Ph.D.University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Cellular and Molecular Identification of the Breathing Pacemaker Neurons
Grant ID: DP5-OD-023116
Kevin Yackle is currently a Sandler Faculty Fellow in the Department of Physiology at UCSF. Previously, he earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Stanford University under the supervision of Mark Krasnow. Kevin created the first systematic molecular map of the neurons that generate the breathing rhythm and demonstrated that small numbers of molecularly distinct neurons have dedicated, interesting, and important functions in breathing. At UCSF, the Yackle lab will adapt new methods to extend upon the molecular map in order to identify the key neurons that generate the breathing rhythm, with the ultimate goal of transforming medical fields like neonatology by developing a novel approach to control breathing pharmacologically.
Joseph Bondy-Denomy, Ph.D.University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Discovering New Roles for CRISPR-Cas in Bacterial Pathogenesis
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021344
Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases & Office of the Director
Dr. Bondy-Denomy received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Waterloo and went on to do a Ph.D. in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. Working in Dr. Alan Davidson’s lab, Joe studied the interactions between bacterial viruses (called phages) and the bacteria that they infect. During his Ph.D., he characterized various aspects of the CRISPR-Cas bacterial immune system in the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and discovered phage-encoded “anti-CRISPR” proteins that inhibit CRISPR-Cas function. Now, as a Sandler Faculty Fellow at UCSF, his lab will be exploring various aspects of CRISPR-Cas biology, studying the function and regulation of these immune systems in various bacterial pathogens.
Marie A. Bragg, Ph.D.New York University
Project Title: Impact of Racially Targeted Food and Beverage Ads on Adolescent Behavior
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021373
Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Library of Medicine & Office of the Director
Marie Bragg is an Assistant Professor in the Section for Health Choice, Policy, and Evaluation in the Department of Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine. She holds a joint faculty appointment with the NYU College of Global Public Health. Marie earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Yale University where she trained at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Her research assesses how food marketing impacts the health of racial/ethnic minority communities and evaluates how food policies can improve health.
Shadmehr Demehri, M.D., Ph.D.Massachusetts General Hospital
Project Title: The Mechanism of TSLP Anti-Tumor Effects in the Skin
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021373
Funded by the National Cancer Institute & Office of the Director
Shadmehr (Shawn) Demehri, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology and Cancer Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degree in cell and molecular biology from Washington University in St. Louis. After completing his dermatology residency at Washington University, Dr. Demehri joined Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School as a faculty in the Center for Cancer Immunology. His work focuses on understanding the role of the immune system in regulating the early stages of cancer development.
Terence P. Gade, M.D., Ph.D.Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Project Title: Image-Based Phenotyping of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Survival Under Ischemic Stress: Toward Metabolic Imaging of Cancer Dormancy Using Hyperpolarized Carbon-13 Technology
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021391
Funded by the National Cancer Institute & Office of the Director
Terence Gade received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University completing his doctoral training in 2008. He completed residency training on the research track in Diagnostic Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. While a resident, Dr. Gade co-founded the Penn Image-Guided Interventions Laboratory. Dr. Gade subsequently completed fellowship training in Interventional Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania where he is currently an Assistant Professor of Radiology and Cancer Biology. The research interests of his laboratory lie at the intersection of image-guided interventions, cancer biology and molecular imaging in seeking to unravel the influence of the tumor’s metabolic microenvironment on cancer cells as well as non-cancerous stromal cells.
Dylan G. Gee, Ph.D.Weill Cornell Medical College and Yale University
Project Title: Novel Mechanisms of Fear Reduction Targeting the Biological State of the Developing Brain
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021370
Dylan Gee received her B.A. in Psychological and Brain Studies from Dartmouth College in 2007 and completed research training at the NIMH and NYU. Dr. Gee received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA in 2015. She completed her predoctoral clinical internship at Weill Cornell Medical College and a research fellowship at the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology. Dr. Gee’s research aims to delineate typical and atypical brain development, elucidate how early environments and genetic factors influence sensitive periods in neurodevelopment and risk for psychopathology, and translate knowledge of brain development to optimize clinical interventions for child and adolescent mental health disorders. With support from the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award and a NARSAD Young Investigator Award, Dr. Gee is launching her laboratory as an Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and will begin as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Yale University in 2016.
Matthew B. Greenblatt, M.D., Ph.D.Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Project Title: Modulation of Bone Formation by SHN3
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021351
Matthew Greenblatt is Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College studying bone biology, with an emphasis on searching for new molecular pathways that can be targeted to increase bone formation. He received a combined M.S./B.S. from Yale University and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard Medical School, completing his M.D. studies in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology program. His Ph.D. thesis was completed in the laboratory of Dr. Laurie Glimcher. He is also a pathologist, completing residency training at Brigham and Women's Hospital before serving as an Assistant Director of the Core Clinical Laboratories at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Campus.
Elaine L. Hill, Ph.D.University of Rochester School of Medicine
Project Title: The Health Consequences of Shale Gas Development
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021338
Dr. Elaine Hill received her B.A. in Economics and Mathematics at Oberlin College in 2005 and her Ph.D. in Applied Economics from the Dyson School at Cornell University in May 2014. Dr. Hill is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at University of Rochester School of Medicine. Broadly, her research is at the intersection between health, health policy, the environment and human capital formation, with a particular focus on early origins research linking in utero environment to later life health and educational attainment. Her most recent research utilizes quasi-experimental methods to study the impacts of shale gas development on infant health in the US. With the support of the DP5 Early Independence Award, Dr. Hill will continue to expand her research studying the health consequences of shale gas development on additional health end points, clarifying some potential pathways of exposure and studying lease clauses that may provide health protections to people living nearby the industry.
Patrick David Hsu, Ph.D.Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Project Title: Eukaryotic Transcriptome Engineering via Sequence-Specific Regulation of Endogenous RNA
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021369
Patrick D. Hsu is a Principal Investigator and Salk Helmsley Fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. Working with Feng Zhang and Xiaowei Zhuang at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, he played a key role in developing the CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering technologies for efficient and precise application in eukaryotic cells. As a lead scientist at Editas Medicine, Patrick also directed preclinical discovery projects to translate these tools for treating human genetic disorders. He was recognized for these contributions in 2015 by Forbes' 30 Under 30. At the Salk, the Hsu lab develops diverse approaches from synthetic biology, genomics, and neuroscience for the high-throughput interrogation and control of transcriptional and epigenetic cell states, particularly for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease and complex genetic disorders.
