P&S Names Four Physician-Scientists as 2014 Gerstner Scholars

April 16, 2014

P&S faculty members in pediatrics, medicine, and anesthesiology have been named 2014 Gerstner Scholars. Every year since 2008, the Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholar Program has selected four young P&S physician-scientists to conduct translational research.

The research of this year’s scholars has the potential to uncover new insights into heart disease, obesity-associated asthma, preterm labor and birth, and celiac disease.

“These early-career physician-scientists will conduct innovative translational research that we hope will lead to better therapies for patients,” said Lee Goldman, MD, EVP and dean, and Robert S. Kass, PhD, vice dean for research, in announcing the names. “Physician-scientists are essential if we are to translate basic research into new treatments. We are enormously grateful to Mr. Gerstner and the Gerstner Family Foundation for their generosity in encouraging the work of these gifted young faculty members.”

The 2014 Gerstner Scholars:

Emilio Arteaga-Solis, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics

Dr. Arteaga-Solis proposes to expand on his recent finding that leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that regulates appetite, is involved in the pathogenesis of obesity-associated asthma. He will apply a multi-pronged approach to study the impact on airway diameter—and, hence, lung function—of other hormones that regulate energy metabolism. His work will initially focus on adiponectin, an adipocyte-derived hormone that regulates bone mass.

George Gallos, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology

Dr. Gallos, an obstetric anesthesiologist, is focused on identifying novel pharmaceutical targets to manipulate and prevent preterm labor and birth, a major cause of neonatal morbidity and death. He will investigate whether targeting ANO-1 channels in human uterine smooth muscle can prevent premature uterine contractions that lead to preterm labor.

Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, Herbert Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine and assistant professor of epidemiology (Mailman)

Dr. Lebwohl’s proposal addresses an important gap in our knowledge of the pathogenesis of celiac disease, an increasingly common condition that carries significant morbidity and an increased mortality rate. He will assess the impact of gluten consumption on gut microbial diversity among a clinic-based cohort of patients with celiac disease and patients with nonceliac gluten sensitivity.

Elaine Wan, MD, the Esther Aboodi Assistant Professor of Cardiology (in Medicine)

Dr. Wan will continue her investigation of the role of BK/SK channels in ischemic heart disease and heart failure. She plans to study whether physiologic changes in heart failure, such as increased vascular resistance due to increase myogenic tone, can be reversed with pharmacological BK- and SK-channel activation. This will shed further light on possible treatment modalities for heart failure by targeting BK and SK channels.