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Fund for the Future Awards Announced: Advancing Research Careers of Junior Faculty

Seven winners in the Weill Department of Medicine have been selected to receive Fund for the Future awards to pursue a wide range of breakthrough research.

The winners are:

Rossella Maurllo, M.D., Ph.D. (rising Instructor in Medicine) Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Christopher Parkhurst, M.D., Ph.D. (rising Instructor in Medicine) Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Nupoor Narula, M.D. (rising Assistant professor of Medicine) Division of Cardiology
Robert Battat, M.D. (Assistant Professor of Medicine) Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Grant Ellsworth, M.D. (Instructor in Medicine) Division of Infectious Diseases
Carrie Johnston, M.D. (rising Instructor in Medicine) Division of Infectious Diseases
Megan Ritter, M.D. (Instructor in Medicine) Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Due to the generosity of Michael M. Kellen (Overseer, Weill Cornell Medicine) and his wife, Denise Kellen and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, as well as the Iris Cantor Health Center, the newly established award is supporting selected faculty during the crucial period of career development spanning completion of research training through the early years of their first faculty position held at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Dr. Robert J. Battat, a gastroenterologist Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, is specializing in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. He is studying serum testing to optimize medication dosing, treat symptom confounders, and assess disease activity simultaneously to allow more rapid and accurate patient care. Dr. Battat’s long-term research is on predictive biomarkers to allow personalized selection of therapies.

Dr. Grant Ellsworth, an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease, focuses on human papilloma virus (HPV), which drives different cancers. He is testing a large National Cancer Institute-sponsored cohort to prevent HPV driven cancer, and treatment of HPV-related diseases in those living with HIV.

Dr. Carrie Johnston has held a longstanding interest in the field of infectious diseases and public health, specifically in the field of HIV research and patient care. She began her infectious disease fellowship at Weill Cornell Medicine in 2017, and enrolled in the CTSC Clinical and Translational Master’s Degree program in 2018, both with planned completion in 2020. Throughout her fellowship she has continued research in the field of HIV, specifically focusing on aging-related syndromes and co-morbid medical conditions in older adults living with HIV.

Dr. Rosella Marullo is a physician-scientist fully dedicated to translational research. She completed a Ph.D. program in cancer biology and later joined the laboratory of Dr. Leandro Cerchietti at WCM where she became progressively interested in how transcriptional regulation enables cancer cells’ tolerance toward oncogenic stresses. Her long-term career goal is to become an independent investigator studying how perturbations in transcriptional regulatory complexes promote malignant transformation and how this knowledge can be therapeutically exploited.

Dr. Nupoor Narula participates in the clinical evaluation and management of patients with the genetic disease Marfan Syndrome. She is studying the risk of sudden death in these patients, who are followed in the Weill Cornell Medicine’s Marfan Disease registry and clinic.  

Dr. Christopher Parkhurst studies the role of the gut microbiome in central nervous system function, including learning and synaptic plasticity. He currently serves as Chief Fellow in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care with long-term research interests aimed at understanding the mechanisms that underlie cognitive dysfunction and decline in survivors of critical illness.

Dr. Megan Ritter is an Instructor in Medicine at Weill Cornell and Assistant Attending Physician at New York Presbyterian. She studies molecular mechanisms of thyroid hormone and is focused on expanding our knowledge of thyroid hormone signaling pathways which may be targeted in the future for drug development. Dr. Ritter’s long term goals are to further our understanding of thyroid hormone signaling in order to better care for patients with thyroid disease.

The Fund for the Future program provides an initial year of funding to the recipient with a total funding maximum of $300,000. This funding is based upon academic progress and a competitive training award (such as an NIH K) application timeline within 18 months of initiation of the Fund for the Future support. Those winners who are currently fellows will be joining the faculty of the WDOM in July of 2020 which is a prerequisite of the Fund For the Future award.