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Current Clinical Scholars

Yelina Alvarez

Yelina Alvarez, MD, PhD

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

Research Interest: Dr. Alvarez’s 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. Dr. Alvarez studies the neuro-immune interactions in the gut by employing animal models and human mucosal tissues.

Tamar Berger

Tamar Berger, MD

Mentor: Agata Smogorzewska, MD, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Genome Maintenance

Research Interest: Dr. Berger’s research interests are the epidemiology of hematological malignancies and biomarkers characterization for early cancer detection.

Current Research ProjectTitle: Detection of Pre-Malignant Changes in Fanconi anemia Mucosa

Bio: Dr. Berger received her MD and MHA from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva, Israel. Dr. Berger completed her internal medicine residency and Hematology fellowship at Rabin Medical Center in Israel. Dr. Berger served as a senior Hemato-oncologist at Rabin Medical Center, Davidoff Cancer Center, focusing on treating patients with plasma cell disorders.


Amichai Berkovitz

Amichai Berkovitz, MD

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

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

Current Research ProjectTitle: 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. 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 and analyzing associations of demographic, clinical, and therapeutic variables with better survival.


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 Project 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

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:  Understanding the Role PPAR-Gamma in the Biology of 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.


Xiaojing Huang

Xiaojing Huang, MD, PhD

Mentor: Paul Cohen, MD, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Molecular Metabolism

Research Interest: Dr. Huang’s research interests are systems biology and the interaction between adipose tissue and cancer.

Current Research Project Title: Proteomic Signatures of Response to Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Metastatic Sarcoma

Bio: Dr. Huang received her MD and PhD from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She completed an internal medicine internship at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and a radiation oncology residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


Rachel Kimani

Rachel W. Kimani, DNP

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

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

Current Research ProjectTitle: Racism-based Stress Injury and Biomarkers of Stress: A Feasibility and Correlation study 

Bio: Dr. Kimani received her DNP from the State University of New York at Binghamton. 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.


Matthew Kudelka

Matthew Kudelka, MD, PhD

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

Research Interest: Dr. Kudelka’s research interest is studying post-translational modifications in health and disease and developing novel cancer therapies..

Current Research Project Title: TBA

Bio: Dr. Kudelka received his MD and PhD from the Emory University School of Medicine, and completed his internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell. Dr. Kudelka is currently doing his Medical Oncology/Research Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering.


Kate Knorr

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.  Dr. Knorr will be defining patterns of aberrant spliceosome protein U5 snRNP200 expression on the surface 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 the 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. 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. 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.



Ryan Notti

Ryan Q. Notti, MD, PhD

Mentors: Thomas Walz, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Molecular Electron Microscopy

Research Interest: Dr. Notti’s research interest is studying structural biochemical approaches to approach the fundamental question in oncology and design new therapeutics with a focus on the treatment of sarcomas.

Current Research Project Title: A Pilot Study of Molecular Dynamics Simulation for the Prediction of Rare T-Cell Receptor Variant Phenotypes

Bio: Dr. Notti received his MD from Weill Cornell Medical College and PhD from Rockefeller University. Dr. Notti completed his internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell.



Mira Patel

Mira Patel, MD

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

Research Interest:  Dr. 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. Dr. Patel studies the differential effects of human ApoE variants on anti-tumor and anti-pathogen immune responses.



Kartik Rjagopalan

Kartik N. Rajagopalan, M, PhD

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

Research Interest: Dr. 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.

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. Dr. Rajagopalan will focus on the role energy metabolism plays in the immune response to influenza A, SARS-CoV2, and bacterial pneumonia.


Amhai Rottenstreich

Amihai Rottenstreich, MD

Mentor: Barry S. Coller, MD
Lab: Allen and Frances Adler Laboratory of Blood and Vascular Biology

Research Interest: Dr. Rottenstreich’s research interest focuses on the issue of obstetric hematology.

Current Research Project Title:  Genetic, Laboratory, and Clinical Factors Associated with Low-Dose Aspirin Failure In the Prevention of Preeclampsia

Bio: Dr. Rottenstreich received his MD from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Israel. Dr. Rottenstreich completed his residency in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel


Rashid Rumah

Kareem Rashid Rumah, MD, PhD

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

Research Interest: Dr. 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 Titles: 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. 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.


Dennis Schaefer-Babajew

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.


Leon Seifert

Leon L. Seifert, MD, PhD

Mentor: Charles Rice, PhD
Lab: Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease

Research Interest: Dr. Seifert’s research interests are liver diseases and liver cirrhosis. He is particularly focused on the hepatitis b infection, a viral disease that affects ~250 million people worldwide.

Current Research Project Title: TBA

Bio: Dr. Seifert received his MD from Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in Germany. He completed the residency program in internal medicine and gastroenterology at University Hospital Münster.


Vinci Wang

Zijun Wang, MD, PhD

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

Research Interest: Dr. Wang’s research interest is the evolution of antibody responses to virus infection and vaccination, which includes SARS-CoV-2, HIV-1, and HBV.

Current Research Project Title: TBA

Bio: Dr. Wang received her MD and PhD from Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University in China. She completed the dermatology residency program at Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University.



The application process for the Clinical Scholars Program is open. We are currently accepting applications for July 2024. The application deadline is December 1, 2023. For an online application, go to  For additional information contact Dr. Barry S. Coller at

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