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Feinstein Academy of Scholars Symposium and Elmezzi Graduate School Commencement draws top scientific minds: Peter J. Hotez, Rob

MANHASSET, N.Y. , May 24 /Businesswire/ - Many of the nation’s leading physician-scientists came together for two special events hosted by The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. On May 22, the Feinstein Academy of Scholars Symposium, an integrated network of researchers and scholars who share a passion for revolutionizing translational research, hosted its 7th annual symposium at The Oheka Castle, Huntington, NY. On the following day, May 23, the 2024 Commencement Exercises for the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine were held at the Feinstein Institutes in Manhasset, NY, where three PhD candidates received their degrees.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240524531165/en/

(Left to right) 2024 Elmezzi graduates Drs. Bailey Roberts, Prashin Unadkat and Colleen Nofi. (Credit: Feinstein Institutes)

(Left to right) 2024 Elmezzi graduates Drs. Bailey Roberts, Prashin Unadkat and Colleen Nofi. (Credit: Feinstein Institutes)

“Over the course of these two impactful events, the Feinstein Academy of Scholars Symposium and Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine Commencement, we are encouraged by what was shared, and we hope all in attendance are inspired to learn, collaborate, connect and advance medical research for many more generations,” said Annette T. Lee, PhD, vice president and dean of the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine and associate professor at the Feinstein Institutes.

Meeting of minds at the Feinstein Academy of Scholars Symposium

Members of the Academy include recipients of honorary doctoral degrees from the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine, Marsh and Match visiting lecturers, recipients of the Cerami, Ross or Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM) prizes and researchers from the Feinstein Institutes — part of Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider.

This year’s featured keynote speakers included:

  • Kristina M. Deligiannidis, MD, professor in the Institute of Behavioral Science at the Feinstein Institutes and director of women’s behavioral health and medical director of reproductive psychiatry at Northwell’s Zucker Hillside Hospital, spoke about her role in supporting the recent landmark Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of the first at-home pill to treat postpartum depression.
  • Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. In 2023, he received the Anthony Cerami Award in Translational Medicine and in 2021 was awarded an Elmezzi Graduate School Honorary Degree. During his address, Dr. Hotez spoke about roles and goals of global vaccinations and the ongoing science versus anti-science debate.
  • Jeffrey V. Ravetch, MD, PhD, Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Professor at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Ravetch’s research and talk focused on the immune system’s molecular structure and how to solve the medical mystery of how antibodies can activate and inhibit the immune response. He was the 2017 Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine recipient.
  • Robert S. Langer, ScD, David H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who is the most cited engineer in history, holds more than 1400 patents for his inventions, many of which have revolutionized the practice of medicine. His talk addressed the role of overcoming skepticism in order to launch new medical treatments needed to tackle global health challenges.
  • Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, one of health care’s most influential voices, addressed the critical role science plays in advancing medical breakthroughs.

Celebrating the future of medical research

On May 23, three clinicians were conferred their PhD during the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine graduation. This unique PhD program is for physicians (MDs) who wish to pursue careers in biomedical research. During the program, Elmezzi students conduct research in Feinstein Institutes laboratories to advance medical research and pursue new therapeutic approaches and diagnostic tools. The Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine is supported in part by a generous endowment from The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation.

“Physician-scientists play a leading role in fostering innovation in science and medicine,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of Feinstein Institutes and Karches Family Distinguished Chair in Medical Research. “Graduates of the Elmezzi program are individually accomplished and uniquely trained, a high standard which inspires the pursuit of a career focused on developing new cures for disease.”

This year’s graduates include:

  • Colleen Nofi, DO, MBA, MSc, who studied necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) – a common and serious intestinal disease among premature babies. Focused on different mechanisms for inflammation, this research indicates that it’s possible to manage inflammation with a new peptide therapy. The findings may point the way to improved care for other ailments, including sepsis.
  • Prashin Unadkat, MD, research focuses on neuromodulation based surgical treatments for Parkinson’s disease and major depression. His work specifically focuses on preoperative imaging biomarkers that can help to identify those patients most likely to benefit from these treatment strategies.
  • Bailey Roberts, MD, whose focus has been studying osteosarcoma — a serious bone cancer that has a high mortality rate in children and adolescents — has found specific markers or predictors of what would make bone cancer metastasize.

Additional honors awarded

Two honorary degrees were bestowed at the Elmezzi commencement. The first to MIT’s Dr. Langer, who has authored more than 1,500 articles; he’s also a founder of dozens of biotechnology companies, including Moderna. Dr. Langer served as Chairman of the FDA’s Science Board and has over 220 awards, including the United States National Medal of Science and the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Northwell’s Michael Dowling also received an honorary degree for his guidance and leadership in tackling societal issues such as gun violence, food insecurity, human trafficking and disparities of care. As CEO of Northwell, New York’s largest private employer with 21 hospitals and more than 87,000 employees, Dowling has had a huge impact in New York and across the U.S. in addressing crucial health care concerns.

To find out more about the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine and its programs, click here.

About The Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine:

The Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine at Northwell Health offers MDs an accelerated PhD three-year program emphasizing translational research. Its mission is to provide academic training for physicians to discover and understand the causes of human diseases and to rapidly and effectively translate this information into diagnostic and therapeutic solutions. The program started in 1994 and is supported in part by a generous endowment from The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation. To date, more than 50 physician-scientists have graduated from the prestigious program. The Elmezzi School of Molecular Medicine is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). For more information, click here.

About the Feinstein Institutes

The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the home of the research institutes of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Encompassing 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health system science, and molecular medicine. We make breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity and are the global scientific leader in bioelectronic medicine — a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we produce knowledge to cure disease, visit http://feinstein.northwell.edu and follow us on LinkedIn.


STORY TAGS: Photo/Multimedia, Biotechnology, Health, Other Health, Pharmaceutical, Other Education, Continuing, Other Science, University, Research, Managed Care, Education, General Health, Hospitals, Science, United States, North America, New York, Award, Personnel, Event,

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