Lerner Research Institute News

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LRI Names 2020 Awards for Excellence Winners

In a virtual ceremony hosted by the Research Education and Training Center, 11 students, trainees and staff members were honored with Awards for Excellence for their 2020 accomplishments.


Each year, Lerner Research Institute honors its students, trainees and staff for their leadership and research accomplishments by presenting a select few with Awards for Excellence. This year’s winners include:

  • Award for Excellence in ServiceTrine Jorgensen, PhD, Inflammation & Immunity, for performance and leadership in the electronic lab notebook initiative, which has helped advance data management efforts.
  • Award for Excellence in Trainee MentoringLara Nagy, PhD, Inflammation & Immunity, for her outstanding mentorship, support and guidance of trainees, specifically nominated by her trainees for her accessibility and encouragement.
  • Award for Excellence in Graduate EducationWilliam Baldwin, MD, PhD, Inflammation & Immunity, for his mentorship and teaching of graduate students from Cleveland State University, particularly his ability to transition to virtual learning in the time of COVID-19.
  • Award for Excellence in Medical EducationRon Midura, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, for hosting Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM) students for lab rotations; teaching seminars, including musculoskeletal-related and Advanced Research in Medicine sessions; and serving on the CCLCM curriculum steering council.
  • Sylvain Brunet Award for Outstanding Accomplishment by a Graduate Student—Abigail Dooley, a student in the Christine O’Connor lab in Genomic Medicine, for her work investigating the role of US28 in human cytomegalovirus latency and disease progression. This award was established in memory of Dr. Brunet to commemorate his commitment to furthering research education opportunities for junior investigators.
  • Graduate Student Award—First place winner: Sara Akhavanfard, MD, PhD, a student in the Charis Eng lab in Genomic Medicine, for her Nature Communications paper titled “Comprehensive Germline Genomic Profiles of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults with Solid Tumors”; Second place winner: Alyson Wolk, a student in the Bela Anand-Apte lab in Ophthalmic Research, for her Cells paper titled “Role of FGF and Hyaluronan in Choroidal Neovascularization in Sorsby Fundus Dystrophy.”
  • Postdoctoral Fellow Award—Defne Bayik, PhD, a fellow in the Justin Lathia lab in Cardiovascular & Metabolic Sciences, for her Cancer Discovery paper titled “Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cell Subsets Drive Glioblastoma Growth in a Sex-Specific Manner.”
  • Research Associate Award—Tejasvi Dudiki, PhD, an associate in the Tatiana Byzova lab in Neurosciences, for his Nature Communications paper titled “Microglia Control Vascular Architecture via a TGFβ1 Dependent Paracrine Mechanism Linked to Tissue Mechanics.”
  • Rising Star AwardMark Brown, PhD, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Sciences, for his many discoveries in lipid metabolism and accomplishments as a mid-stage researcher, both in his own laboratory and helping to lead Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Microbiome & Human Health.
  • Eminent Scholar AwardEdward Plow, PhD, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Sciences, for his numerous accomplishments and leadership throughout his nearly 50-year career in research, including seminal discoveries related to plasminogen and plasmin’s role in blood clotting, foam cell activation and atherosclerosis. Throughout his career, Dr. Plow published or co-authored nearly 400 research articles and nearly 100 book chapters or invited reviews, which have been cited by his peers more than 33,000 times.

Image: Serpil Erzurum, MD, chair of Lerner Research Institute, presenting the Rising Star Award.

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