Dr. Iliyan Iliev, an Assistant Professor of Immunology and Microbiology in Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, has won the Kenneth Rainin Foundation's Breakthrough Award (2016) for his study on the role of mycobiota during immunomodulatory therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. In 2015, the Foundation had given Dr. Iliev an “Innovator” award for the same study. This one-year $100,000 grant will ensure continuation of Dr. Iliev’s research, which the Foundation believes has the potential to yield major insights in predicting and preventing inflammatory bowel disease.
A scientist in the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Weill Cornell, Dr. Iliev earned his Ph.D. from the European School of Molecular Medicine and the University of Milan in Italy. He completed his research training at Tohoku University in Japan, the European Molecular Biology Organization in Germany, and the European Institute of Oncology in Italy. Dr. Iliev’s laboratory is focused on understanding the functional consequences of fungal microbiota (mycobiota) composition and metabolism to the host's immunity and to bacterial populations in the gut. Known for their state-of-the-art vivo models, model fungal strains and bioinformatics pipelines, they are furthering discoveries in the role of gut fungi in mucosal immunity during health and during conditions - such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergy and immunosuppression - in which fungi can contribute to pathologies.