In honor of Anita Mandl, this award recipient is Roelof Bekendam, an MD student with honors at the University of Groningen and a research assistant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Roelof is assisting in research on a potential treatment for preventing blood clots, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death in women. His supervisor wrote “Roelof is a motivated, enthusiastic and talented student…this award allows him to pursue his educational and career goals [in academic medicine].”
In memory of Barbara & Jack Krulewitz, this year’s award recipient is Keri Kalmbach, MS, a PhD student in cellular biology at New York University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Keri’s research involves evaluating telomere length, a specific marker of cellular aging, for its diagnostic relationship to female fertility as women age. Keri has been awarded competitive NIH research grants and academic honors. Her supervisor describes her as “a dedicated young scientist” with a promising career in academic medicine.
Awarded to Melissa Frey, MD, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at New York Presbyterian Hospital with acceptance to a highly competitive gynecologic oncology fellowship at NYU Medical Center. Melissa received her MD from Weill Cornell Medical College with honors in research and has residency training Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s gynecology laboratory. Melissa’s research is to access ob-gyn physicians’ use of risk-reducing salpingectomy at the time of hysterectomy for its potential to decrease ovarian cancer incidence. Melissa plans to continue in academic medicine with a research focus on female cancers. Her supervisor writes that Melissa is “one of the best residents with whom I’ve worked.”
In memory of Mina Gutterman, this award’s recipient is Jessica Lacy, an MD candidate at the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. Jessica is working on developing tools for diagnosing difficult to detect early ovarian cancer masses before they grow and spread. This involves using PET/CT scans and imaging agents to detect the DNA repair enzyme PARP1 which is overexpressed by well known BRCA-mutant cancers. Jessica was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude in chemistry. She has won numerous honors and fellowships for her academic excellence. Her supervisor wrote “Jessica has proven herself to be highly adaptable, intelligent, and extraordinarily dedicated…her performance in the lab continues to impress. She is a superbly talented individual . . . easily among the top 5% of students in my laboratory and undoubtedly has a very bright future as a physician-scientist.”
In memory of Barbara & Jack Krulewitz, this year’s award recipient is Leah Novinger, an MD/PhD student at the University of Vermont College of Medicine specializing in cell and molecular biology. Leah’s research is in the field of breast cancer, specifically identifying and isolating individual antigens and antibodies that can be used in developing customized treatment with less toxic side effects typically associated with current options. As an undergraduate student at Penn State University she graduated with honors in biochemistry and molecular biology with an early focus on breast cancer. Her supervisor wrote “Leah is an exceptional student that is highly dedicated to a career in breast cancer research.”
In memory of Barbara and Jack Krulewitz, this year’s award recipient is Yalda Afshar, an MD/PhD student at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Yalda is enrolled in the medical scientist training program within the department of obstetrics and gynecology. Her research is in the field of reproductive endocrinology identifying molecular mechanisms of the uterus that affect decidualization (i.e. fertility and mechanisms involved in embryonic implantation) with a particular focus on the Notch 1 gene. Yalda has won an impressive number of awards, fellowships and honors and in her personal statement expressed her passion for improving women’s health through a career in academic medicine.
In memory of Deborah Gonzalez and her commitment to support research on ovarian cancer, this award was granted to Mian Shahzad, MD, a gynecologic oncology fellow and a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. In addition, Dr. Shahzad is a Women’s Reproductive Health Research Scholar at Baylor Medical School. His research on the causes and possible treatments for ovarian cancer involve identifying the genetic differences in healthy versus cancerous cells lining ovarian blood vessels. Dr. Shahzad has received recognition for his contributions and has published extensively on the subject of ovarian cancer. His personal statement expressed his clear dedication to continue his pursuits in research and clinical care to improve prevention, treatment and outcomes for ovarian cancer.
Awarded to Mychal L. Anderson Thomas, a MD/MPH student at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Mychal is working on research analyzing critical factors in pregnancy outcomes among African American women with higher risk of infant mortality. Her research has recently been accepted for a poster presentation at the Women’s Health 2009: 17th Annual Congress conference whose partner includes the American Medical Women’s Association.
Created in loving memory of Ruth Grau Zises, this award was granted to Roslyn Whitley, Princeton University graduate and current graduate student at Harvard University. Roslyn worked on a research project analyzing treatments’ effects on a neuroendocrine abnormality of the pituitary gland that disproportionately affects women (80% of sufferers are women). This condition is a cause of infertility, osteoporosis, and visual impairment in women. The results of this study were selected for the honor of oral presentation at a national endochrine medical conference in 2008.
Laura Perlman, Princeton University. Laura studied cardiovascular disease and clot formation. She wrote to us: “I cannot stress enough that the [award] which the Foundation for Women’s Wellness presented has given me a unique, important, and enjoyable experience. Thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in such pertinent and needed research.”
Noaman Vaidya, Tufts University Medical School. Noaman studied insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and clotting in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a significant cause of infertility, diabetes, and heart disease in women of reproductive age. She wrote to us: “I thank your organization for its support of my research project on polycystic ovary syndrome. The [award] has allowed me to lay the groundwork for what will be an interesting and critical project [in women’s health].”
Sarabeth Broder-Fingert, New York University Medical School. Studied treatments for polycystic ovary syndrome, a significant cause of infertility, diabetes, and heart disease in women of reproductive age.