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2014 New Innovator Award Recipients

Adam R. Abate
University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Microfluidic Immunoprofiling for Biomarker Discovery in Rheumatoid Arthritis


Adam R. Abate graduated from Harvard College in 2002, with an A. B. in Physics. He received his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, studying soft materials and driven non-equilibrium granular systems with Douglas Durian. He returned to Harvard for a postdoc in Physics in the lab of David Weitz, working on a variety of projects in soft matter physics, chemical and microparticle synthesis, and biological applications of microfluidics. While a postdoc, he developed a droplet-based microfluidic sequencer that became the foundation for the sequencing company GnuBIO. He also has a company, Mission Bio, commercializing PCR-Activated Cell Sorting (PACS), a technology developed in his lab. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences in the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) and is part of the joint Berkeley-UCSF bioengineering graduate program, PSPG, and iPQB. He was Awarded the NSF CAREER Award in 2013, and the NIH New Innovator Award in 2014. His research interests are to apply droplet-based microfluidics and NGS for ultrahigh-throughput single cell biology.



Murat Acar
Yale University
Project Title: Quantitative Real-Time Characterization of Single-Cell Aging: From Phenotypes to




Satyanarayana Ande
Georgia Regents University Cancer Center
Project Title: A Multifaceted Approach to Target Obesity


Satyanarayana Ande obtained his Master’s degree (MSc) from Nagarjuna University, India. He earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Hannover Medical School, Germany where he investigated the role of telomerase and telomere dysfunction in liver regeneration and liver tumorigenesis. Later, he performed his postdoctoral studies in the fields of liver cancer and obesity at the National Cancer Institute-Frederick (NCI/NIH). In 2013, he received NCI career transition (K22) award and obtained independent research position at the Georgia Regents University. Dr. Ande is an Assistant Professor in the Georgia Regents University Cancer Center and his laboratory research mainly focuses on obesity, liver cancer and cancer metabolism studies.



Mark L. Andermann
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Project Title: Multiphoton Imaging of Thoughts of Food During Natural and Induced Hunger States




Robert Anthony
Harvard Medical School
Project Title: Glycoengineering In Vivo


Robert Anthony is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, Assistant Immunologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Principle Investigator at the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases. Robert’s laboratory examines the role and regulation of immunoglobulin glycosylation in autoimmune and allergic diseases, and was established in 2012. Robert received a B.A. in biology from Franklin and Marshall College, Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology at USUHS under the supervision of Bill Gause and Joe Urban, and conducted his postdoctoral research with Jeffrey Ravetch at the Rockefeller University (New York, NY).



Reza Ardehali
University of California Los Angeles
Project Title: Exploring Heterogeneity of Cardiac Fibroblasts to Reverse Fibrosis


Reza Ardehali received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering. After finishing medical school, he completed his Internal Medicine residency at Johns Hopkins, followed by cardiology training at Stanford. He joined UCLA as an assistant professor in 2012. His research focuses on mechanisms of cardiovascular development with an emphasis on the generation of novel regenerative approaches to treat heart disease. His group has identified several fibroblast populations in the heart derived from discrete developmental origin. Using modified RNAs, cardiac fibroblasts can be reprogrammed to cardiomyocyte-like cells following a dose-titratable, temporally-controlled, and stage-specific sequential delivery of key transcription factors involved in cardiomyoycte specification. The ultimate goal of his research is to develop strategies to regenerate the damaged myocardium following an injury.



Manish Arora
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Project Title: Reconstructing Fetal Toxicant Exposure and Homeostatic Disruptions




Yimon Aye
Cornell University
Project Title: Deconvoluting Redox Biology with Targeted Chemistry


Aye received her undergraduate degree in chemistry with 1st-class honors from the University of Oxford, UK (2000-2004). She conducted her final-year thesis research with Professor Stephen G. Davies at Oxford University (2003-2004), and her undergraduate summer research with Professor Stephen L. Buchwald at MIT (2003 summer). Aye subsequently received her graduate training in organic chemistry with Professor David A. Evans at Harvard University (2004-2009). With a firm desire to help solve complex biomedical problems with chemistry and chemical intuition, Aye decided to switch her research focus in chemical sciences and received her postdoctoral training in life sciences as a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellow with Professor JoAnne Stubbe at MIT (2009-2012). As of July 2012, Aye is a Milstein assistant professor of Chemical Biology at Cornell University with a secondary appointment at Weill Cornell Medical College as an assistant professor of Biochemistry.