William J. Israelsen, Ph.D.UT Southwestern Medical Center
Project Title: Development and Use of a Novel, Tractable Rodent Model for Studies of Hibernation Metabolism
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021365
William Israelsen is a Sara and Frank McKnight Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He received B.A. degrees in Biology and Economics from Utah State University and completed his Ph.D. in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Vander Heiden. While there, he investigated the changes in cellular metabolism that support the proliferation and survival of cancer cells. His work on cancer metabolism led to a strong interest in the extreme metabolism and physiology of hibernating mammals. His lab at UT Southwestern uses biochemistry and genetics to understand the mechanisms of hibernation phenotypes in a model hibernator.
Andrew C. Kruse, Ph.D.Harvard Medical School
Project Title: Molecular Mechanisms of Adiponectin Signaling and PAQR Function
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021345
Andrew Kruse is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. Previously, he completed his Ph.D. in Structural Biology at Stanford University under the supervision of Brian Kobilka. Andrew’s research at Stanford focused on structural and mechanistic studies of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), with a particular focus on the molecular details of GPCR allosteric modulation. Now, the Kruse lab aims to extend and adapt methods developed in the GPCR field to other important human membrane proteins, with the long term goal of understanding the molecular details of transmembrane signaling pathways involved in human health and disease.
Dmitry Lyumkis, Ph.D.The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Project Title: Breaking Barriers in Structural Biology: Novel CryoEM Methods and Applications
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021396
Funded by the National Cancer Institute & Office of the Director
Dmitry Lyumkis received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, San Diego and his Ph.D. in Biology and Biophysics from The Scripps Research Institute. As a graduate student, he worked on the development and application of tools for cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM), with the goal of understanding the structure and function of macromolecular protein complexes. Dmitry used cryoEM to determine the structure of the HIV-1 Envelope trimer, the sole target for broadly neutralizing human antibodies, and the major focus for rational vaccine design. The high-resolution structure of the trimer revealed mechanistic details concerning HIV-1 antigen-antibody interactions and, crucially, represents a platform that is currently being used to improve vaccine design efforts that aim to eradicate the AIDS pandemic. Dmitry is currently a Helmsley Fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where his group is using cryoEM to study the structure and function of macromolecular complexes that play critical roles in inflammation and cancer.
John D. Medaglia, Ph.D.University of Pennsylvania
Project Title: Dynamic Network Neuroscience and Control Theory: Toward Interventions for Cognitive Control Dysfunction
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021352
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health & Office of the Director
John Medaglia received his B.S. in Psychology from Drexel University in 2008 and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with specializations in Neuropsychology and Neuroscience from Pennsylvania State University in 2014. During his graduate studies he received a predoctoral NRSA for his research on the contribution of cortical and subcortical brain regions to cognitive control functions in traumatic brain injury. Currently, John is promoting interdisciplinary research between the departments of Psychology, Bioengineering, and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. His current aim is to clarify the dynamic network processes underlying cognitive control function and dysfunction in health and stroke, and how network control theory can inform personalized interventions for cognitive dysfunction.
Jason Sheltzer, Ph.D.Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Project Title: Identification and Characterization of Genomic Features Affecting Survival Duration in Cancer
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021385
Jason Sheltzer received an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, Jason worked in the laboratory of Dr. Angelika Amon to characterize the effects of aneuploidy on genome stability and tumorigenesis. Following graduation, Jason established his own research group as a Fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The Sheltzer Lab applies in vitro, in vivo, and in silico analyses to understand the genetic changes that underlie cancer development and progression.
David A. Solomon, M.D., Ph.D.University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Cohesin Gene Mutations in Tumorigenesis
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021403
David Solomon is a neuropathologist and cancer researcher at the University of California, San Francisco with a dedicated interest in the genetic alterations that drive cancer development. He received a B.S. in Molecular Cell Biology from the College of William and Mary in 2002 and his M.D. and Ph.D. from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2012, where he completed thesis research in the lab of Dr. Todd Waldman identifying novel transforming pathways in the brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme. He then completed an Anatomic Pathology Residency and Neuropathology Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Solomon is the author of more than 30 original scientific publications which most recently include the discovery of frequent inactivating mutations of the cohesin complex gene STAG2 in glioblastoma, urothelial bladder cancer, and the bone cancer Ewing sarcoma. His current research focuses on understanding the function of the cohesin complex during tumorigenesis and developing novel targeted therapies for the many cancers harboring cohesin gene mutations.
Adam M. Sonabend, M.D.Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Project Title: TOP2A Effects on Transcription in Gliomas: Implications for Personalized Therapys
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021356
Dr. Sonabend is an Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at Columbia University. His research focuses on TOP2A effects on transcription in gliomas and the related therapeutic implications for personalizing therapy. He also investigates novel means of delivery of chemotherapy into the brain that overcome the blood brain barrier. In addition to running a research laboratory, he is a practicing neurosurgeon with an emphasis on brain tumors, and is involved in several neurooncology clinical trials. Dr. Sonabend earned his M.D. degree at UNAM, Mexico. Subsequently, he worked at The University of Chicago, where he pioneered the use of stem cells as carriers for adenoviral oncolytic therapy for glioblastoma. He then trained in neurosurgery at Columbia University/Neurological Institute of New York where he performed research on the relationship between transcriptional regulation and the selection of genetic alterations during glioma progression, and on drug delivery strategies for brain tumors.
Zhao Zhang, Ph.D.Carnegie Institution for Science
Project Title: Somatic Transposition-Mediated Genome Variegation during Development, Disease and Aging Conditions
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021355
Zhao Zhang established his own research lab at Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Embryology in 2014, after receiving his Ph.D. at University of Massachusetts Medical School under the guidance of Phillip Zamore and William Theurkauf. Since graduate school, he has been fascinated by the most abundant element in our genome, transposons, also known as jumping genes. During his Ph.D., he studied the mechanisms that suppress transposons in animal germ cells to maintain animal fertility. Now his lab is building tools to understand how transposons are controlled in somatic tissues, particularly under aging and disease conditions, such as cancer.
