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January 23, 2013

New Clinical Scholars Join the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS)
By Michelle Romanick

On July 1, 2012, six new Clinical Scholars joined the Rockefeller University Clinical Scholars Program.  They are: Drs. Nathalie Burg, Louis Cohen, Peter Forgacs, Xiao-Fei Kong, Uri Sela, and Amir Shlomai. Additionally, with support from the CCTS, Nikhil Dhingra joined the Krueger Laboratory as this year’s medical student trainee in Clinical and Translational Science. Below are brief biographies and research interests of the new Scholars and medical student. Please join us in welcoming them.

Nathalie Burg, MD
Mentor: Dr. Barry Coller
Dr. Nathalie Burg received her MD from New York University of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and her Rheumatology Fellowship at New York University Medical Center. As a Clinical Scholar in Dr. Coller’s lab, Dr. Burg will be studying the role of the protein LTBP-1 in shear induced transforming growth factor beta1 activation and will work on projects to discover and produce antibodies to latent TGF-â1 to elucidate the pathologic mechanisms that cause systemic sclerosis and the related disorder scleroderma.

Louis Cohen, MD
Mentor: Dr. Sean Brady
Dr. Louis Cohen received his MD from Tufts School of Medicine. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, and his Gastroenterology Fellowship at Mount Sinai Medical Center. As a Clinical Scholar in Dr. Brady’s lab, Dr. Cohen will be studying metagenomic analysis of natural product pathways as they relate to inflammatory bowel disease.

Peter Forgacs, MD
Mentors: Drs. Donald Pfaff and Nicholas Schiff
Dr. Peter B. Forgacs received his MD from the University of Szeged in Hungary. He completed his Medicine Internship and Neurology Residency at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center and his Clinical Neurophysiology/Epilepsy Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. As a Clinical Scholar in Drs. Pfaff’s and Schiff’s labs, Dr. Forgacs will be designing and developing a study involving assessment of the recovery of behavior and cognitive brain functions using multimodal imaging and quantitative EEG analysis in patients with disorders of consciousness.

Xiao-Fei Kong, MD, PhD
Mentors: Dr. Jean-Laurent Casanova
Dr. Xiao-Fei Kong received his MD from the Yangzhou University in China, and his PhD from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France. He completed his Residency in internal medicine at Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University, School of Medicine in China. As a Clinical Scholar in Dr. Casanova’s lab, Dr. Kong will be characterizing the gene dosage effects to understand the clinical and immunological features of Down syndrome.

Uri Sela, MD, PhD
Mentor: Dr. Vincent Fischetti
Dr. Uri Sela received his MD from Tel Aviv University, and his PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at Tel Aviv University. As a Clinical Scholar in Dr. Fischetti’s lab, Dr. Sela will be developing a group A streptococcal vaccine and studying the immunological properties of Staphylococcus aureus infections.

Amir Shlomai, MD, PhD
Mentor: Dr. Charles Rice
Dr. Amir Shlomai received his MD from Hebrew University, and his PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He completed his Internal Medicine residency, and his Gastroenterology and Liver Disease fellowship at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. As a Clinical Scholar in Dr. Rice’s lab, Dr. Shlomai will be working on multiple projects that aim to better understand the pathogenesis and virus-host interactions of hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses, two pathogents that might cause severe liver damage and liver cancer.

Nikhil Dhingra
Mentor: Dr. James Krueger
Mr. Nikhil Dhingra is currently a third year medical student at Columbia University College of Physicians and. Mr. Dhingra is assisting on a number of projects that focused on the immunological aspects of inflammatory cutaneous diseases, with particular focus on atopic and contact dermatitis.