The training program is a dedicated and distinguished endeavor, developing our brightest graduate and post-graduate scientists for prolific careers.
Not only does the training prepare them for individual success, but under the guidance of our faculty members, the students and fellows contribute breakthrough research and technologies that aid in the application of basic science discoveries to clinical practice.
- The program provides an educational and mentoring environment for graduate students and postdoctoral and clinical fellows working in research center laboratories.
- There are currently 36 pre- and postdoctoral trainees working in 18 laboratories.
- The 13 graduate students typically belong to the three graduate programs (IGP, NUIN and MSTP) of the Feinberg School.
- The trainees play an active role in the training program by coordinating trainee-specific symposia, invited lectures, workshops on ethics and grant writing, and competitive peer-reviewed travel fellowship awards.
- Scientific progress is dependent on continuous learning; mentorship at the research center is showing results, as documented by 52 publications over the past year.
- Four first author publications by graduate students, thirteen by postdoctoral fellows, and twelve by clinical fellows have been published.
Director Hans-Georg Simon, PhD, Bernard L. Mirkin Research Scholar
Research Scholars Day The seventh annual Research Scholars Day, hosted by the Department of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School in association with Children’s Memorial, was held in May 2011. Award winners from this poster showcase of research by fellows, graduate students and research staff included: Second year fellow: Jill Samis, MD; Mentor: Reema Habiby, MD (Endocrinology) and Postodoctoral associate: Christina Khodr, PhD; Mentor: Martha Bohn, PhD (Neurobiology Program).
Biomedical Research Symposium In September 2011, the trainees organized the third annual symposium, a day of science that features the trainee’s research work, highlights research opportunities to incoming Northwestern graduate students, and provides peer-to-peer discussions and scientific exchange for the Chicago biomedical community.
Research staff, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows selected for the excellence of their work gave oral presentations during the morning session. Ross Cagan, PhD from The Mount Sinai Medical Center presented the Bernard L. Mirkin honorary lecture. In the afternoon, all trainees competed for the best research poster presentation, showing the diversity of studies conducted at the research center. Award presentations and a reception completed this exciting day.
Staff: Sean Chen; Mentor: Jhumku Kohtz, PhD (Developmental Biology); and Ben Yang; Mentor: Yong-Chao Ma, PhD (Developmental Biology).
Junior graduate students: Sarah Mercer; Mentor: Hans-Georg Simon, PhD (Developmental Biology); and Vanessa Montoya; Mentor: Nikia Laurie, PhD (Cancer Biology and Epigenomics).
Senior graduate students: Jorge Cantu; Mentor: Jacek Topczewski, PhD (Developmental Biology); Jennifer Krcmery, Mentor: Hans-Georg Simon.
Postdoctoral fellow: Rodney Dale, PhD; Mentor: Jacek Topczewski.
Clinical fellow: Jessica Naiditch, MD; Mentor: Mary Beth Madonna, MD (Cancer Biology and Epigenomics).
Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series (DLSS) The trainees’ selection for 2011’s contribution to this research center seminar series was John Fallon, PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fallon’s presentation on vertebrate limb development spanned his classical work on tissue manipulation all the way to current molecular and genetic studies.
Grantsmanship Workshop “Grantsmanship for the research professional” was taught by Holly Falk-Krzesinski, PhD, director of NUCATS Research Team Support & Development in August 2011. Falk-Krzesinski, an expert in all phases of the funding process, instructed trainees on successful grant writing.
An embedded silencing vector may be ideal for gene silencing. Over-expression of human SNCA (hSNCA), a protein that has been implicated in Parkinson’s disease (PD), leads to death of dopaminergic (DA) neurons. hSNCA gene silencing may reduce toxic forms of SNCA and ameliorate DA neuron degeneration. Christina Khodr, PhD in the Bohn laboratory designed two gene silencing vectors, both of which silenced hSNCA equally. The vector that was embedded in a microRNA backbone was significantly less toxic to cells.
mGluR7 mice show functional deficits. Graduate student Rocco Gogliotti in the DiDonato laboratory compared SMN2 (Survival Motor Neuron-2) transgenic mice to wild type mice and showed that the transgenics exhibited significantly longer times in movement tests as well as a higher frequency of seizure.
Operative intervention is warranted for children with ASBO. A study conducted by Timothy Lautz, MD described the use of operative management in patients with adhesive small bowel obstruction following major abdominal surgery. Lautz investigate the association between operative delay and the rate of small bowel resection (SBR). Of the patients studied, 85.5 percent underwent operative intervention with lysis of adhesions (LOA) or SBR. The time from admission until operation was significantly longer in patients who underwent SBR compared with LOA. Lautz is a clinical fellow in the laboratory of Mary Beth Madonna, MD.