Kyle R. Allison, Ph.D.Columbia University
Project Title: Isolation and Systems-Level Characterization of Persistent Bacteria
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019792
Michael Angelo, M.D., Ph.D.Stanford University
Project Title: Predictive Signatures in Breast Cancer using Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging
Grant ID: DP5-OD-021412
Funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Dr. Angelo received his M.D. Ph.D. at Duke University in 2010, prior to entering residency training in clinical pathology at the University of California in San Francisco. During a research fellowship at Stanford in 2012, Dr. Angelo developed multiplexed ion beam imaging (MIBI), a novel approach to immunohistochemistry (IHC) that uses secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and antibodies labeled with elemental mass tags to visualize dozens of proteins simultaneously in a single tissue section. Dr. Angelo is currently an instructor in the Department of Pathology at Stanford University. His lab is working to both optimize a purpose built mass spectrometer for MIBI analysis and to apply these new tools to predict disease progression in pre-invasive cancer lesions, enumerate immune cell populations in normal and neoplastic solid tissues, and discover epigenetic drivers of epithelial to mesenchymal transition.
Elika Bergelson, Ph.D.University of Rochester
Project Title: Mechanisms of Word Learning in Infancy
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019812
Dr. Elika Bergelson received her B.A. in Language and Mind at NYU in 2007, followed by a yearlong Baggett Research Fellowship at the University of Maryland. She then received her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2013, followed by a one year postdoc at the University of Rochester. In her research on infant word learning, Dr. Bergelson has uncovered that infants begin to understand words many months earlier than was previously thought, which in turn highlights the need for a reassessment of current theories of early language acquisition and cognitive development, and a deeper understanding of the environment’s influences on early linguistics skills; this is what Dr. Bergelson is presently exploring, through her EIA-funded research. She is currently an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Rochester’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences department, and will begin as an Assistant Professor in Duke’s Psychology and Neuroscience department in the fall of 2016.
David C. Chan, M.D., Ph.D.Palo Alto Institute
Project Title: The Benefit and Burden of Electronic Reminders for Optimizing Patient Care
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019903
G. Sean Escola, M.D., Ph.D.Columbia University
Project Title: The Internal States of Neural Circuits: Data Analysis, Modeling, and Disease
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019897
John Hanna, M.D., Ph.D.Brigham and Women's Hospital
Project Title: New Ubiquitin-Proteasome System Components that Protect against Proteotoxicity
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019800
John Hanna is a pathologist and cell biologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford, and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard Medical School. He then completed clinical training in Pathology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. John’s lab studies intracellular protein degradation, with an emphasis on the ubiquitin-proteasome system.
Alison Hill, Ph.D.Harvard University
Project Title: Quantification and Prediction of Treatment Efficacy for HIV Cure Strategies
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019851
Alison Hill is currently a Research Associate in the department of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and a member of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. She develops mathematical and computational models to help predict and interpret the outcomes of treatments for HIV/AIDS, focusing on preventing the evolution of resistance to antiretroviral therapy and on understanding the effects of new anti-latency drugs. Alison began working on HIV dynamics under the supervision of Martin Nowak and Bob Siliciano, while obtaining her Ph.D. in the Harvard Biophysics Program and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Before that, she received a B.S. in Physics from Queen's University. Her previous research has used math to understand how both infections spread through complex social networks, how the body regulates iron stores, and how primitive multicellular organisms manage division of labor.
Perry Hystad, Ph.D.Oregon State University
Project Title: PURE-AIR: A Global Assessment of Air Pollution and Cardiopulmonary Disease
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019850
Perry Hystad is an Assistant Professor within the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University. In 2013 he completed his Ph.D. in Epidemiology at the University of British Columbia. Broadly, his research focuses on understanding health determinants related to place (i.e. where we live, work and play). A large portion of his research examines the chronic health effects associated with exposure to air pollution, using spatial exposure assessment methods to model air pollution exposure in large health studies. Given the spatially correlated nature of environmental and social health determinants, he integrates his research within a multidisciplinary framework to capture the complexity of how place influences health.
Robert Judson, Ph.D.University of California San Francisco
Project Title: MicroRNA-Based Detection of Barriers to Melanoma Progression
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019787
Robert Judson received his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Wesleyan University, and performed his undergraduate thesis research studying the secondary structure of the hepatitis delta RNA genome at Georgetown University with Dr. John Casey. As a post-baccalaureate fellow at the NICHD in Bethesda, MD, he examined the effect of nucleosome positioning on the integration sites of retrotransposons and HIV with Dr. Henry Levin. Robert received his Ph.D. from UCSF for his work with Dr. Robert Blelloch. During this time he discovered microRNAs that could reprogram cell state and developed methods for using these small RNAs to dissect networks of interacting genes that stabilize skin cells against re-acquiring embryonic programs. With the support of the DP5 Early Independence Award, Robert is now a Sandler Faculty Fellow in the Helen Diller Cancer Center at UCSF, applying these techniques for the discovery of novel methods for diagnosing and preventing melanoma initiation.
Duncan Maru, M.D., Ph.D.Brigham and Women's Hospital
Project Title: Integrating Pediatric Care Delivery in Rural Healthcare Systems
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019894
Duncan Maru, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in the Division of Global Health Equity and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is the Co-Founder, Chief Strategy Officer, and Board Member of Possible, a For-Impact organization delivering high-quality, low-cost healthcare to the world's poor. His research focus is on using implementation science methods to improve the delivery of evidence-based healthcare interventions in settings of extreme poverty. He also practices part-time on the Complex Care Service at Boston Children’s Hospital. Duncan graduated from Harvard College, received his MD/PhD from Yale University, and completed the Harvard Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Program and the Brigham and Women’s Global Health Equity Residency Program. Duncan’s work as a doctor and epidemiologist has generated over 35 peer-reviewed articles. In 2013, he was named a ‘Young Star in Global Health’ by Grand Challenges Canada and a 2015 Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation.
Aaron Meyer, Ph.D.Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Project Title: Adapter-Layer RTK Signaling: Basic Understanding & Targeted Drug Resistance
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019815
Aaron Meyer received his B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California, Los Angeles and his Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At UCLA in the lab of Daniel Kamei, Aaron worked to develop more sensitive and lower cost diagnostics with micellar systems. As a graduate student, he studied the signaling regulation of tumor cell migration and metastasis within the labs of Douglas Lauffenburger and Frank Gertler. Aaron became a Research Fellow at the Koch Institute for Cancer Research at MIT in September 2014. There, his lab focuses on understanding cell signaling redundancy to identify better targeted cancer therapies, and developing multiplexed methods to measure dynamic protein interactions.
