Jumpstart Awards Honor Early-Career Investigators

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Five Weill Cornell Medicine instructors and junior faculty seeking to pursue independent research careers have received 2021 JumpStart Career Development awards.

The Jumpstart Program supports investigators during the critical period of career development spanning from the completion of research training to the early years on faculty at Weill Cornell Medicine. By providing one year of initial funding, with the opportunity of up to $300,000 over three years, the program aims to assist investigators as they apply for a National Institutes of Health K award, an early-career grant that lays the foundation to conduct independent research.

Dr. Nicholas Brady, an instructor in pathology and laboratory medicine, will study neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC), a particularly deadly form of the disease that can result from prior prostate cancer treatment. Building on his current research in Dr. David Rickman’s lab, Dr. Brady’s work uses mouse models and clinical samples to tease apart molecular processes driving NEPC development and discover biomarkers identifying patients most likely to develop the disease. He earned his doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Jesus Maria Gomez Salinero, an instructor of biomedicine in medicine, will research the development of vascular cell therapy for liver regeneration. Based in the Division of Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Gomez Salinero focuses his research on understanding how blood vessels specialize their response during organ damage, and how they can promote organ regeneration. He previously earned a doctorate from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid working in cardiovascular research and completed postdoctoral training at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Dr. David Scales, an assistant professor of medicine, will train a new type of science communicator called an infodemiologist to participate in public comment sections of social media , and respond to COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation, with a focus on Black and Latinx communities. Dr. Scales will evaluate if this type of intervention can ensure social media users see high-quality information, lower the relative levels of anti-vaccine comments and ultimately improve health-related information online. Dr. Scales previously earned a medical degree and a doctorate in sociology from Yale University.

Dr. Daniel Shalev, an instructor in medicine, will study the palliative care needs of patients with serious mental illnesses at the end of life using a framework he previously developed. Having completed a hospice and palliative medicine fellowship, a joint program between New York-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell and Columbia, Dr. Shalev is among the few hospice and palliative medicine physicians also trained in psychiatry. His research focuses on improving mental health care for those with serious and life-limiting medical diagnoses. Dr. Shalev earned his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medicine.

Dr. William Z. Zhang, an instructor in medicine, will study the drivers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Evaluating both COPD patients and preclinical models, his research focuses on the role of abnormal iron metabolism in COPD development. Dr. Zhang earned his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine and trained at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine for his internal medicine residency and pulmonary and critical care fellowship.  

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From left: Drs. Nicholas Brady, Jesus Maria Gomez Salinero, David Scales, Daniel Shalev and William Z. Zhang

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