Michael C. Bassik
Stanford University
Project Title: Accelerating Drug Development and Repurposing Using Systematic Genetic Interactions


Michael Bassik received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His Ph.D. work at Harvard Medical School focused on the role of BCL-2 family proteins in regulating cell death in the laboratory of Stanley Korsmeyer. He then did his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Jonathan Weissman at UCSF, where he helped develop a novel platform for creating high-throughput pairwise genetic interaction maps in mammalian cells. His new laboratory in the Department of Genetics at Stanford continues to develop technologies to conduct high throughput screens using both shRNA and CRISPR/Cas9 systems, and applies these tools to (1) identify novel drug targets and synergistic combinations, and (2) understand the cellular response to stresses and endocytic pathogens such as bacteria and protein toxins.



Roberto Bonasio
University of Pennsylvania
Project Title: Studying Epigenetic Pathways in Brain Function and Social Behavior Using Ants


Roberto Bonasio did his undergraduate studies at the University of Milan and received his Ph.D. in immunology from Harvard in 2006. He obtained further postodctoral training at NYU in the laboratory of Danny Reinberg, studying chromatin biochemistry and functional genomics. During his postdoc Roberto led an international team that sequenced and analyzed the first ant genomes. In 2014, he joined the Epigenetics Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where his laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of epigenetics in conventional systems and emerging model organisms, such as ants. The NIH Director’s New Innovator award will allow the Bonasio laboratory to fully establish the ant Harpegnathos saltator as a model system by developing genetic tools, molecular markers, and epigenomic profiles.



Mitesh Borad
Mayo Clinic Arizona
Project Title: Oncolytic Virotherapy in Hepatocellular Cancer




Timothy J. Buschman
Princeton University
Project Title: Developing an Adaptive Cognitive Prosthetic to Replace Damaged Brain Regions




Hu Cang
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Project Title: Ultra Sensitive Single Molecule Spectroscopy with Plasmonic Antennas




Ibrahim Cisse
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Project Title: Imaging Transcription with Single Molecule Resolution in Live Mammalian Cells




Sarah Cobey
University of Chicago
Project Title: Modeling the Evolutionary Dynamics of Immunity to Influenza for Vaccine Development




Ethan C. Garner
Harvard University
Project Title: Dissecting Bacterial Cell Wall Synthesis Using In Vivo Single Molecule Tracking


Ethan Garner was born in Richland, Washington. He received his B.S. in biochemistry from Washington State University, where he worked with Keith Dunker developing tools to predict disordered regions within proteins. He conducted his Ph.D. with Dyche Mullins at UCSF, where he kinetically dissected and reconstituted plasmid DNA segregation by prokaryotic polymers. Ethan conducted his postdoc in Boston, working for Tim Mitchison, Xiaowei Zhuang, and David Rudner. His lab started at the Harvard Center for Systems Biology in 2012, where his group studies the motions of bacterial enzymes and how they build cell shape.



Lindsey L. Glickfeld
Duke University
Project Title: Context-Dependent Changes in Local and Long-Range Cortical Circuits




Andrew P. Goodwin
University of Colorado
Project Title: Rapid, Multiscale Sensing Using Acoustic Detection Mechanisms




Elissa A. Hallem
University of California Los Angeles
Project Title: The Neural Basis of Odor-Driven Behavior in Skin-Penetrating Parasitic Nematodes




Christine P. Hendon
Columbia University, New York Morningside
Project Title: High Resolution Imaging of the Myocardium




Dongeun Huh
University of Pennsylvania
Project Title: Probing the Physics of Chronic Lung Disease Using Microphysiological Biomimicry


‘Dan’ Dongeun Huh is the Wilf Family Term Assistant Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Seoul National University, M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He then joined Harvard University as a postdoctoral researcher and completed his training as a Wyss Technology Development Fellow at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering where he pioneered the “Organ-on-a-Chip” technology. At Penn, Dan is leading an interdisciplinary research group that focuses on developing innovative biomimetic micro- and nanoengineering technologies for biomedical, pharmaceutical, and environmental applications. His primary research interest is in the development and application of microengineered physiological cell culture models that recapitulate structural and functional complexity of living human organs during health and disease.



Nicholas T. Ingolia
University of California Berkeley
Project Title: Molecular Basis and Cellular Roles of Translational Regulation


Nicholas Ingolia is an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. His laboratory applies genome-scale and unbiased approaches to study the molecular basis underlying the translational control of gene expression and the roles of this regulation in cellular and organismal physiology. He studied math and biology as an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then received his Ph.D. from Harvard University under the supervision of Andrew Murray. As a post-doctoral fellow with Jonathan Weissman at the University of California, San Francisco, he developed the ribosome profiling approach for global and comprehensive measurements of translation. He continued to develop and apply ribosome profiling in his own lab at the Carnegie Institution Department of Embryology prior to joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in January of 2014.



