ICTR May 2024 Newsletter                            


In This Issue

Featured Story

  • First round of Einstein Discover Research Program participants successfully defend theses

Upcoming Events

  • Translational Seminar Series June 3rd
  • Implementation Science Grand Rounds June 10th

Around the ICTR

  • New Research Coordinator Support Service
  • Responses Needed: People with Disabilities in Health Research Survey

Supporting Bronx-Based Graduate Students in Biomedical Careers

Three students have successfully defended their theses and will be the first to earn M.S. degrees in biological sciences as part of the Einstein Discover Research Program collaboration with CUNY Lehman College!

Over the past 15-months these students have completed laboratory work at Einstein that formed the foundation of their thesis. During this time they also attended structured workshops focused on the basic science techniques, scientific writing, presentation skills, and other professional development courses led by Discover Program leaders Kristina Ames (MECCC) and Zoe Tsagaris (ICTR). 

Project Feature

  • Exploring Elevated Pipecolic Acid Levels: Implications in Cerebral Malaria 

Akua Mensah, Mentor: Dr. Johanna Daily (ICTR Host Lab) 

  • Effect of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Loss in Lung Adenocarcinoma 

Marilyn Vallejo Alvarez, Mentor: Dr. Lindsay LaFave (MECCC Host Lab)

  • Using Rapid Protein Degradation to Determine the Effect of RUNX1 loss-of-function on DNA Damage Accumulation and Repair

Jackriel Pina Morales, Mentor: Dr. Kristy Stengel (MECCC Host Lab)

What’s next for these students:

Akua Mensah will be leaving Einstein to start medical school this summer with the hope of becoming a Family and Social Medicine practitioner. The other two students will be staying on campus as research technicians in their mentor’s labs (Marilyn Vallejo Alvarez with Dr. Lindsay LaFave, and Jackriel Pina Morales with Dr. Kristy Stengel) and plan to apply to MD/PhD or MD programs, respectively, in the near future. This exciting program is one of many ICTR efforts to diversify the biomedical workforce! 

Our new cohort of students will be presenting their thesis proposals this month, and we look forward to sharing their progress with you! Click here to learn more.

Left to right: Gracia Bualuti (Mentor: Dr. Hayley McDaid), Wilber Ciprian (Mentor: Dr. Derek Huffman), Isabella Brew (Mentor: Dr. Teresa DiLorenzo)

Upcoming Events

Translational Science Seminar Series: June 3rd

Join us for our upcoming Translational Science Seminar Series on June 3rd at 12pm in Price 351. This event is sponsored by the ICTR and Pilot Projects Program. This event will feature Dr. Karen Bonuck, PI of the Disability as Diversity: Reducing Research Roadblocks (D2/R3) program, funded through the Einstein-Montefiore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research grant. D2/R3 is a mixed-methods, PWDD-engaged study of researcher-level perceived barriers and capacity to conduct disability-inclusive research.

Attendees will learn about funding opportunities at Einstein for Translational Science Pilot & Feasibility grants, learn important differences between Translational Science and Translational Research, and how to submit a responsive application for the 2025 funding opportunity.


To register for this event, click here. Lunch will be served. Zoom link is available upon request.

Implementation Science Grand Rounds: June 10th

Join us for our upcoming Implementation Science Grand Rounds, hosted by the Health Research Implementation Core featuring Mr. John Pateña on “Global mental health implementation science: Scaling-up task-sharing psychological interventions in low- and middle-income countries” on Monday, June 10th at 10am on Zoom.

Mr. Pateña is currently an Implementation Science Specialist at Montefiore Health System where he is building implementation science capacity through research consultations, education/training, and system-wide collaborations. He is also an Adjunct Instructor and leads the Section on Advancing the Science of Implementation in Global Settings for an implementation science research lab at NYU School of Global Public Health. Additionally, Mr. Pateña is on the Board of Directors for Mental Health KAFE, a non-profit organization committed to changing the mental health narrative and landscape in Africa. His vision is a world where mental health care is accessible and utilized, breaking down barriers and stigma to care. 

To learn more about the Health Research Implementation Core and view past Grand Rounds, click here.

