Six junior Weill Cornell Medicine postdoctoral associates, instructors and professors seeking to pursue independent research careers have been awarded the 2022 JumpStart Career Development Awards.
The Jumpstart program supports researchers during the critical period of career development that extends from the end of research training through the early years of Weill Cornell Medicine faculty. By providing one year of seed funding, with the possibility of up to $300,000 over three years, the program aims to help researchers applying for a National Institutes of Health K Award, an early career grant that throws the basis for conducting independent research. .
Dr. Sadaf Amin, postdoctoral associate in neuroscience, studies the role of innate antiviral immunity in brain aging and neurodegeneration. The innate immune system uses nucleic acid sensors within the cell to detect foreign and mislocated nucleic acid species, such as those of viruses, and mount an inflammatory response against them. Dr. Amin seeks to investigate the role of antiviral nucleic acid sensing pathways in driving maladaptive immune responses and consequent neural changes in Alzheimer’s disease, and to develop novel strategies to attenuate chronic neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration.
Dr. Jorge Baquero, postdoctoral associate in pharmacology, seeks to characterize the role of a gene called B-cell lymphoma Mo-MLV insertion region 1 (Bmi1) in oral squamous cell carcinomas. Bmi1 is a major component of a complex that represses the transcription of many developmental genes. The gene is highly expressed in adult cancer stem cells implicated in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), and HNSCC patients with elevated Bmi1 expression have worse prognoses. Dr. Baquero plans to study the effects of increased expression of Bmi1 in oral epithelial stem cells to determine how it contributes to the onset or development of HNSCC and to develop new therapeutic approaches against the cancer.
Dr. Seoyeon Bok, a postdoctoral associate in pathology and laboratory medicine, studies the stem cells that form the skeleton, with particular emphasis on the skull. Previous research findings suggest that the skull contains two separate stem cells that work together to form bone, and alternations in the way they “talk” to each other are an unrecognized cause of skull disorders in children and adults. newborns. Dr. Bok is studying a possible third stem cell that could also contribute to the formation of the skull. This third stem cell drives the formation of specialized bone marrow in the skull and may be involved in multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory brain disorders.
Dr. Seyed A. Safavynia, assistant professor of anesthesiology, studies the use of noninvasive neuromonitoring techniques to mitigate neurocognitive impairment after surgery and anesthesia. His research focuses on understanding the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying altered states of consciousness, including post-anesthesia care unit delirium and delayed recovery of consciousness after exposure to sedation in critically ill patients with COVID. -19.
Dr. Marianne Sharko, an instructor in population health sciences and pediatrics, studies the complex privacy needs of adolescent patients under 21st century treatment law and in the context of varying state privacy laws. She will create educational materials for adolescent patients and their parents that will promote equitable access to electronic information, while protecting privacy and confidentiality.
Dr. Kathleen Walsh, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine, studies the clinical and molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant tuberculosis in low-resource settings. Based at the Center for Global Health and working in collaboration with GHESKIO in Haiti, Dr. Walsh seeks to identify sentinel populations for isoniazid-resistant tuberculosis and to characterize the strains of Mr. tuberculosis at high risk of developing further drug resistance. This will enable early targeted interventions to prevent the transmission of drug-resistant tuberculosis.