Symposium Offers Young Einstein-Montefiore Investigators Opportunity to Shine

This year’s Young Research Investigators Symposium, hosted by the office of research and sponsored programs at Montefiore, marked a special occasion. For the first time in the event’s 21-year history, young investigators from Einstein’s basic science labs presented their research alongside clinical researchers from Montefiore.

First-prize winner Dr. Andrea Zamperone (at left) with second-prize winner Dr. Kartik Mani
“This year, more than half of the 25 accepted abstracts were from Einstein investigators,” noted Dr. Victor Hatcher, associate dean for continuing medical education and research administration. “The field of presenters aptly reflects the partnership between Einstein and Montefiore.”

While the symposium is open to members of all departments at both Einstein and Montefiore, historically it had been attended by mostly Montefiore investigators. “It was great to have more researchers from Einstein take part this year,” added Dr. Hatcher. “The diverse fields represented by the presenters enhanced the symposium’s academic atmosphere.”

An Opportunity for Learning and Growth

Prize-winner and recent Einstein graduate, Dr. Lagu Androga
Dr. Parviz Lalezari, clinical professor of pathology and of neurological surgery, established the annual event as an opportunity for young investigators to present their data and interact with one another. Dr. Richard LoPachin, professor of anesthesiology, joined Dr. Lalezari in judging the investigators’ presentations based on their abstracts, their oral presentations and the clinical relevance of their research.

Drs. William Southern, Anna Velcich, and Florence Marlow chaired the symposium’s three scientific sessions. Each oversaw groups of young investigators as they presented their 10-minute talks. Presentations concluded with a short “question & answer” session where attendees from diverse departments could offer feedback to the presenters.

“It was great to see so many different departments represented,” said Connie Gras, symposium coordinator. “It made for lively Q and A sessions, with presenters receiving helpful feedback.”

Other prize winners (from left): Drs. Zhengdong Zhang, Masako Suzuki, Anne Van Arsdale, Yi Zhang and Marta Gronska (not pictured, Dr. Thomas Ow)
“The experience provided an invaluable opportunity to learn from peers,” agreed Dr. Andrea Zamperone, who received first prize—and $1,000—for his presentation, “DNA Damage Signaling Mechanisms during Helicobacter pylori Infections.” A postdoctoral researcher at Einstein, he conducted his work in the laboratory of Dr. Anne Muesch, professor of developmental & molecular biology.

“Events like this symposium are crucial for paving the career path of a young investigator or postdoc,” Dr. Zamperone observed. “They offer a unique opportunity to learn how to present your research to a diverse audience and to demonstrate how basic science can have important and direct clinical relevance.”

Eight other young investigators, representing the departments of developmental & molecular biology, genetics, radiation oncology, otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery, obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health, medicine and neuroscience, also received awards. They were:

  • Second Prize ($750): Drs. Yi Zhang, Zhengdong Zhang and Kartik Mani
  • Third Prize ($500): Drs. Thomas Ow, Anne Van Arsdale, Marta Gronska and Lagu Androga
  • Fourth Prize ($300): Dr. Masako Suzuki

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