TRAM grant recipients will spearhead a diverse collection of translational research projects

TRAM Announces 2020-21 Scholars

The Center for Translational Research and Applied Medicine (TRAM) is excited to announce its 2020-21 selection of awardees. The TRAM grant recipients, comprised of graduate students, medical students, medical residents, postdoctoral and clinical fellows, are spearheading a diverse collection of translational research projects that apply innovative approaches to the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of various human diseases.

Scholars will be provided with resources, structure, technical support and scientific guidance to aid in the successful completion of their research projects. Trainees will also participate in MED221, a weekly seminar series featuring faculty presenters that will educate participants on the principles of design, performance and analysis of translational medical research studies. Awardees will have the opportunity to present their work at the TRAM Annual Symposium on June 9, 2021.

This year, 10 scholars will receive grants for their exploration on topics ranging from immune responses to COVID-19 to early detection of renal cancer. Additionally, two projects have been selected for renewed funding and five scholars have received an extension for their work.

The following is a complete list of TRAM scholars and their projects:

New TRAM Projects

Nia Adeniji, MD Candidate (PIs: Dean Felsher, Renu Dhanasekaran, Tara Ghaziani)

Medical Student, Dept. of Medicine - Medical Oncology

“Deep Immunophenotyping of Immune Responses to COVID-19 in Patients with Liver Cancer”


Myriam Amsallem, MD, PhD (PIs: Michael Snyder, Alison Mardsen, Roham Zamanian)

Instructor of Medicine, Dept. Of Medicine - Cardiovascular Medicine

Integrated 4-Dimensional Blood Flow Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Transcriptomics Profiling of Right Heart Adaptation to Pulmonary Hypertension”


Alma-Martina Cepika, MD, PhD (PIs: Maria-Grazia Roncarolo, Everett Meyer)

Instructor of Pediatrics, Dept. of Pediatrics - Stem Cell Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine

“Epigenetic tracking of Tr1 cell signatures in patients treated with Tr1 cell therapy”


David Francis Condon, MD (PIs: Vinicio de Jesus Perez, Roham Zamanian)

Post-MD Fellow, Dept. of Medicine - Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine

The Role of LITAF-dependent Pericyte Signaling in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension”


Dana Cortade, PhD Candidate (PIs: Jessie Kittle, Shan Wang, David Spiegel)

Graduate Student, Materials Science and Engineering

“Implementing a new model of COMT activity as a biomarker for hypnotizability using a multiplexed precision medicine platform”

Seema Dangwal, PhD (PIs: Kari Nadeau, Angela Rogers)

Instructor at CVI, Research Staff, Dept. of Medicine – Cardiovascular Medicine

“Investigating COVID19 Endothelial Injury using a novel Micro-RNA-Endothelial Functional Screening”


Asuka Eguchi, PhD (PIs: Helen Blau, Daniel Bernstein, Joseph Wu)

Post-PhD Fellow, Baxter Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology

“Treatment of Contractile Deficits of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Cardiomyocytes with Microdystrophin”


Christina Kim Lee, PhD (PIs: Dean Felsher, Utkan Demirci, Alice Fan)

Post-PhD Fellow, Dept. of Medicine – Oncology

Early Detection of Renal Cancer using Exosomes”


Murli Manohar, MSc, PhD (PIs: Aida Haptezion, Walter Park)

Post-PhD Fellow, Dept. of Medicine - Gastroenterology & Hepatology

“Potential diagnostic biomarkers for acute, recurrent acute, and chronic pancreatitis”


Sarah Waliany, MD, MS (Jason Gotlib, Siddhartha Jaiswal)

Clinical Resident, Post-Graduate Year 2, Department of Medicine

“Identifying Somatic Mutations Associated with Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Patients with Myeloid Malignancies”

Continuing TRAM Projects: Competitive Renewal Scholars

Anuja Sathe, MBBS, PhD (PIs: Hanlee Ji, George Poultsides)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dept. of Medicine – Division of Oncology

“Targeting GITR to overcome immunosuppression in gastric cancer”

Alessandro Evangelisti, (PIs: Ronglih Liao, Ronald Witteles & Kevin Alexander)

Post-undergraduate student, Dept. of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine)

“Assessing the Role of macrophage response and stanniocalcin-1 in myocardial injury in light chain amyloidosis”

Extension Scholars

Louise A. Mesentier Louro, PhD (PIs: Y. Joyce Liao & Vinicio de Jesus Perez)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dept. of Opthamology

“The neuron-glia-vascular niche as a therapeutic target to prevent vision loss after hypoxic-ischemic disease”


Andrés C. Gottfried Blackmore, MD, PhD (PIs: Aida Habtezion & Linda Nguyen)

Clinical Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Medicine (Gastroenterology and Hepatology)

“Novel Measures of Vagus Nerve Reflexes as a diagnostic test of Gastrointestinal Dysautonomia in Gastroparesis Patients”


Danielle Shin, MD, PhD (PIs:  Ravi Majeti. Normal Lacayo)

Post-MD Fellow, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

“Preleukemic Hematopoietic Stem Cells and Clonal Evolution in Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia”

Jennifer Erhart-Hledik, PhD (PIs: William Robinson, Constance Chu, Gary Gold & Thomas Andriacchi)

Instructor, Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery

“The role of mechanics and biology in obesity-associated osteoarthiritis”


Wadie Mahauat-Fernandez, PhD (PIs: Ami Bhatt, Lianna Marks & Dean Felsher)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dept. of Medicine - Division of Oncology

"Metagenomic Analysis of the Microbiome to Identify Novel Therapeutic Targets for Human Lymphoma"