2024 Convocation Recognizes Exceptional Graduate Students

Weill Cornell Medical College Graduat School 2024 convocation

Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences highlighted students in the Class of 2024 for their academic achievements during its convocation ceremony on May 15.

The ceremony honored students who are graduating with their master’s degrees, as well as those who earned special awards and prizes for their accomplishments in research, scholarship and service.

In addition to celebrating students, the ceremony also honored graduate school faculty. Dr. Cynthia Leifer (Ph.D. '99), professor of microbiology and immunobiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, won the 2024 Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences Award of Distinction. This award honors alumni who have demonstrated exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions to biomedical research and education.

2024 Award Winners

Distinguished Student Commencement Speaker Award

Chloe Lopez-Lee, Neuroscience Program; Mentor, Li Gan, Ph.D.

David P. Hajjar Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award

Jason Lewis, Ph.D.

Professor, Pharmacology Program

Member, Pharmacology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute

Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis Teaching and Mentoring Award

Theresa Lu, MD, Ph.D.

Member, Immunology Program, Hospital for Special Surgery

Co-Director, Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program

Pharmacology Teaching and Mentoring Award

Kristen Pleil, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Pharmacology Program, Weill Cornell Medicine

Executive MBA/MS Excellence in Healthcare Leadership Award

Waleed Javaid, M.D.

Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership

Julian R. Rachele Prize for significant research published in a scientific journal 

David J. Falvo, “A reversible epigenetic memory of inflammatory injury controls lineage plasticity and tumor initiation in the mouse pancreas.” Developmental Cell 58, 2959–2973 (2023). Mentor: Rohit Chandwani, M.D., Ph.D.

Albert S. Agustinus, “Epigenetic dysregulation from chromosomal transit in micronuclei.” Nature 619, 176–183 (2023). Mentors: Yael David, Ph.D. and Samuel F. Bakhoum, M.D., Ph.D.

Student Service Award

Kathleen Mills, Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program

In recognition of her mentorship of high school and undergraduate students and her service to the IMP Program and WCGS.

Student Diversity Award

Yasmine Issah, Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program

In recognition of her outstanding dedication to fostering an inclusive and diverse community.

Vincent du Vigneaud Research Symposium Awards

First-Year Poster Presentation Awards

First Place:

Peyton Carpen, “Impact of Calorie Restriction on Bone Marrow Stromal/Stem Cell Lineage Differentiation” (PI: Baohong Zhao, PhD) 

Ziqi (Christine) Yu, “Treating Triple Negative Breast Cancer in Brain Metastasis using P-selectin Targeting Nanoparticles” (PI: Daniel Heller, PhD)

Second Place:

Sarah Sheridan, “Effect of NKD1 Knockdown on Colorectal Cancer Cell Proliferation” (PI: David Scheinberg, MD, PhD)

Carolyn Ton, “Living Origami: How Cell Behaviors Drive Neural Tube Closure” (PI: Jennifer Zallen, PhD)

Austin Varela, “Harnessing Intrinsic Variability within the Tumor Microenvironment to Explainably Determine Cellular Communication” (PI: Ashley Laughney, PhD)

Second Year and Above Poster Awards

First Place:

Hailey Goldberg, “A Nanoparticle-Based Platform for the Treatment of Senescence-Related Pathologies” (PI: Scott Lowe, PhD)

Second Place:

Moniquetta Shafer, “What Makes Methylmalonic Acid? Identifying and Characterizing the Functions of an Understudied Oncometabolite-Producing Enzyme” (PI: John Blenis, PhD)

Patrick Wallisch, “Interrogating the CD47-SIRP Axis in Chronic T Cell Stimulation to Translate Novel GvHD Therapies” (Professor David Scheinberg)

Rachel Payne, “Development of a PSMA Heterogeneous Tumor Model for Targeted Radiotherapy.” (PI Jason S. Lewis, Ph.D.)

Oral Presentation Awards

First Place:

Madison Darmofal, “Deep Learning Model for Tumor Type Prediction using Targeted Clinical Genomic Sequencing Data” (PI: Quaid Morris, PhD)

Stephen Ruiz, “A Redox Stress-Modulated Phospholipase A2 Remodels Lipids to Regulate Ferroptosis in Cancer” (PI: Daniel Heller, PhD)

Second Place:

Celeste Parra Bravo, “Human iPSC 4R Tauopathy Model Uncovers Modifiers of Tau Propagation” (PI: Li Gan, PhD)

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