Eric Jorge Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.Stanford University
Project Title: A Novel Approach to Improve Patient Care and Diarrheal Disease Research using Mobile Technology
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019893
Our mission is to ask how we might leverage mobile technology to improve the care and research of patients with diarrheal diseases which is the second leading cause of death of children between 1 month and 5 years of age. In partnership with the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, we have built an Android-based platform that automates WHO treatment guidelines and provides real-time epidemiologic support. This platform will be validated at the level of rural hospitals and then shifted to the level of community pharmacists that serve as first responders when families are struck by diarrheal disease. This shift from hospital-based intervention to community-based intervention will improve access to high-quality care and make possible a new approach to study diseases like cholera at the early disease state. This is a critical step forward to identify actionable determinants that put families at risk of severe disease.
Yakeel T. Quiroz, Ph.D.Massachusetts General Hospital
Project Title: Memory Network Dysfunction as an Early Marker of Preclinical Alzheimers Disease
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019833
Dr. Quiroz is a neuropsychologist and researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She completed her Ph.D. training in clinical psychology at Boston University and a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. By applying her efforts to the world’s largest family with a single Alzheimer-causing mutation, her research has provided evidence of asymptomatic brain changes decades before they give rise to detectable Alzheimer’s. Her findings have helped the field to re-conceptualize Alzheimer as a sequence of changes that begins years before cognitive decline, and which may be targeted by promising disease-slowing treatments at a time in which they might have their most profound effect. With an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, Dr. Quiroz recently launched her own lab where she seeks to identify and validate biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.
Amanda Randles, Ph.D.University of California - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Project Title: Toward Coupled Multiphysics Models of Hemodynamics on Leadership Systems
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019876
Glenn-Milo Santos, Ph.D., M.P.H.Public Health Foundation Enterprises
Project Title: The Better THAN Study: Targeting Heavy Alcohol with Naltrexone among MSM
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019809
Noah Simon, Ph.D.University of Washington
Project Title: Data-Driven Statistical Learning with Applications to Genomics
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019820
Noah Simon is an assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health. He received his Ph.D. from the department of Statistics at Stanford University in 2013 under Dr. Robert Tibshirani. His work focuses developing statistical and computational tools for the analysis of complex, heterogeneous, high dimensional biological data. In particular he works towards personalized medicine: building tools which leverage clinical and biomolecular data to inform treatment decisions. His academic awards include a Weiland Fellowship (2011-2013), and the Genentech Endowed Professorship in Biostatistics at the University of Washington (2014-2015).
Sean Stowell, M.D., Ph.D.Emory University
Project Title: Examination of Innate Immunity Against Molecular Mimicrys
Grant ID: DP5-OD-019892
Gregory M. Alushin, Ph.D.Rockefeller University
Project Title: Mechanosensing Via Cytoskeletal Strain
Grant ID: ZIA-HL-006206
Greg Alushin received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Columbia University in 2006, and in 2012, he completed his Ph.D. in Biophysics at the University of California, Berkeley under the supervision of Eva Nogales. During his graduate studies, he used cryo-electron microscopy to address fundamental questions about the structural basis of microtubule dynamics and their role in chromosome-spindle interactions during mitosis. After a brief postdoc with Clare Waterman, Greg began his independent career as Research Fellow in the Division of Intramural Research of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2013 before moving to Rockefeller University as an Assistant Professor in 2017. His research program is focused on elucidating detailed molecular mechanisms by which cells utilize the actin cytoskeleton to sense and respond to the mechanical properties of their tissue environments, with the long-term goal of developing novel targets for therapeutic intervention in cancer and regenerative medicine.
Isabelle Baconguis, Ph.D.Vollum Institute, OHSU
Project Title: Structure and Function of Epithelial Sodium Channels
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017871
Isabelle Baconguis received her B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Oregon Health and Science University. As a graduate student in the lab of Eric Gouaux, she studied the mechanism of function of acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs), ion channels implicated in nociception and fear conditioning, by x-ray crystallography and electrophysiology. Isabelle joined the Vollum Institute as a Vollum Fellow in 2013. Her lab is interested in elucidating the atomic-scale mechanism of function of epithelial sodium channels (ENaC), how perturbation in the ENaC channel disrupt activity contributing to human diseases like hypertension, and how molecules that directly modulate ENaC activity work.
Hans Tomas Bjornsson, M.D., Ph.D.The Johns Hopkins University
Project Title: Exploring Kabuki Syndrome as a Treatable Cause of Intellectual Disability
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017877
Hans Tomas Bjornsson received his medical degree from the University of Iceland. Dr. Bjornsson then received a Ph.D. degree in human genetics from the predoctoral program in genetics at Johns Hopkins, followed by combined clinical training in pediatrics and clinical genetics at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Bjornsson joined the faculty at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics in 2012, where he runs a clinic dedicated to patients with imprinting disorders and Mendelian disorders of the epigenetic machinery (Epigenetic and Chromatin Clinic). His research on a mouse model of Kabuki syndrome, a Mendelian disorder of the histone machinery, has revealed that manipulation of the epigenome may be a possible therapeutic approach for the intellectual disability seen in this disorder. Dr. Bjornsson has received numerous awards for both clinical care and scientific work, including the Frank Coulson, Jr. Award for Clinical Excellence (2012), an NIH director’s Early Independence Award (2013), the Sir William Osler Young Investigator Award from the Interurban Clinical Club (2014) and the William K. Bowes Jr. Award in Medical Genetics (2014).
Meg Bruening, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Project Title: The Role of Friendship Networks on BMI and Behaviors Among College Freshmen
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017910
Hannah Carter, Ph.D.University of California San Diego, Department of Medicine, Division of Genetics
Project Title: Network Approaches to Identify Cancer Drivers from High-Dimensional Tumor Data
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017937
Dr. Carter received her masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Louisville in 2004 and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2012. While at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Carter developed CHASM, a computational tool to identify causal ‘cancer drivers’ among thousands of mutations detected in tumor exome sequencing studies. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Diego in the Department of Medicine and Division of Medical Genetics, working in the area of cancer systems biology and precision medicine. Ongoing projects in the Carter Lab use techniques from systems biology, machine learning, biostatistics and information theory to model the biological network reorganization that occurs in cancer cells. Dr. Carter is a Siebel Scholar and was recently selected as the Johns Hopkins 2015 Outstanding Recent Graduate.
