NIH Director's Early Independence Award Recipients
Joseph Bondy-Denomy, Ph.D.University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Discovering New Roles for CRISPR-Cas in Bacterial Pathogenesis
Grant ID: DP5-OD021344
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-OD021373
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-OD021373
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-OD021391
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-OD021370
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-OD021351
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-OD021338
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-OD021369
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-OD021365
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-OD021345
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-OD021396
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-OD021352
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-OD021385
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-OD021403
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 Therapy
Grant ID: DP5-OD021356
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-OD021355
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.
This page last reviewed on July 30, 2021