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Awards and Honors Across Weill Cornell Medicine - December 30, 2020

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Two Postdoctoral Fellows Receive Early-Career JumpStart Award

Two postdoctoral fellows, Dr. Arturo Mendoza and Dr. Puja Parekh, have received 2020 JumpStart Career Development awards, which support early-career scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine as they pursue independent research careers.

Dr. Mendoza, a postdoctoral associate in medicine, will use the JumpStart award to research the mechanisms of hepatic steatosis, also known as fatty liver disease, in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Based in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Dr. Mendoza focuses his research on understanding how thyroid hormones regulate metabolism of fatty acids in the liver. He earned a doctorate in biomedical sciences from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and previously completed a postdoctoral fellowship in endocrinology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Parekh, a postdoctoral associate of neuroscience in psychiatry, will use preclinical models to study how the prefrontal cortex enables effort-based decision making. She aims to determine the influence of chronic stress on effortful reward seeking and activity within relevant neural circuits. The work will build on her current research in Dr. Conor Liston’s lab into the influence of rapid-acting antidepressants on prefrontal circuit function and stress-based mood disorders. Dr. Parekh previously earned a doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Pittsburgh.

The JumpStart Program provides up to $300,000 over three years to postdoctoral fellows or junior faculty at Weill Cornell Medicine. The program aims to support researchers as they apply for a National Institutes of Health K award, an early-career grant that lays the foundation for scientists to conduct independent research as faculty.

Additional Awards and Honors

Dr. Ana Gomes, previously a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. John Blenis's lab and currently a principal investigator at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, has won a 2020 Tri-Institutional Breakout Award for Junior Investigators. The awards are given annually to up to six outstanding postdoctoral fellows at Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Rockefeller University, with at least one nominee from each institution receiving the honor. The award recognizes young investigators’ research accomplishments, their scientific impact and their promise as future independent investigators. Each winner receives a $25,000 unrestricted prize.

Dr. Fei Wang, associate professor of population health sciences, has been inducted as a fellow of the American Medical Informatics Association. Dr. Wang will be formally inducted into the Fellows of AMIA during their 2021 Virtual Clinical Informatics Conference. This honor recognizes individuals for their accomplishments and achievements in the application of informatics.

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