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Phase III+: The University is open for expanded research operations; only authorized personnel will be admitted on campus. More info here.

Current Clinical Scholars

Yelina Alvarez

Yelina Alvarez, MD, PhD

Mentor: Daniel Mucida, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology

Research Interest: Dr. Yelina Alvarez’ research interest is understanding the interaction between enteric neurons and the mucosal immune system.

Current Research Project Title: Neuro-Immune Interactions in the Gut.

Bio: Dr. Alvarez received her MD and PhD from New York University School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency at New York University School of Medicine. As a Clinical Scholar, Dr. Alvarez is studying the neuro-immune interactions in the gut by employing animal models and human mucosal tissues.


Amichai Berkovitz

Amichai Berkovitz, MD

Mentor: Sanford Simon, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics

Research Interest: Dr. Amichai Berkovitz’s research interest is fibrolamellar carcinoma, a rare liver disease that affects children, adolescents, and young adults.

Current Research Project Title: Genome Wide Association Studies in Fibrolamellar Carcinoma

Bio: Dr. Berkovitz received his MD from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, where he also completed his family medicine residency. As a Clinical Scholar, Dr. Berkovitz will focus on performing a genome wide association study for fibrolamellar carcinoma, probing for germline genomic variance associated with disease progression, outcome and response to therapeutics. He will also be mining patient clinical data analyzing associations of demographic, clinical and therapeutic variables with better survival.

Dana Bielpolski, MD, PhD

Dana Bielpolski, MD, PhD

Mentors: Rhonda Kost, MD & Jonathan Tobin, PhD
Lab: Clinical Research Office

Research Interest: Dr. Bielopolski’s research focuses on characterizing the mechanisms by which nutritional interventions impact blood pressure.

Current Research Project Title: Translational characterization of blood pressure changes following the Dash Diet– from nutrition through electrolytes to exosomes.

Bio: Dr. Dana Bielopolski received her MD and PhD from the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University in Israel. She completed her internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship at the Rabin Medical Center in Israel.

Charlie Buffie

Charlie Buffie, MD, PHD

Mentor: Sean Brady, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Genetically Encoded Small Molecules

Research Interest: Dr. Buffie’s research focuses on metagenomic analyses of bioactive metabolites produced by native intestinal bacteria.

Current Research Protocol Title: Analysis of bacteria and their metabolites in human biological samples.

Bio: Dr. Buffie received his MD and PhD from Cornell University in the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at NewYork-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical Center in the Medical Research Track, where he is currently a fellow in the division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

Nicole Cruz, MD

Nicole Cruz, MD

Mentor: Robert G. Roeder, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Research Interest: Dr. Cruz’s research focus is to elucidate the epigenetic basis of the oncogenic function of histone methyl transferase KMT2D in MLL-AF9 leukemia.

Current Research Project Title: Rewiring of the PPARgamma Transcriptional Network in Monocytic Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Bio: Dr. Cruz received her MD  from San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Puerto Rico. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Hematology & Oncology Fellowship at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medicine.


Rachel Kimani

Rachel W. Kimani, DNP

Mentor: Erich D. Jarvis, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Neurogenetics of Language

Research Interest: Dr. Rachel Kimani’s research interest focuses on how mental and physical comorbidity influence people’s health trajectories, and the implications of the complex mix on healthcare.

Current Research Project Title: TDA

Bio: Dr. Kimani received her DNP from the State University of New York at Binghamton. As a Clinical Scholar, Dr. Kimani will establish biological, psychological, and social factors that function as predictors, mediators and correlates of race-based stress and trauma response and will explore possible interventions to decrease the associated negative symptoms.


Katherine Knorr, MD, PhD

Katherine Knorr, MD, PhD

Mentor: Jeffrey V. Ravetch, MD, PhD
Lab: Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology

Research Interest: Dr. Katherine Knorr’s research interests are studying mechanisms of myeloid disease biology and developing novel therapeutic approaches.

Current Research Project Title: Defining Expression of Novel Acute Myeloid Leukemia Marker U5 snRNP200

Bio: Dr. Knorr received her MD and PhD from Mayo Clinical College of Medicine and Science.  She completed her internal medicine residency at Weill Cornell Medical Center – New York Presbyterian Hospital.  She is a Hematology/Oncology Fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer.  As a Clinical Scholar, Dr. Knorr will be defining patterns of aberrant spliceosome protein U5 snRNP200 expression on the survace of malignant myeloid cells.  Expression of this protein has been demonstrated to correlate with durable responses after allogeneic stem cell transplant in acute myeloid leukemia patients.  The proposed mechanism of response involves formation of antibodies against the U5 snRNP200 protein.  Dr. Knorr is also working to develop an antibody targeting U5 snRNP200.



Emre Mordeniz

Emre Mordeniz, MD

Mentors: Winrich Freiwald, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Neural Systems

Research Interest: Dr. Emre Mordeniz’s research interest is understanding the neural mechanisms of sensory-motor transformation, mirror-neuron systems, and high-level social information processing in primate and human brains.

Current Research Project Title: TBA

Bio: Dr. Mordeniz received his MD from the Istanbul University Istanbul Faculty of Medicine in Turkey. As a Clinical Scholar, Dr. Mordeniz is focusing on the neurophysiology and connectome of the middle dorsal face area that is selective for naturalistic facial motion. Bringing together the electrophysiology data in non-human primates and fMRI data in human volunteers, he aims to shed light on the neuropathology of social perceptual deficits in autism and schizophrenia.