Around the ICTR

NEW! CRC Research Coordinator Support Service:

The Clinical Research Center is pleased to introduce a Research Coordinator Support Service for the Einstein and Montefiore Community. This service is designed to meet the needs of investigators throughout the clinical research lifecycle. Research activities supported may range from IRB submission to pre-screening and chart review, performing study visits, and maintenance of regulatory compliance. Requests for support will be considered on a case-by-case basis, as resources are limited. To express interest, or request the service, please complete this brief form (1-2 min). Have questions? Contact us at CRC-CoordinatorSupport@einsteinmed.edu.

People with Disabilities in Health Research: Survey Opportunity!

About 25% of adults in the U.S have a disability – but just 4% of NIH grants are disability related. People with disabilities (PWD) experience poorer health and access to care than their non-disabled peers. Structural barriers, discrimination, ableism, and exclusionary practices create roadblocks to their inclusion in federally funded research. In fact, the NIH designated PWDs as a health disparities population in September 2023.

In a reversal of roles, the Einstein/Montefiore CTSA, is eliciting researcher perspectives on PWDs inclusion in their studies. They are conducting the “Disability as Diversity: Reducing Researcher Roadblocks” (D2/R3) for its Element E project. Our CTSA is partnering with 9 other institutions that host Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRCs) and University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), in addition to a Clinical and Translational Science Award Program (CTSA).

D2/R3 is recruiting respondents from researchers at all levels (i.e. PIs, RAs, coordinators), to take a one-time 15 min survey. Click here for the D2/R3 survey. Participants can choose to receive their study incentive as a gift card or to make a charitable donation of the equivalent amount.

Partnering Institutions: John Hopkins University/Kennedy Kreiger Institute, UCLA, UC Davis, University of Iowa, University of North Carolina, University of Rochester, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt University.

Take the Survey

ICTR Volunteers at Run for the Wild

ICTR faculty and staff volunteered at the Run for the Wild event at the Bronx Zoo on April 27th! This was a lively event hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society and sponsored by Montefiore Einstein. This year’s Run for the Wild was focused on benefiting snow leopards, who are facing extinction. People from all over the tri-state area come to run a 5k or complete a 3k Family Fun Run/Walk. It was an energetic, beautiful day for all to spend getting to know our community and each other outside of the workplace. Big thanks to our Montefiore Office of Community Affairs colleagues for coordinating such an impressive event!

Research Community News

Register Now: Cystinosis Symposium on May 31st

The Cystinosis Symposium: A Rare Disease Model for Comprehensive Care will be held on May 31st at the New York Academy of Medicine. The purpose of the symposium is to review the latest advances in our understanding of cellular and molecular abnormalities in the rare lysosomal disorder, nephropathic cystinosis which have led to major breakthroughs in this lifecourse condition. Despite these advances, early recognition, preferably prior to birth or immediately postnatally, is a major goal to prevent disease progression. The implementation of effective treatments with gene therapies will be reviewed. Advances in how best to offer comprehensive care across the lifecourse with be discussed by experts and patients engaged in this multidisciplinary team effort. Healthcare providers from primary across subspecialty, pediatrics and adult, along with social workers, educators, nutritionists, child life experts and nurser are encouraged to attend and work towards disseminating new information and raising awareness within the cystinosis community. The opportunity to address gaps in our knowledge across the lifecourse will improve the care of these patients.


This symposium will feature multiple Montefiore Einstein investigators such as Drs. Sophie Molholm, John Greally, Laden Golestaneh, and Melissa Wasserstein. Click here for agenda and registration.

OHRA Virtual Education: Investigator Series 2024

The Office of Human Research Affairs (OHRA) will be hosting a monthly virtual investigator-tailored education series beginning in August 2024. Click on the links below to register for the following courses:

Principal Investigator Responsibilities
All About Conflict of Interest
All About Reliance
Sponsored-Investigator Responsibilities

Spotlight on Success

Montefiore Einstein investigators continue to succeed in obtaining funding. Some of these investigators with new grant awards are (from left to right):

Matthew Akiyama MD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (General Internal), Kelvin Davies PhD, Professor, Departments of Urology and Molecular Pharmacology, and Sylvia Suadicani PhD, Departments of Urology and Molecular Pharmacology.

Cite the CTSA

The Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) is part of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Cite NIH funding in manuscripts, press releases, and other communication forums. All publications, press releases, or other documents that result from the utilization of any Einstein Montefiore CTSA resource are required to credit the CTSA grant and comply with NIH Public Access Policy (submission to PubMed Central). To learn more, click here.

Weekly NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices
Non-government, Corporate and Foundation Funding Opportunities
Harold and Muriel Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
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