Christine Ann Denny, M.S., Ph.D.Columbia University Health Sciences, New York
Project Title: Optogenetic Dissection of Hippocampal Circuitry Underlying Alzheimers Disease
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017908
Dr. Christine Ann Denny is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University and a Research Scientist IV at the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc., where she has a laboratory studying the mechanisms of learning and memory in the context of cognitive and psychiatric disorders. Christine’s laboratory focuses on utilizing a murine line, the ArcCreERT2 mice, that she previously created to indelibly label and then manipulate individual memory traces. After being awarded the NIH Director’s Early Independence, Christine also received a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant and is a Co-Investigator on a NYSTEM Shared Facilities for Stem Cell Research Grant. Prior to establishing her laboratory, Christine received her Ph.D. from Columbia University, where she studied the impact of adult hippocampal neurogenesis on learning and memory in Dr. René Hen’s laboratory. Before attending Columbia University, Christine received her B.S. and M.S. from Boston College, where she studied combinatorial lysosomal storage diseases such as GM1 gangliosidosis and Tay Sachs disease in Dr. Thomas Seyfried’s laboratory.
Elaine Y. Hsiao, Ph.D.California Institute of Technology
Project Title: Uncovering Microbial Modulators of Neuroactive Molecules as Novel Therapeutics
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017924
Dr. Elaine Y. Hsiao is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology & Physiology at UCLA, where she leads a laboratory studying fundamental interactions between the microbiome, brain and behavior, and their applications to neurological disorders. Elaine was a Research Assistant Professor at Caltech from 2013-2015, where her group uncovered novel microbial modulators of host serotonin biosynthesis. Elaine received her Ph.D. from Caltech; her studies on the relationships between the microbiota, immune system and nervous system led her to discover that the microbiota can regulate behavioral, metabolic and gastrointestinal abnormalities relevant to autism spectrum disorder. Her work in these areas has led to several honors, including distinction as Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Science and Healthcare, National Geographic’s Emerging Explorer Award and fellowships from the National Institute of Mental Health and Autism Speaks. Before this, she received a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics from UCLA.
Anupam B. Jena, M.D., Ph.D.Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
Project Title: Physician Determinants of Health Care Spending, Quality, and Patient Outcomes
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017897
Anupam B. Jena is an associate professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School and an internist at Massachusetts General Hospital. His work focuses on the economics of physician behavior, medical malpractice, and the economics of innovation. His work has been published in leading journals of economics, medicine, and health policy and has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Forbes, National Public Radio, and Freakonomics. He is a recipient of the Eugene Garfield Award from Research America for the best paper in economics on the economic impact of medical research and a recipient of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research New investigator Award. Dr. Jena also served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Diagnostic Errors in Health Care. Dr. Jena graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received his M.D. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, where he was awarded training fellowships from the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program and the National Institute on Aging, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Sebastian Lourido, Ph.D.Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Project Title: Dissecting Essential Signaling Pathways in Apicomplexan Parasites
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017892
After completing his Ph.D. at Washington University, St. Louis, Sebastian Lourido joined the prestigious Whitehead Fellows program in November 2012, to continue his research on the molecular basis of parasitic diseases. Sebastian and his lab are currently studying the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which latently infects an estimated 25% of the world’s population and can cause harmful infections in immunocompromised individuals and pregnant women. Toxoplasma also serves as a model for studying Plasmodium, which causes malaria and contributes to more than a million deaths each year. Sebastian is the recipient of a Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Fellowship (2012); the Molecular Cellular and Immunoparasitology Scientific Award (2011); the Schlesinger/Olivo Travel Award (2009 & 2010); and the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award (2013).
Jonathan F. Lovell, Ph.D.State University of New York at Buffalo
Project Title: Targeting Tumors with Resealable Nanovesicles Permeabilized by NIR Light
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017898
Dr. Lovell received a B.S. degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo and went on to a M.S. degree in Biochemistry at McMaster University, working in the group of Dr. David Andrews. He pursued doctoral studies at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at University of Toronto under the guidance of Dr. Gang Zheng. In 2012, Dr. Lovell received his Ph.D. and joined the biomedical engineering faculty at University at Buffalo that same year. In 2013, Dr. Lovell was awarded the NIH Early Independence Award. His main research interests involve developing clinically translatable nanoplatforms for improving disease diagnosis and treatment.
William Ludington, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley
David Pincus, Ph.D.Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Project Title: Quantitative Approaches to Reveal the Homeostatic Control Mechanisms of Stress Responses
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017941
David Pincus joined the Whitehead Institute as a Whitehead Fellow in the fall of 2012, after completing his Ph.D. at UCSF under the supervision of Hana El-Samad and Peter Walter. In the El-Samad and Walter labs, David used quantitative approaches to study how cells respond to stress, specifically focused on understanding mechanisms that tune the Unfolded Protein Response to maintain homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum. Prior to graduate school, David was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, and he worked as a technician at the Molecular Sciences Institute under the direction of Orna Resnekov and Roger Brent studying the effects of phosphorylation in regulating transcription in a prototypical MAPK pathway. His laboratory at the Whitehead Institute is focused on elucidating the mechanisms that govern cellular stress responses and decision making circuits.
Lei S. Qi, Ph.D.University of California San Francisco
Project Title: A Novel RNA-Guided Platform for Sequence-Specific Cell Reprogramming
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017887
Lei (Stanley) Qi is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford University. He received a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics with distinction from Tsinghua University in China in 2005, and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. He performed independent research as a Systems Biology Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco from 2012 to 2014. He has invented the CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) technology for precise transcription activation and repression, and the CRISPR technology for genome imaging in living cells. His work has lead to high-throughput functional screening in the human genome. His current research focuses on genetically reprogramming cells for cell-based therapeutics through precise and coordinated expression of multiple sets of genes.
