BETTR - an IRACDA Program

Program Administration



Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1300 Morris Park Ave.
Bronx N.Y. 10461
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Program Directors

Dr. Dianne Cox and Dr. Barbara Birshtein are co-directors of the BETTR program.

Dr. Dianne Cox has used many models ranging from Dictyostelium amoebae to mammalian leukocytes and cancer cells.  She is well known for her expertise on signaling requirements leading to alterations in the actin cytoskeleton necessary for macrophage functions like phagocytosis and chemotaxis.  Much of the work in her laboratory is imaging-intensive and utilizes cutting edge technologies such as intracellular biosensors, FRET, FLIM, TIRF and multiphoton microscopy with live cell imaging.  

Dr. Cox believes that training the next generation of scientists and physicians is a major responsibility of academic science. Dr. Cox has served as co-director of the Molecular Cell Biology Course since 2008, keeping the course fresh and exciting by assuring that the syllabus contains the latest research findings and by introducing alternative teaching methods. Recognizing that many women and under-represented minorities are not as competitive for faculty positions as their colleagues, Dr. Cox has organized a women’s networking group at Einstein with the goal to aid in the development of skills necessary to succeed in a career in science.  This group provides an informal forum for networking with members at all stages of scientific careers and opportunities for presentations of grant proposal, job talks and chalk talks. In addition to her educational activities at Einstein, Dr. Cox also lectures at undergraduate, middle, and elementary schools about pursuing a career in science and, since 2006, has judged a multi-school High School Science Competition in Nassau County.


Dr. Barbara Birshtein is a molecular immunologist with a keen interest in the regulation of the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus by a complex 3’ regulatory region that contains multiple regulatory elements, including enhancers and insulator regions. Dr. Birshtein's laboratory has contributed greatly to the characterization of the various regulatory elements of this region, and to an understanding of how they foster this region’s essential role in class switch recombination and expression of the high levels of antibody heavy chain expression in plasma cells. Dr. Birshtein and her laboratory have described their research findings in >90 publications. Dr. Birshtein has trained numerous graduate students, both Ph.D. and MD-Ph.D, and postdoctoral fellows, who have gone on to scientific leadership roles in academia and industry

Dr. Birshtein has assumed directorship of the newly formed training grant initiative here at Einstein. She has considerable experience with respect to grant initiatives, having served as a member of many study sections, including those of the NIH, and one specifically devoted to training grants. In addition, she is an active teacher, with leadership roles as director of the unit on genetics, genomics and gene expression for first year medical students in the course on Molecular and Cellular Foundations of Medicine, and as a long-time director of the graduate course in immunology, which now she co-leads together with an Einstein colleague. In addition, she was director of the graduate school here at Einstein. Dr. Birshtein has received awards for her roles in both graduate and medical school education.


Program Coordinators

Stephen Redenti

Lehman College Program Coordinator:

Stephen Redenti
Telephone: 718.960.2236

Dr. Stephen Redenti is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Lehman College and in the CUNY Graduate Center Doctoral programs in Biochemistry and Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology. He is also active in ongoing mentorship of undergraduate Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) students in biologic research. Dr. Redenti has a successful training record with young STEM scholars. A number of the undergraduate students who have worked in his laboratory have gone on to post-graduate biology masters and doctoral training. Dr. Redenti has mentored many high school students through his affiliation with Bronx Science, New York Academy of Science and College Now Summer STEM Research Academy. The above mentioned training programs serve as recruitment tools and Dr. Redenti works closely with the admissions office to recruit qualified high school students to Lehman College. Dr. Redenti is also actively involved in the identification and recruitment of BETTR scholars. He is part of the Teaching Advisory Committee of the scholars and closely monitors their progress in teaching activities. He also coordinates the teaching activities of the scholars while at the Lehman campus.

Nelson Nunez-Rodriguez

Hostos College Program Coordinator:

Nelson Nunez Rodriguez
Telephone: 718.518.4137

Nelson Nunez Rodriguez is Professor of Chemistry, Unit Coordinator at Natural Sciences Department, and former Director of Center for Teaching and Learning at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York. He currently serves as Fulbright Specialist on STEM Education and sub award Principal Investigator for a NIH IRACDA program. He received a Bachelor Degree in Biology from Havana University, Cuba in 1992, a Ph.D. in Chemistry from National University of Cordoba, Argentina in 2001 and developed a four year-postdoctoral training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. His scholarship work focuses on Science teaching strategies at minority-serving colleges. He currently serves as co-chair of the Self-Study Steering Committee preparing Hostos institution Accreditation for Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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