Faculty Members Honored with Distinguished Awards


Weill Cornell Medicine faculty members and alumni were honored with awards for their exemplary achievements in research, education and patient care during the institution’s commencement activities on May 15 and 16.

Alumni Awards of Distinction

Dr. Joseph Fins receives the WCMC Alumni Award of Distinction

Dr. Joseph Fins, M.D. ’86, chief of the Division of Medical Ethics, the E. William Davis Jr., M.D., Professor of Medical Ethics, and a professor of medicine and of population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine, was awarded the 2024 Weill Cornell Medical College Alumni Association Award of Distinction. He is also the director of medical ethics at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

An expert in his field, Dr. Fins’ research areas include ethical and policy issues in brain injury and disorders of consciousness; civil and disability rights for individuals with severe brain injury; palliative care; research ethics in neurology and psychiatry; and medical education. He has served as president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, as well as the International Neuroethics Society and is board chair at the Hastings Center. He has authored more than 500 papers, book chapters, essays and books, including “Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics and the Struggle for Consciousness.”

Dr. Fins is the recipient of the University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine’s Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics and the American College of Physicians’ Nicholas E. Davies Memorial Scholar Award for Scholarly Activities in the Humanities and History of Medicine. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Leifer receives the WCGS Alumni Award of Distinction

Dr. Cynthia Leifer, Ph.D. ’00, professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, was awarded the 2024 Weill Cornell Graduate School Alumni Award of Distinction. She is also co-director of the Cornell Program to Achieve Career Excellence and the Rising Stars Program.

Dr. Leifer’s research focuses on the immune system. Using an array of techniques from molecular and cell biology to whole-animal disease models, her research primarily focuses on the macrophage and how signaling through Toll-like receptors (TLRs) is regulated. TLRs are critical to defending the body against infection, but dysregulation contributes to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Her studies have advanced the field’s understanding of how some of those diseases arise, and how they can be treated.

Dr. Leifer teaches immunology to undergraduate, graduate and veterinary students, and lectures on vaccines in public health in the master’s in public health program at Cornell University. She is the recipient of the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology Excellence in Teaching Award, the Cook Award for commitment to empowering and improving the climate for women at Cornell, and the Dolph Adams Award for excellence in research from the Society for Leukocyte Biology, where she is currently president-elect.

Jeanne and Herbert Siegel Awards

Dr. Jirasevijinda with Dr. Harrington

Dr. Thanakorn “T.J.” Jirasevijinda, professor of pediatrics, was awarded the Jeanne and Herbert Siegel Award for Excellence in Medical Education. This prize recognizes a faculty member for exemplary contributions to medical education.

Dr. Melnick with Dean Harrington

Dr. Ari Melnick, the Gebroe Family Professorship of Hematology-Oncology and professor of medicine, immunology and pharmacology, was awarded the Jeanne and Herbert Siegel Award for Outstanding Medical Research. The award recognizes exceptional professional achievement and scientific innovation, as well as a commitment to positively impact future generations of researchers.

Dr. Phillips with Dean Harrington

Dr. Erica Phillips, the Jack Fishman Associate Professor of Cancer Prevention, was awarded the Jeanne and Herbert Siegel Faculty Development Award. The prize recognizes an early-career faculty member for exemplary clinical and research contributions, as well as teaching and mentoring medical students.

Dr. Sophia Lin, assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine and of clinical pediatrics, was awarded the Jeanne and Herbert Siegel Award for Excellence in Emergency Medicine. The award honors an outstanding emergency medicine faculty member who demonstrates clinical skill and dedication to the field of emergency medicine.

Additional Awards

Dr. Souweidane with Dean Harrington

Dr. Mark Souweidane, professor of neurological surgery and of neurological surgery in pediatrics and vice chair of the department of neurological surgery, was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship. This honor recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to supporting colleagues to become academic leaders in clinical care, research or education.

Dr. Edward Lai, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology, was awarded the Donald J. D’Amico, M.D., Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology. The award acknowledges an outstanding faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Eva Kerby, assistant professor of clinical dermatology, was awarded the Richard D. Granstein, M.D., Award for Excellence in Dermatology. This award acknowledges professional achievement, clinical skill and research contributions in the field of dermatology.

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