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Celebrating Diversity—Justin Olivera was one of just 15 medical students nationally selected to receive an American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) Medical Student Diversity Scholarship, which provides support to medical students who are planning to pursue a career in cardiothoracic surgery and are from a population underrepresented in medicine. Scholarship recipients also receive funding toward attending the AATS Annual Meeting. Justin is a third -year, in the class of 2025.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Research Support & Recognition—First-year medical students Luisa Alvarez and Dejauwne Young each received a 2022-2023 Kwok Scholar Award. The scholarship was created in 2020 by alumnus Shiu Kwok, M.D., class of 1979, to support medical students who perform research on any area of internal medicine and who are from a group that is underrepresented in medicine. Luisa is studying cardiovascular risk factor control and COVID-19 incidence and mortality in a cohort of patients in the Bronx, while Dejauwne’s research aims to identify novel epigenetic drug targets for the treatment of glioblastoma. The awards program is overseen by Yaron Tomer, M.D. professor and chair of medicine and the Anita & Jack Saltz Chair in Diabetes Research, and Carlos Rodriguez, M.D., professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health.

Friday, March 24, 2023

An Aye for an Eye—The Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) has one mission: “#RestoreSight worldwide through corneal transplantations.” Because the EBAA depends on corneal tissue donations from deceased individuals to accomplish this, sample integrity is critically important and has raised the question of whether tissues from head trauma victims are still viable. During her research year at Einstein, Jessinta Oseni has sought and determined the answer. She recently presented her findings, “Effect of Head Trauma-Related Deaths on Corneal Endothelial Cell Loss in Eye Bank Donors” at the American Association of Ophthalmology/ EBAA annual meeting. Her study demonstrated that eye tissues from donors who had experienced head trauma were just as viable as tissues from donors who had not. The study is one of several for which Jessinta is first author. She is a medical student in the class of 2023. Her mentor is Roy Chuck M.D., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology & visual sciences (OVS) and professor of genetics at Einstein, as well as chair of OVS at both Einstein and Montefiore. He also holds the Paul Henkind Chair in Ophthalmology.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Fellowship Honor—Emily Schwenger was awarded a prestigious Google Ph.D. Fellowship, which is granted to outstanding Ph.D. candidates who seek to conduct innovative research in areas relevant to computer science and related fields, to influence the future of technology. Emily is one of just four graduate students from throughout the world who have received this honor in the Health category. The funding she will receive will support her thesis research “A Network-Based Approach to Determine Dysregulation of Gene Modules Driving Progression of Complex Myeloid Malignancies.” Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of cancers in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow cannot mature into healthy blood cells. While MDS is treatable, patients with such a diagnosis can progress to a more deadly form of blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Since early prediction of MDS progression remains a key challenge in the field, Emily proposes to identify transcriptional modules that further stratify patients, with the aim of preventing MDS progression to higher risk subtypes and further AML. Emily is an M.D./Ph.D. student currently completing her thesis work in the laboratory of Ulrich Steidl, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Steidl is professor and chair of cell biology, and professor of oncology and of medicine. He also is deputy director and associate director for basic science of the Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center, interim director of the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research, co-director of the Blood Cancer Institute, and holds the Edward P. Evans Endowed Professorship for Myelodysplastic Syndromes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Racial Disparities in Prostate Cancer Risk—Incidence of and mortality from prostate cancer have been linked to both obesity and diabetes. Fourth-year medical student Denzel Zhu and third-year medical students Michelle Toker and William Shyr investigated whether this accounted for the higher risk of more aggressive cancer and poorer prognosis of prostate cancer among non-Hispanic, Black and Hispanic patients from the Bronx population. In reviewing clinical and demographic data of Hispanic and non-Hispanic, Black patients who had undergone surgery for prostate cancer, the trio found that diabetes, and particularly obesity, contributed to higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer, indicating that these risk factors are generalizable across racial and ethnic groups. They reported their findings in Clinical and Genitourinary Cancer. Kara Watts, M.D., and Ilir Agalliu, M.D., Sc.D., served as mentors to the students on the project. Mr. Zhu has matched into the urology residency program at University of Rochester Medical Center; Dr. Watts is associate professor of urology; and Dr. Agalliu is associate professor of epidemiology & population health and of urology. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

New Investigator Award Winner—Ruth Howe was invited to present her abstract, “Deficiency of the Novel Tumor Suppressor C15orf65 Causes Multiple Myeloma and Plasma Cell Malignancy,” at the New Investigator Session of the 48th annual scientific meeting of the International Society for Experimental Hematology (ISEH), held in Brisbane, Australia. Just one of three graduate students invited to present their exemplary work, Ruth received first prize—the Dirk van Bekkum Award—for giving the top presentation by a Ph.D. student. The prize’s namesake, Dirk van Bekkum, M.D., is considered a pioneer of bone marrow transplantation and was an ISEH past president. Ruth is a candidate in Einstein’s Medical Scientist Training Program. She recently completed the successful defense of her thesis, conducted in the laboratory of Ulrich Steidl, M.D.-Ph.D., and is currently in her third year of medical school. Dr. Steidl is professor of cell biology and of medicine, director of the Stem Cell Isolation & Xenotransplantation Facility, and is the Diane and Arthur B. Belfer Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Treating Lupus—According to the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects approximately 5 million people worldwide. In its efforts to advance our understanding and treatment of lupus the LFA seeks to motivate young researchers whose studies focus on lupus. In that regard, the association has awarded Erica Moore a 2019 Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship, which includes a $4,000 grant, for her research of lupus in the laboratory of Chaim Putterman, M.D. Erica is an M.D.-Ph.D. candidate currently completing her thesis research. Dr. Putterman is professor of medicine and of microbiology & immunology at Einstein, as well as chief of rheumatology at Montefiore.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Raising Awareness—Ninety-nine percent of cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a preventable public health disease. To promote awareness, during cervical cancer awareness month in January, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) teamed with the Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer (GIAHC) and Indiana University to hosted the “Us vs. HPV” online webinar series. Reid Mergler, a fourth-year Einstein medical student moderated a session within the series, on HPV and cervical cancer champions. Reid’s goal is to raise awareness about HPV among high school students. She plans to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, and currently leads the Young Leaders Program for GIAHC and is the national student secretary for AMWA.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Leadership in Medicine—The Student National Medical Association selected Elise Mike as one of two winners of their 2018 Winter National Leadership Institute Research Forum. Held three times a year, the National Leadership Institute offers participants a weekend of educational workshops on leadership training, organizational advancement, and professional development. Elise, who is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate completing her dissertation research in the lab of Chaim Putterman, M.D., presented her work identifying a potential target for treating neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus. Dr. Putterman is professor of medicine and of microbiology & immunology at Einstein. He is chief of the division of rheumatology at Montefiore.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Diversity in Dermatology—Kim Ohaegbulam was accepted into the Diversity Mentorship Program of the American Academy of Dermatology. This competitive program, available to interested medical students of underrepresented ethnic groups, aims to spark interest in dermatology while increasing racial diversity in medicine. Greater representation encourages minority patients to seek medical care, which can save lives. As an awardee, Kim will spend one month receiving hands-on learning experience with a dermatologist mentor of his choice, as well as a stipend towards travel and living expenses. A candidate in Einstein’s Medical Scientist Training Program, Kim successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis recently and is currently in his third year of medical school.

Monday, February 26, 2018
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