Michelle C. Janelsins
University of Rochester
Project Title: Clinical and Translational Approaches to Cognitive Impairments in Cancer




Cigall Kadoch
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Project Title: Reversing Oncogenic BAF Complex Structure & Function: New Therapeutic Approaches




Sriram Kosuri
University of California Los Angeles
Project Title: Reverse Genomics of Regulatory Elements Governing Splicing




Pamela K. Kreeger
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Project Title: Analysis of How Quantitative Cellular Network Variation Impacts Tumor Progression


Pamela Kreeger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Valparaiso University, a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University working with Lonnie Shea and Teresa Woodruff, and was a post-doctoral fellow in Biological Engineering at MIT in Doug Lauffenburger’s lab. Her lab utilizes tools from systems biology and tissue engineering to determine how variations in protein expression interact with changes in the disease microenvironment to influence cellular phenotypic decisions. She is the recipient of a NSF CAREER award and is an American Cancer Society Research Scholar.



Gabriel C. Lander
Scripps Research Institute
Project Title: Molecular Basis of Axonal Transport Described by High-Resolution 3D Imaging


Gabriel Lander is faculty member of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at The Scripps Research Institute, where he uses electron microscopy to study cellular events. Gabriel received a B.S. from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he performed structural analyses of colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug, and its interactions with tubulin, which inspired him to pursue a career in structural biology. Gabriel was first introduced to electron microscopy during his graduate work at The Scripps Research Institute, exploring the mechanics of virus assembly and infection under the joint guidance of Jack Johnson, Bridget Carragher, and Clint Potter. Gabriel then moved to UC Berkeley and received a Damon Runyon fellowship to perform his postdoctoral work in lab of Eva Nogales, examining the structural mechanisms that govern microtubule dynamics. At Berkeley Gabriel also collaborated with Andreas Martin to decipher the mechanisms of protein degradation by the 26S proteasome. As an assistant professor at The Scripps Research Institute, Gabriel is the recipient of the Searle and Pew awards in addition to the Innovator Award.



Chenxiang Lin
Yale University
Project Title: Cell-Free Membrane Remodeling Guided by DNA Nano-Templates




Leonard Lipovich
Wayne State University
Project Title: Life, Death, and Function: The Primate-Specific Long Non-Coding RNA Transcriptome




Brent R. Martin
University of Michigan
Project Title: Multiscale Chemical Approaches to Map Oxidative Stress




Michael McAlpine
University of Minnesota
Project Title: 3D Printed Nano-Bionic Organs


Michael McAlpine is the Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He received a B.S. in Chemistry with honors from Brown University in 2000 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 2006. His research is focused on 3D printed bionic nanomaterials and has been featured in major media outlets, including Time Magazine and the New York Times. He has received a number of awards, most prominently an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, a TR 35 Young Innovator Award, an Air Force Young Investigator Award, an Intelligence Community Young Investigator Award, a DuPont Young Investigator Award, a DARPA Young Faculty Award, an American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award, a Graduate Student Mentoring Award, and an invite to the NAE Frontiers in Engineering.



Mala Murthy
Princeton University
Project Title: How Does the Brain Solve the Pattern Recognition Problem?




Gregor Neuert
Vanderbilt University
Project Title: Decoding the Noncoding Genome: lncRNA Dynamics and Function in Single Cells




Michael Rosenblum
University of California San Francisco
Project Title: Functional Manipulation of Memory Regulatory T cells in Skin


Michael Rosenblum is a formally trained basic immunologist and a practicing dermatologist. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees form the Medical College of Wisconsin and did his residency in Dermatology at UCSF. After completion of his residency, Dr. Rosenblum did a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Abul Abbas at UCSF. Currently, he dedicates 85% of his time to basic research and the remaining time taking care of patients with specific inflammatory and autoimmune skin diseases. The central focus of his laboratory is to understand the fundamental mechanisms of how immune responses are regulated in peripheral tissues, and how this knowledge can be exploited for therapeutic benefit.



