Lerner Research Institute News

Read about the latest advances from Lerner Research Institute scientists, including new findings, grant awards, innovations and collaborations.

2021 Quarter 2 Trainee Accomplishments

Our students and trainees had a very productive and impactful second quarter. Catch up on their accomplishments.



Dr. Terri Harford, currently a postdoctoral fellow from Dr. Karnik’s lab in the Department of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Sciences, was first author on an article published in the American Journal of Physiology, Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology titled, “RSV infection potentiates TRPV1-mediated calcium transport in bronchial epithelium of asthmatic children.” 

Dr. Caleb Seavey, a clinical fellow from Dr. Rubin’s lab in the Department of Cancer Biology, was first author on an article published in Genes and Development titled, “WWTR1(TAZ)-CAMTA1 gene fusion is sufficient to dysregulate YAP/TAZ signaling and drive epithelioid hemangioendothelioma tumorigenesis.” 

Dr. Brendan Eck, a postdoctoral fellow from Dr. Li’s and Dr. Tang’s labs in the Imaging Institute, was first author on an article published in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging titled, “Prospective Evaluation of Repeatability and Robustness of Radiomic Descriptors in Healthy Brain Tissue Regions In Vivo Across Systematic Variations in T2?Weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging Acquisition Parameters. 

Dr. Danny Orabi, a PRISM student, and Lucas Osborn, a graduate student, both from Dr. Brown’s lab in the Department of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Sciences, were co-first authors an article published in JCI Insight titled, “A surgical method for continuous intraportal infusion of gut microbial metabolites in mice.” 

Erik Koritzinsky, a research student, and Dr. Hidetoshi Tsuda, a postdoctoral fellow, both from Dr. Fairchild’s lab in the Department of Inflammation & Immunity, were co-first authors on a review article published in Transplant International titled, “Endogenous memory T cells with donor-reactivity: Early post-transplant mediators of acute graft injury in unsensitized recipients.” 

Dr. Iris Smith, a postdoctoral fellow from Dr. Eng’s lab in the Genomic Medicine Institute, published an article in iScience titled, “The Mechanism of Full Activation of Tumor Suppressor PTEN at the Phosphatidylinositol-Enriched Membrane.” 


Dr. Morgan Rodgers-Carter, a postdoctoral fellow from Dr. Dana’s lab in the Department of Neurosciences, received a Ruth L. Kirschstein F32 postdoctoral fellowship grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for her project to use in vivo imaging to study hippocampal circuit dynamics in preclinical models of epilepsy. 

Dr. Shiju Thomas Michael, a postdoctoral from Dr. Wilson’s lab in the Department of Ophthalmic Research, was awarded a travel award to give a talk at the 2021 Association for Research in Visions and Ophthalmology conference titled, “Assembly of Epithelial Basement Membrane In Vitro in a 3D Organotypic Cornea Model.” 

Alan Chen, a research student from Dr. Krishna’s lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, was awarded the 2021 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for his project to characterize photonic properties of polyhydroxy fullerenes.   

Dr. Youn Jung Chou, a postdoctoral fellow from Dr. Jung’s lab in the Department of Cancer Biology, received a Pathway to Independence K99 Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to support her research to define the role of the MCEMP1 protein in mast cell expansion and asthma progression. 

Dr. Brendan Eck, a postdoctoral fellow from Dr. Li’s and Dr. Tang’s lab in the Imaging Institute, received magna cum laude recognition (top 15% of abstracts in its category) for his talk at the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine Annual Meeting 2021 titled, “Characterization of Cardiac Amyloidosis using Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting: Preliminary Results.” Dr. Eck also gave a talk at the Northwestern University Center for Translational Imaging Seminar titled, “Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting: Technical Developments and Potential Applications.”  

Dr. Christina K. Cajigas-Du Ross, a postdoctoral fellow from Dr. Nagy’s lab in the Department of Inflammation & Immunity, received a Ruth L. Kirschstein F32 postdoctoral fellowship grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for her project to study the role of a viral innate immune response mechanisms in alcohol-associated liver disease fibrotic liver injury, including its role in modulating innate immune cell populations. 

Graduations & Departures 

Dr. Muhammad Muzzammil Edhi, a postdoctoral fellow from Dr. Saab’s lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is moving to the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Buffalo as a resident physician to provide direct patient care and continue his translational research projects.  

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