Rachel Niec, MD, PhD

Rachel Niec, MD, PhD

Mentor: Elaine Fuchs, PhD
Lab: Robin Chemers Neustein Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development

Research Interest: Dr. Niec’s research focuses on understanding how immune homeostasis is achieved at barrier surfaces, including in the intestinal tract and skin; specifically how immune cells, epithelial cells, and other tissue resident cells interact throughout development and during inflammation to set appropriate thresholds for immune reactivity and maintain homeostasis in these tissues.

Current Research Project Title: Exploring regulators of the intestinal stem cell niche

Bio: Dr. Rachel Niec received her MD and PhD from the Cornell Medical College and Tri-Institutional MD PhD Program. She completed her internal medicine residency research track at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is in her gastroenterology fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Mira Patel

Mira Patel, MD

Mentor: Sohail Tavazoie, MD, PhD
Lab: Elizabeth and Vincent Meyer Laboratory of Systems Cancer Biology

Research Interest:  Dr. Mira Patel’s research interest is the role of immunosurveillance in mechanisms of cancer progression and metastasis, particularly as it relates to germline genetic variants that may predispose to metastatic disease.

Current Research Project Title: The Impact of Apolipoprotein E (APOE) Genotype on Lung Cancer Progression

Bio: Dr. Patel received her MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her surgical internship at Washington University in St. Louis-Barnes Jewish Hospital. She is a resident in the Radiation Oncology Residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. As a Clinical Scholar, Dr. Patel will study the differential effects of human ApoE variants on anti-tumor and anti-pathogen immune responses.


Kartik N Rajagopalan

Kartik N. Rajagopalan, M, PhD

Mentor: Jeffrey M. Friedman, MD, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Molecular Genetics

Research Interest: Dr. Kartik Rajagopalan’s research interest is understanding the role that energy metabolism plays in the immune response, especially in metabolically dysregulated states, such as obesity and cachexia.

Current Research Project Title: TBD

Bio: Dr. Rajagopalan received his MD and PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center. As a Clinical Scholar, Dr. Rajagopalan will focus on the role energy metabolism plays in the immune response to influenza A, SARS-CoV2, and bacterial pneumonia.


Rashid Rumah

Kareem Rashid Rumah, MD, PhD

Mentor: Vincent Fischetti, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology

Research Interest: Dr. Rashid Rumah’s research interests are molecules originating in the gut that can enter the bloodstream, and their possible effects on brain function.

Current Research Project Title: Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin and Rotaviral gastroenteritis as novel candidate triggers for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Identifying the Initial Triggers of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Bio: Dr. Rumah received his MD from Weill Cornell Medical College and his PhD from Rockefeller University. Dr. Rumah did his postdoctoral work in the Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology at Rockefeller University. As a Clinical Scholar, Dr. Rumah is focused on how”gut-brain axis” may play a pathogenic role in neurological diseases of unknown origin.  Multiple sclerosis (MS) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are two mysterious diseases that may benefit from a closer look at the gut-brain axis and its associated microbiome.


Yael Yuval-Renert, MD

Yael Renert-Yuval, MD

Mentor: James G. Krueger, MD, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Investigative Dermatology

Research Interest: Dr. Renert-Yuval joined the laboratory for investigative dermatology to improve the understanding and, subsequently, the treatment options for patients with inflammatory skin diseases. Her research focuses on the immune dysregulation of common skin diseases, including hidradenitis suppurativa, alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

Current Research Project Title: A Pilot Study of Safety and Biomarkers of Ustekinumab for Cicatricial Alopecia.

Bio: Dr. Yael Renert-Yuval received her MD and completed her dermatology residency from the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical School in Israel, and spent a year as a research fellow at the Laboratory for Inflammatory Skin Diseases at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.


Dennis Schaefer-Babajew, MD

Mentor: Michel Nussenzweig, MD, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Molecular Immunology

Research Interest: Dr. Schaefer-Babajew’s research focuses on the question of how soluble antibodies can impact subsequent adaptive immune reactions, both clinically and in terms of fundamental immunobiology.

Current Research Project Title: TBA

Bio: Dr. Schaefer-Babajew received his MD from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. As a Clinical Scholar, Dr. Schaefer-Babajew will study the effects of passively administered neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies on subsequent adaptive immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in healthy adult volunteers. Using single cell techniques and clonal analyses of the antigen-specific B and T cell compartment, he aims to elucidate how exogenously administered monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) can shape host adaptive immunity.

Jeffrey Wong, MD, PhD

Jeffrey Wong, MD, PhD

Mentor: Jeffrey V. Ravetch, MD, PhD
Lab: Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular genetics and Immunology

Research Interest: Dr. Wong’s research focuses on understanding antibody immunobiology and applying this knowledge to the development of more effective anti-cancer therapeutic antibodies.

Current Research Project Title: Analysis of the immune contexture in human bladder cancer.

Bio: Dr. Wong received his MD and PhD in Immunology from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is currently completing a fellowship in medical oncology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with a special focus on genitourinary malignancies.


The application process for the Clinical Scholars Program is open. We are currently accepting applications for July 2023. Application deadline is December 1, 2022. For an on-line application, go to  For additional information contact Dr. Barry S. Coller at

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Dr. Barry S. Coller
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