Eric T. Wang, Ph.D.Koch Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Project Title: Post-Transcriptional Regulation of Gene Expression in Neuromuscular Disease
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017865
David Weinberg, Ph.D.University of California San Francisco
Project Title: Formation and Regulation of the Translating mRNP
Grant ID: DP5-OD-017895
David Weinberg received a joint B.S./M.S. degree in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry from Yale University in 2007, where he worked in Sandra Wolin’s lab studying the function of noncoding Y RNAs. He then obtained his Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013. At MIT, his Ph.D. research in David Bartel’s lab at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research led to the discovery and biochemical characterization of RNA interference in budding yeast. In September 2013, David started his lab at the University of California, San Francisco as a Sandler Faculty Fellow in the Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology. His lab applies biochemical, genetic, and computational approaches to understand the molecular basis of translational control and to identify novel mechanisms of post-transcriptional gene regulation.
Alan Anticevic, Ph.D.Yale University
Project Title: Characterizing Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia via Computational Modeling and Pharmacological Neuroimaging
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012109
Alan Anticevic is an associate research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University. His research focuses on mechanistically understanding cognitive and affective disturbances in neuropsychiatric conditions using the combination of state-of-the-art neuroimaging, pharmacology and computational modeling. Dr. Anticevic trained in clinical psychology and cognitive and computational neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis where he worked with Drs. Deanna Barch and David Van Essen (2005-2011). Following doctoral training, he joined the Yale University Department of Psychiatry as research faculty working closely with Dr. John Krystal. Anticevic also currently serves as the administrative director for the Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism and is a recipient of the 2012 NARSAD Young Investigator Award.
Mona Batish, Ph.D.Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
Project Title: Detection of Chromosomal Translocations by Single Molecule RNA Imaging
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012160
Mona Batish received her master's degree in microbial biotechnology from Panjab University in India. She earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2012. With a desire to work on developing novel technologies she joined the laboratory of Drs. Kramer, Tyagi, and Marras at Public Health Research Institute, where molecular beacon probes were invented. She worked with Dr. Tyagi to understand the mechanism by which mRNAs are transported from the cell nucleus to active synapses in hippocampal neurons. Utilizing probes that enabled the detection of single molecules of RNA, Dr. Batish explored cellular sites where alternative splicing of mRNAs occur. Both research areas utilized a single-molecule florescent in situ hybridization method (smFISH), which can light up mRNA molecules at single-molecule resolution in fixed cells. Dr. Batish now plans to employ the power of this extremely sensitive imaging technique to directly observe molecular processes that lead to cancer.
Yvonne Chen, Ph.D.University of California Los Angeles
Project Title: Engineering of computational receptors and gene circuits for T-cell immunotherapy
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012133
Yvonne Chen received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with distinction from Stanford University in 2004. She was a chemical engineer on the technology transfer team for Gardasil, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, at Merck & Co. prior to attending the California Institute of Technology, where she received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2011. For her graduate research, Yvonne developed RNA based regulatory systems for ligand-responsive control over T-cell proliferation, and she continued her exploration of T-cell engineering as a research scientist in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute in 2011. Yvonne is currently a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and will begin her assistant professorship in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA in 2013.
Adam de la Zerda, Ph.D.Stanford University
Project Title: Molecular Imaging of Protein Glycosylation in Living Subjects
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012179
Adam de la Zerda is an Assistant Professor in the department of Structural Biology at Stanford Medical School. In 2011 Dr. de la Zerda finished his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University with Prof. Sam Gambhir, and then did a postdoctoral fellowship in Chemistry at UC Berkeley with Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi. He is working on the development of new molecular imaging technologies to visualize and interrogate various biomolecules in cancer. Dr. de la Zerda has received numerous awards for his research including the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship (2011), Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship (2011; offered but not taken), Era of Hope Distinguished Predoctoral Award (2011), Best Poster Presentation at SPIE Photonics West (2009), the Young Investigator Award at the World Molecular Imaging Congress (2008), the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Predoctoral Award (2008), and the Bio-X Graduate Student Fellowship (2008). He studied Computer Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology where he graduated with a B.Sc. Summa Cum Laude.
Brandon K. Fornwalt, M.D., Ph.D.University of Kentucky
Project Title: Exploring the role of dyssynchrony in pediatric heart disease with MRI
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012132
Brandon Fornwalt grew up in South Carolina and attended the University of South Carolina as an undergraduate in mathematics and marine science. He spent significant time doing research as an undergraduate in Woods Hole, MA at both the Baruch Institute and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Dr. Fornwalt then worked at The Free Medical Clinic in Columbia, SC for a year prior to starting an MD program at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. During his MD training, he also completed a PhD in Biomedical Engineering focused on cardiac imaging in heart failure at the Georgia Institute of Technology. After finishing his MD/PhD in 2010, Dr. Fornwalt spent a year completing his internship in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital before joining the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 2011. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Physiology, Biomedical Engineering and Cardiology, and directs the Cardiac Imaging Research Laboratory at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
Mitchell Guttman, Ph.D.California Institute of Technology
Project Title: Deciphering the mechanism of large ncRNA mediated regulation of cell state
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012190
Mitch Guttman was a fellow at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and a starting Assistant Professor in the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology. Mitch received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he identified and characterized a new class of functional large non-coding RNA genes and their role in controlling cell state decisions in embryonic stem cells. Before this, Mitch received a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Computational Biology and a Master’s degree in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics both from the University of Pennsylvania.
William Kaiser, Ph.D.Emory University
Project Title: RIP1 and RIP3 regulation of apoptosis, necrosis, and inflammation
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012198
William Kaiser received an A.B. in English and a B.S. in Cell Biology from the University of Georgia. As an undergraduate, his research focused on cell death regulation by viruses in the laboratory of Lois K. Miller. As a PhD candidate in Edward Mocarski’s herpesvirology laboratory at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta GA, he investigated the essential antiviral role of programmed necrotic cell death. Genetic studies revealed that despite being important in host defense, the molecular machinery orchestrating necrotic cell death must be held in check for mammalian development, hematopoiesis, T cell receptor signaling, and to suppress chronic inflammation. William Kaiser will join the faculty of Emory University’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the fall of 2012 and will use the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award to establish a research program to define the molecular basis of programmed necrosis.
