Michelle Oliveira-Fernandes, PhD candidate in pathology, stood excitedly at her poster on Thursday, April 4, at the Ninth Annual Lewis Landsberg Research Day. Her presentation on in vivo models and genetic approaches to understanding muscle spindle development won first place for basic science in the event’s poster competition.
“Research Day is a great venue for learning what research is going on at the medical school, and we get to see a lot of different areas of science,” said Oliveira-Fernandes, a first-time presenter. “Being in the basic sciences, it is nice to see posters from the clinical sciences and public health.”
Oliveira-Fernandes’ scientific poster was one of 318 displayed, a record-breaking number. The posters represented all 26 Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine departments. Faculty, graduate students, medical-scientist students, medical students, postdoctoral fellows, clinical residents and fellows, and research staff participated in the campus-wide event, which promotes faculty and trainee development through networking and the sharing of research. Research Day also provides an opportunity to learn about the research-support services available for clinical and basic scientists.
Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean, welcomed attendees at an opening ceremony. He was followed by the keynote speaker, Ronald D. Vale, PhD, professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California-San Francisco and investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His presentation, “Building a Mitotic Spindle,” focused on his breakthroughs and setbacks in the scientific process.
Also at the ceremony, Rex Chisholm, PhD, vice dean of scientific affairs and graduate education, presented the Faculty Mentor of the Year awards.
- Basic Science Mentor of the Year: Stephen Miller, PhD, Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology
- Clinical Science Mentor of the Year: Jack Kessler, MD, Ken and Ruth Davee Professor of Stem Cell Biology
At the conclusion of Research Day, awards were presented to individuals who showcased their work. Judges, comprised of senior Feinberg faculty, evaluated posters based on their potential for contributing to the advancement of medical science and healthcare.
“This is the biggest Research Day I have been a part of. I think it is great to see more faces from different parts of campus,” said Ron Ackermann, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Community Health, associate professor of medicine, and Research Day judge. “As a judge, I spend a lot of time reading abstracts before the event and it is great to meet the people who have done the research and I enjoy taking a closer look at the posters.”
This year’s winners include:
- Basic Science: Michele Oliveira-Fernandes, MS, “The Transcription Factor Egr3 Promotes Muscle Stretch Receptor Morphogenesis and Innervation Homeostasis”
- Clinical Research: Reeti Chawla, MD, “Genes Associated with Obesity in Adulthood are Associated with Newborn Birth Weight and Adiposity”
- Public Health and Social Sciences: Jennifer M. Duncan, PsyD, “eHealth Behavior Change: +Mobile to Integrate Technology into Standard Weight Loss Treatment”
- Medical Women Faculty Organization Founders Awards:
- Basic Science: Ann Marie Carias, “Epithelial Thinning of the Epithelium of the Female Reproductive Tract and HIV-1 Transmission”
- Clinical Science: Jun Wang, PhD, Lipid Metabolism Genes in Contralateral Unaffected Breast: Potential Estrogen Receptor-specific Cancer Risk Biomarkers”
- Public Health and Social Sciences: Javiera Pumarino, BA, “Motivators and Barriers to Behavior Change Among Postpartum Women with Prior Gestational Diabetes”
- Tripartite Legacy Faculty Prize: Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, chair of preventive medicine, and director, Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS).
- ARCC Community-Engaged Research Partnership Award: South Asian Healthy Lifestyle Initiative (SAHELI), which focuses on engaging South Asian immigrants in research to understand the impact of lifestyle on health. This project is led by Santosh Kumar and Promila Mehta from Metropolitan Asian Family Services, and Namratha Kandula, MD, assistant professor in general internal medicine and geriatrics, and Swapna Dave, research project coordinator, in general internal medicine and geriatrics.