June Round
University of Utah
Project Title: Developing Therapies to Target the Microbiota




John W. Schoggins
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Project Title: Discovery of Antiviral Mechanisms in Bats




Agnel Sfeir, Ph.D.
New York University School of Medicine
Project Title: Telomere-Independent Strategies to Protect Chromosome Ends




Matthew Simon, Ph.D.
Yale University
Project Title: Integrating RNAs into Signaling Pathways by Engineering Covalent RNA Modification




Sarah E. Stabenfeldt, Ph.D.
Arizona State University-Tempe Campus
Project Title: Detecting and Treating Traumatic Brain Injury Pathology Progression from the Inside




Michiko Taga, Ph.D.
University of California Berkeley
Project Title: Targeted Killing of Bacteria in Communities




Lin Tian, Ph.D.
University of California at Davis
Project Title: Fluorescent Biosensors for Imaging Neurotransmitters: Observing Synapses in Actio




Leo Q. Wan, Ph.D.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Project Title: Cell Chirality Based In Vitro Models For Embryonic Development and Abnormalities




Daniel J. Westreich, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Project Title: From Patients to Policy: Innovative Epidemiology for Implementation Science


Dr. Daniel Westreich received his B.S. in computer science from Yale University (1998), and his M.S.P.H. and Ph.D. in Epidemiology from UNC-Chapel Hill (2005; 2008). After postdoctoral training at UNC-Chapel Hill, he served as an assistant professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Global Health at Duke University; he then became an assistant professor of Epidemiology at UNC-Chapel Hill. At UNC, Dr. Westreich’s current work focuses methodologically on epidemiologic methods for causal inference and implementation science, and substantively at the intersection of HIV and reproductive health, as well as HIV and chronic diseases. Dr. Westreich serves as an associate editor of the American Journal of Epidemiology, and was the inaugural recipient of the Brian MacMahon Early Career Epidemiologist award from the Society for Epidemiologic Research.



Rong Xu, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University
Project Title: Rapid Reverse Translational Drug Repositioning




Lei Yang, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh
Project Title: Toward Regeneration of Whole Bioartificial Human Heart

Lei Yang received a B.S in Biology from Wuhan University in China in 1997, and earned his Ph.D. degree from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in 2003. After finishing his PhD, he did a postdoctoral fellowship in Developmental Biology at UCSD with Dr. Sylvia Evans and then joined the laboratory of Dr. Gordon Keller as a postdoctoral fellow in Stem Cell Biology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC. He started his tenure track Assistant Professor position in the department of Developmental Biology at University of Pittsburg and established the Stem Cell Core Facility in 2010. He is also currently an adjunct Assistant Professor in the department of Bioengineering at University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering. His lab utilizes a combination of human embryonic stem (ES) cells, human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, tissue engineering and mouse genetic models to understand early stage human heart development, study molecular mechanisms of human inherited heart diseases, and regenerate whole personalized bio-artificial heart for heart disease therapy.



Lili Yang, Ph.D.
University of California Los Angeles
Project Title: Stem Cell-Engineered Invariant Natural Killer T Cells for Cancer Therapy




Lijie Grace Zhang, Ph.D.
George Washington University
Project Title: A Novel 3D Bioprinted Smart Vascularized Nano Tissue


Dr. Lijie Grace Zhang is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Medicine at the George Washington University. Her main research is to integrate 3D bioprinting and nanotechnology for complex tissue and organ regeneration. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Brown University with distinction in 2009. After finishing her postdoctoral trainings at Rice University and Harvard Medical School, she joined GW. She has received the Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, GW SEAS Outstanding Young Researcher Award, John Haddad Young Investigator Award by American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Early Career Award from the International Journal of Nanomedicine, and Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Organization, etc.



Weian Zhao, Ph.D.
University of California Irvine
Project Title: Mechano-Sensing Stem Cells to Study, Detect and Treat Cancer Metastases


Weian Zhao is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California, Irvine. Dr. Zhao completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Chemistry at Shandong University where he studied polymer, surface and colloidal chemistry. In 2008, he received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry at McMaster University, where he focused on the use of functional nucleic acid to structure gold nanoparticles to construct well-defined nanostructures and biosensors. Dr. Zhao then completed a Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT. Dr. Zhao received the MIT’s Technology Review TR35 Award: the world’s top 35 innovators under the age of 35 in 2012. Dr. Zhao’s current research focuses on the development of novel molecular, nano- and micro-engineered tools for stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine, diagnosis and in vivo imaging, and elucidating stem cell and cancer biology.



Roberto Zoncu, Ph.D.
University of California Berkeley
Project Title: Engineering Organelle Function to Rewire Cancer Cell Metabolism




Chenghang Zong, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine
Project Title: Detecting the Onset of Genome Heterogeneity in Tumor at Single Cell Resolution




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