Ziad Obermeyer, M.D.Brigham and Women's Hospital
Project Title: Unexpected death after medical encounters: Measurement, reporting, and analysis
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012161
Ziad Obermeyer is a staff physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Brigham & Women's Hospital, with a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School. He holds an A.B. from Harvard and an M.Phil. from Cambridge, both in the history and philosophy of science, and worked as a consultant to pharmaceutical and global health clients at McKinsey & Co. before returning to Harvard for his M.D. He spent a year as a researcher at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and completed his clinical residency in emergency medicine at the Brigham & Women's and Massachusetts General Hospitals. His research investigates population health outcomes as a way to evaluate and improve health care in the United States and abroad.
Brad Rosenberg, Ph.D.Rockefeller University
Project Title: Immune profiling by high throughput sequencing of complete antigen receptors
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012142
Brad Rosenberg received his B.S. and M.S. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from Yale University, where he focused his studies on T cell immunology and inflammation. He continued his scientific and medical education in the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program jointly administered by Weill-Cornell Medical College, The Rockefeller University, and The Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. Pursuing his Ph.D. under the mentorship of Drs. Nina Papavasiliou and Charles Rice at Rockefeller, Rosenberg utilized high throughput sequencing technologies to develop new research tools for the study of RNA editing. Using these new techniques, he identified numerous uncharacterized editing sites in mammalian transcriptomes. In May 2012, he completed the clinical component of his M.D. training. He will now establish his own research group as a John C. Whitehead Presidential Fellow at The Rockefeller University, where he will focus on developing high throughput sequencing strategies to profile B and T cell populations in health and disease.
Gregory F. Sonnenberg, Ph.D.Weill Cornell Medical College
Project Title: Regulation of host-commensal relationships in human health and disease
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012116
Gregory Sonnenberg began studying the immune system as an undergraduate researcher at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 2011, Greg completed his doctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania Immunology Graduate Group investigating the mechanisms that regulate immunity and inflammation at mucosal surfaces. With the Early Independence Award, Greg will establish and lead an independent research program within the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, Gastroenterology Division, combining cutting edge translational research and innovative mouse models to investigate interactions between the mammalian immune system and intestinal commensal bacteria in the context of human health and disease.
Matthew Thomson, Ph.D.University of California San Francisco
Project Title: Quantitative models for controlling collective cell fate selection in stem cells
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012194
Matt Thomson obtained his AB in Physics and a PhD in Biophysics from Harvard University. Matt's graduate research with Sharad Ramanathan focused on understanding how cells use molecular circuits to make developmental decisions in response to changing environmental signals. Matt developed mathematical and computational methods for reducing high-throughput data sets to predictive mathematical models of transcriptional regulatory circuits. To test the models, Matt established an experimental system for imaging cell fate decisions in live, differentiating embryonic stem cells. Matt also worked extensively with Jeremy Gunawardena to develop mathematical methods for understanding how complex signaling circuits can store information. Currently, Matt is a Systems Biology Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. In this position, Matt is performing a comparative study of molecular circuits that control cell fate decisions across a large set of cell types. He is also developing quantitative experimental methods for monitoring and manipulating stem cell differentiation in populations of cells to ask how multicellular interactions enable tissues to develop and repair themselves without centralized control.
Gabriel D. Victora, Ph.D.Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Project Title: In vivo approaches to dissecting B cell-T cell cooperation in germinal centers
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012146
Gabriel Victora joined Whitehead Institute as a Whitehead Fellow in early 2012, having graduated with his PhD from New York University’s Molecular Oncology and Immunology training program, during which he conducted research in the labs of Michael Dustin at NYU and Michel Nussenzweig at Rockefeller University. Originally from Porto Alegre, Brazil, Victora earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in classical piano from the Mannes College of Music in New York, prior to transitioning to the life sciences and earning a Master of Science degree in Immunology from the University of São Paulo in Brazil in 2006.
Saul A. Villeda, Ph.D.University of California San Francisco
Project Title: Regulation of Neurogenesis and Cognition by Systemic Age-Related Immune Factors
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012178
Saul Villeda initially studied physiological science as an undergraduate at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). During his time at UCLA he trained in developmental neurobiology in the lab of Dr. Patricia Phelps as a MARC U*Star Fellow. He earned his PhD. degree in Neuroscience from Stanford University. While at Stanford he first trained as a neural stem cell biologist with Dr. Anne Brunet, and went on to complete his doctoral work under the training of Dr. Tony Wyss-Coray. As a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Wyss-Coray he investigated how systemic changes in aging blood contribute to age-related impairments in neural stem cell function and cognitive processes. In September 2012, Villeda joined the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) as a UCSF Faculty Fellow in the Department of Anatomy and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research. His lab at UCSF focuses on understanding how immune-related changes in blood during aging alter regenerative and cognitive functions in the old brain.
Ellen Yeh, M.D., Ph.D.Stanford University
Project Title: Defining the novel eukaryotic biology of the Apicomplexan plastid
Grant ID: DP5-OD-012119
Ellen Yeh received her BA in biochemical sciences from Harvard University. As an MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School, she studied enzymes and pathways involved in biosynthesis of halogenated natural products, under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher Walsh. She then pursued Pathology residency at Stanford, where she turned her clinical focus to infectious disease diagnosis and her research efforts toward the study of malaria with Dr. Joseph DeRisi (UCSF). Her research identified the function of a key antimalarial target, the apicoplast. Ellen will be starting as an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry at Stanford Medical School in the Fall 2012. Her laboratory will continue to elucidate the novel biology of the apicoplast with the goal of developing therapeutics against malaria and related pathogens.
Nicole E. Basta, Ph.D.Princeton University
Project Title: Antibody Persistence after Conjugate Meningococcal Group A Vaccination in Mali
Grant ID: DP5-OD-009162
Nicole Basta is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health and a Research Associate in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Previously, she earned an MPhil in Epidemiology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom where she studied as a Gates-Cambridge Scholar, graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with an undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and conducted infectious disease outbreak investigations as a Florida Epidemic Intelligence Service Fellow at the Florida Department of Health. Basta has designed and implemented international field studies of the epidemiology of asymptomatic carriers of meningococci incollaboration with the African Meningococcal Carriage Consortium and the Centre pour le Développement des Vaccins-Mali. She also has conducted statistical analyses to evaluate the efficacy and impact of influenza vaccines with the Center for Statistics and Quantitative Infectious Diseases. She aims to understand the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases, to assess the direct and indirect effects of vaccination, and to determine optimal strategies for disease prevention and control.
