Alexa Burger, PhD, Associate Research Professor, and Christian Mosimann, PhD, Johnson Chair and Associate Professor, (both Section of Developmental Biology) received a 2021 Single Ventricle Research Fund (SVRF) Award from Additional Ventures. This year’s flagship award supports bold and innovative research to address important gaps in our understanding of cardiovascular development and mechanisms that drive development, growth, and repair of both healthy and single ventricle hearts. Drs. Burger and Mosimann will pursue the awarded project focused on cardiac gene regulation by Wnt signaling in collaboration with their international partners in the Panakova lab (Max-Delbruck-Center Berlin) and Cantu lab (Linköping University).
Julia Derk, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Siegenthaler Lab, has received an F32 Ruth L. Kirschtein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke. Dr. Derk also received the Loan Repayment Program Award from the National Institutes of Health. Both of these incredible awards are based on her work deciphering the mechanisms of arachnoid barrier breakdown during bacterial meningitis, a devastating infection in neonatal infants.
Charles Sagerström, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics in the Section of Developmental Biology, has been awarded an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant is entitled: In vivo motif selectivity and functionality of TALE family TFs.
Dr. Sagerström’s research group studies how special regulatory proteins, known as transcription factors, control the production of different cell types during embryogenesis. This grant will support a new project in the Sagerström lab to examine how apparently very similar transcription factors actually play unique roles in the embryo because they activate distinct sets of genes. Findings from this project can be used to understand how disrupted gene function leads to various types of birth defects and cancers.
Julia Derk, PhD, was awarded the Society for Developmental Biology Trainee Science Communication Award for her outstanding work on Clear Direction Mentoring, a long-term and immersive mentorship program for Underrepresented Minority (URM) high school students interested in learning more about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine. Julia pioneered this program as part of her graduate training at NYU School of Medicine and now runs two chapters (New York City and Aurora/Denver) with 28 mentor and fellow pairs. Clear Direction Mentoring trains and supports mentors for how to positively impact their students' lives and also coordinates large-group "academies" teaching the students concepts and career options ranging from developmental biology to circuit building, botany to microbiology and vaccine development, as well as leadership skills and building confidence. Julia does this work in addition to being a postdoctoral research fellow in the Siegenthaler Laboratory where she studies the development and breakdown of the arachnoid barrier of the meninges.
Santos Franco, PhD, has been promoted to Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Section of Developmental Biology. Santos’s lab focuses on how the nervous system forms during development and disease. Current research in the Franco Lab is funded by the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the NIH, and aims to understand how neural stem cells are instructed to produce specific neurons and glial cells in the developing brain.
Christian Mosimann, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Section of Developmental Biology, has been awarded the 2020 Junior Faculty Award for Excellence from the Zebrafish Disease Models Society (ZDMS). The award recognizes excellence in zebrafish disease modeling research by an early independent investigator, based on the quality and significance of a recent research publication. Christian’s laboratory used the zebrafish model to uncover the possible involvement of the gene BCL9 in congenital heart defects. The research article was published in Genes & Development. The work showcases how zebrafish and mouse experiments can be used to gain new insights into possible causes of congenital disease. Christian holds the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Chair for the Cardiac Research Director.