Two Physician-Scientists Training in the WDOM’s Medical Research Track Receive ASCI’s Emerging-Generation Award

Dr. Rachel Niec and Dr. Melanie H. Smith have each received an Emerging-Generation Award (2022) from the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

Dr. Rachel Niec, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, WDOM, pursues research that is at the intersection of immunology and epithelial cell biology. Her goal is to improve understanding of inflammatory bowel disease and to direct new therapeutic approaches. A recent recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientists, Dr. Niec works in the laboratory of Elain Fuchs at Rockefeller University where she has discovered a previously described role of the lymphatic system in regulating the stem cell biology of the GI tract.

Dr. Melanie H. Smith, Division of Rheumatology, WDOM, is focused on understanding the different roles of tissue-resident synovial fibroblasts in arthritis using patient samples. Her training includes doctoral work in the lab of Dr. Jonathan Weissman on the recognition and regulation of misfolded proteins within the intracellular environment. She has characterized protein-protein interactions involved in key cellular decisions, using both biophysical and biochemical techniques. Currently, Dr. Smith works in the laboratories of Laura Donlin (HSS) and Alexander Rudensky (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) and is investigating drivers of fibroblast heterogeneity in the rheumatoid arthritis synovium and how specific populations can either perpetuate inflammation or contribute to synovial homeostasis. She recently received a career development grant from the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

The WDOM congratulates both Dr. Niec and Dr. Smith on receiving ASCI’s prestigious Emerging-Generation Award.

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Residency Program: Medical Research Track