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Awards and Honors Across Weill Cornell Medicine - Week of Jan. 8 - Jan. 15

Graduate students named in Forbes' "30 Under 30" list

Weill Cornell Medicine doctoral candidates Kaitlyn Gayvert and Neel Madhukar have been recognized as part of Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" list, which lauds the successes of young change agents in 20 professional fields.

Kaitlyn Gayvert

Gayvert and Madhukar, both enrolled in the computational biology and medicine program at Weill Cornell Medicine, were named as two of the most emerging talents younger than 30 in healthcare nationwide. Forbes honored them for using big data algorithms to discover new anticancer drugs, predict drug targeting mechanisms, and address toxicity for existing such drugs before reaching the clinical trial stage.

Both Gayvert and Madhukar are pleasantly surprised by the Forbes honor, and are proud to know their lab work is being noticed on an international stage.

"It's nice to have recognition for your work," said Gayvert, a fourth-year doctoral student. "It truly is an honor to be named in the company of these other people who have accomplished so many great things with their work."

Gayvert's doctoral thesis advisor is Dr. Olivier Elemento, an associate professor of physiology and biophysics and of computational genomics in computational biomedicine at the HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Institute for Computational Biomedicine, and head of the computational biology group at the Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine. Working with him she has developed computational tools to predict drugs that are likely to perform well in clinical trials. She aims to reduce rising clinical trial attrition rates and what she called "skyrocketing" costs, which would ultimately reduce costs for both pharmaceutical companies and, in the long run, cancer patients.

Neel Madhukar

In his work in Dr. Elemento's lab, Madhukar has developed a computational method for predicting the mechanism of a drug by integrating numerous unrelated datasets. The method, called BANDIT, has also discovered new potential cancer therapeutics and could help pharmaceutical companies develop drugs more efficiently.

"It's a huge honor," said Madhukar, a third-year doctoral student, of his Forbes recognition. "Sometimes people don't think of science as cool or sexy, but it's been amazing to see how many people are excited by what we are working on."

As part of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, which immerses researchers with molecular biologists and clinicians alike, allowing for an encompassing view of the effect of their discoveries, Gayvert and Madhukar see how the healthcare field is adapting to the new tools they're developing.

"We've seen such approaches be successful in other biological problems. We've seen this way of looking at data work in the past," Madhukar said. "It's a great time to work on this project. Big data is there; it's just waiting to be used."

Additional Awards and Honors

Dr. Frank Chervenak, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Given Foundation Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, was appointed chairman of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics' Ethics Committee on Oct. 9. The organization, founded in 1954, is the only global organization representing national societies of obstetricians and gynecologists.

Dr. Gustavo Frindt, an associate professor of research in physiology and biophysics, was an invited guest lecturer for a three-day postgraduate course on renal physiology organized by the Chilean Society of Nephrology. For the course, hosted Oct. 21 - Oct. 23 in Chile and offered to the society's first-year nephrology fellows, Dr. Frindt gave four lectures and participated in post-lecture discussions. The society focuses on advancement of education, science and patient care in nephrology throughout Chile.

Dr. Babak Navi, an assistant professor of neurology and of neuroscience at the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute, gave the keynote address "Stroke in Patients with Cancer" at the 14th Annual John Scholz Stroke Education Conference on Oct. 10 in Delaware. The John Scholz Stroke Education Conference is dedicated to the memory of Dr. John P. Scholz, a highly regarded movement scientist renowned for his ability to take complex theoretical concepts of motor control and apply them to the understanding and treatment of neurologic problems.

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