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.