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GMI Researchers Win 2021 Lerner Research Institute Awards for Excellence

Drs. Eng and Sarn were recognized for their outstanding achievements.


Lerner Research Institute’s Research Education and Training Center recently announced the recipients of the 2021 Lerner Research Institute (LRI) Awards for Excellence, which recognize staff, students and trainees for their outstanding achievements.

Charis Eng, MD, PhD, chair of the Genomic Medicine Institute, received the LRI Award for Excellence in Trainee Mentoring, which recognizes a principal investigator (PI) who has shown exemplary mentorship.

Dr. Eng was one of 30 PIs nominated by their trainees to receive this award, and was unanimously selected as the recipient. Her trainees described her as encouraging and empowering, invested not only in their success but also in their well-being, health and personal growth. They also highlighted her ability to provide excellent guidance and opportunities for trainees based on their individual needs and interests, leading to successful grant funding, presentation awards and publications.

Nicholas Sarn, PhD, a research scholar in Dr. Eng’s lab, was named a first place winner of the Dr. Sylvain Brunet Award for Outstanding Accomplishment by a Graduate Student. Established in loving memory of Dr. Brunet to commemorate his commitment to furthering research education opportunities for junior investigators, this award recognizes graduate students who have achieved a significant accomplishment in their training, including, but not limited to, a first author paper, presentation at a national meeting, obtaining certification in a new area or attending a workshop.

Dr. Sarn has published two first author articles: “Cytoplasmic-predominant Pten Increases Microglial Activation and Synaptic Pruning in a Murine Model with Autism-like Phenotype” in Molecular Psychiatry and “Germline Nuclear-predominant Pten Murine Model Exhibits Impaired Social and Perseverative Behavior, Microglial Activation, and Increased Oxytocinergic Activity” in Molecular Autism. In addition, he presented his work as poster or oral platform presentations at three national conferences (the American Society of Human Genetics 2019 Annual Meeting and the International Society for Autism Research 2020 and 2021 Annual Meetings), was twice selected as a finalist for the Merlin F. Bumpus award (2017 and 2021) and contributed as a co-author to three other publications.

Dr. Sarn also received a second place LRI Graduate Student Award for Excellence, which recognizes graduate students who submitted a first author article based on research conducted in LRI and who demonstrated high significance of their work, for his two first author articles.

Top Image: Nicholas Sarn, PhD, at the 2021 LRI Awards for Excellence ceremony 

Bottom Image: Charis Eng, MD, PhD (left) & Nicholas Sarn, PhD (right)

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