John Calarco, Ph.D.Harvard University
Project Title: Investigating the Role of Alternative Splicing Regulatory Networks in Nervous System Development and Function
Grant ID: DP5-OD-009153
John Calarco obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Toronto in the Department of Molecular Genetics. During his Ph.D. work, he studied the question of how alternative pre-mRNA splicing, a key gene regulatory step in metazoans, contributes to development and function of the nervous system. He has applied numerous genome-wide and directed approaches to investigate this question, resulting in several interesting observations regarding the evolution and impact of alternative splicing regulation in the nervous system. With the help of funding from this NIH award, Calarco will have the opportunity to continue pursuing this research as a Bauer Fellow in the Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University.
James S. Fraser, Ph.D.University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: The Impact of Mutation on the Conformations and Recognition of Ubiquitin
Grant ID: DP5-OD-009180
James Fraser studied cell and developmental biology as an undergraduate at McGill University and performed summer research in evolutionary genomics at the University of Toronto. As a graduate student at UC Berkeley with Tom Alber, he developed new experimental and computational methods to investigate protein conformational dynamics by X-ray crystallography. During his Ph.D., he studied directed evolution as an EMBO short-term fellow in Dan Tawfik’s lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science. In January 2011, Fraser started as a QB3 UCSF Fellow, where his lab focuses on the role of protein motions in catalysis, ligand binding, and allostery.
Randal Halfmann, Ph.D.UT Southwestern Medical Center
Project Title: Contributions of Protein Aggregation to Gene Regulation and Phenotypic Diversity
Grant ID: DP5-OD-009152
Randal Halfmann is a Sara and Frank McKnight Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Halfmann studied genetics at Texas A&M University. He then received his Ph.D. in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, under the mentorship of Dr. Susan Lindquist. While there, he explored the ability of certain proteins to form protein-based elements of inheritance, or prions. At UT Southwestern, he is expanding this work to elucidate the contributions of prion-like protein aggregation to gene regulation and phenotypic diversity.
Jeffrey M. Kidd, Ph.D.University of Michigan
Project Title: Characterizing the Global Architecture of Genomic Diversity
Grant ID: DP5-OD-009154
Jeffrey Kidd received his PhD in 2010 from the Department of Genome Science at the University of Washington, Seattle WA. Under the mentorship of Dr. Evan E. Eichler, he characterized genomic structural variation among humans, giving insight into the mutational mechanisms that alter the content and organization of the human genome. Kidd is currently a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Carlos D. Bustamante in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University, where he applies approaches from genomics and population genetics to understand how the past history of human populations impacts the variation observed around the world today. In January 2012, Kidd will establish his own research group on genomic variation as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan.
Christoph Lepper, Ph.D.Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C.
Project Title: Molecular Mechanisms of Muscle Stem Cells Transitioning into Quiescence
Grant ID: DP5-OD-009208
Christoph Lepper received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. As an undergraduate he studied cartilage development in the Drs. Lian/Stein laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Medical School using an in vitro system to elucidate molecular mechanism driving chondrogenesis. He then pursued his Ph. D. at the Johns Hopkins University in the laboratory of Dr. Chen-Ming Fan where his work was focused on the biology of skeletal muscle. While there, he discovered that adult quiescent muscle stem cells undergo a previously unknown developmental transition from their embryonic and neonatal active muscle progenitors, and consequently differ in their genetic requirements. He has since joined the Carnegie Institution of Washington - Department of Embryology as a Staff Associate, where he will continue elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying this fundamental maturation of muscle stem cells.
Carissa Perez Olsen, Ph.D.Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Project Title: Defining the Impact of Lipid Synthesis and Turnover on Aging in C. elegans
Grant IDL DP5-OD-009189
Carissa Perez Olsen received a B.A. in Biology from Cornell University in 2005. As an undergraduate student, she conducted research projects in the Linster and Wolfner laboratories in the departments of Neurobiology and Behavior and Molecular Biology and Genetics, respectively. Following her undergraduate studies, she attended graduate school at the University of Washington in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program. In 2011, Olsen completed her Ph.D. for my work in Marc Van Gilst’s laboratory on the genetic regulation of de novo fatty acid synthesis. Olsen will use her NIH Director’s Early Independence Award to establish her own laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Rodney C. Samaco, Ph.D.Baylor College of Medicine
Project Title: The Genetic and Neuroanatomical Origin of Social Behavior
Grant ID: DP5-OD-009134
Rodney Samaco received his B.S. in Genetics from the University of California, Davis, and his Ph.D. in Molecular and Human Genetics from Baylor College of Medicine. His research focus has been to understand the role of the transcriptional modulator, MeCP2, in the regulation of molecular pathways underlying the neuropsychiatric features of Rett syndrome and related disorders. With the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, he will focus on studying the key neuroanatomical and molecular determinants of social behavior using mouse models of autism spectrum disorders.
Harris H. Wang, Ph.D.Columbia University Health Services
Project Title: Functional Metagenomic Reprogramminig of the Human Microbiome through Mobilome Engineering
Grant ID: DP5-OD-009172
Harris Wang is a Fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Harris holds B.S. degrees from MIT in Physics and Mathematics and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Biophysics. He also received a joint degree from Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics. In 2009, Harris won the Grand Prize in the National Inventor Hall of Fame's Collegiate Inventors Competition. Wang has been developing foundational technologies in genome engineering to rapidly program cells with improved function and new traits.
Daniela Witten, Ph.D.University of Washington
Project Title: High-Dimensional Unsupervised Learning with Applications to Genomics
Grant ID: DP5-OD-009145
Daniela Witten is an assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Washington, and an affiliate investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Her research involves the development of statistical tools for the analysis of large-scale biological data sets, such as gene expression, DNA copy number, and DNA sequencing data. At Stanford University she received a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Biology with Honors and Distinction in 2005, and a doctorate in Statistics in 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Robert Tibshirani. Her awards include a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (2006-2009), the Gertrude Cox Scholarship from the American Statistical Association (2008), the Genentech Endowed Professorship in Biostatistics at the University of Washington (2010-2011), and the David Byar Young Investigator Award from the American Statistical Association (2011). Witten currently serves on an Institute of Medicine committee reviewing the use of omics-based tests in clinical trials, and as an associate editor for the Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics.
This page last reviewed on August 14, 2017