Five Burnham postdocs receive Fishman awards


Members of the Fishman Fund have awarded grants to five postdoctoral research fellows at Burnham Institute for Medical Research to recognize their commitment to basic biomedical research.

The researchers each receive $5,000 to further their education and career development.

The Fishman Fund was created by philanthropists Mary Bradley and Reena Horowitz to advance science and honor Burnham founders Dr. William and Lillian Fishman.

During their postdoctoral fellowships, young researchers receive training and hands-on experience as they launch their scientific careers.

“Becoming a scientist is somewhat like learning to drive,” says Lillian Fishman. “You study the DMV rules but to become a driver you must get behind the wheel.”

This year’s honorees are investigating fundamental biological processes that may yield new insights into cancer, heart disease, HIV and other conditions.

— Pilar Cejudo-Martin, Ph.D., seeks to understand the roles certain proteins play in mammalian development. This work may also be applicable to Frank-Ter Haar syndrome, in which the same protein is mutated and patients do not live beyond their teens.

— Martin Denzel, Ph.D., investigates how different organs communicate with each other. Specifically, he is analyzing the cardiovascular role of adiponectin, a hormone secreted by fat tissue.

— Fabian Filipp, Ph.D., uses magnetic resonance spectroscopy to take a “snapshot” of all metabolically active compounds in a cell. This novel approach identifies diagnostic markers for clinical use and suggests new drug targets for cancer therapies.

— Lars Pache, Ph.D., works to develop improved treatments for HIV and influenza. The laboratory selectively silences cellular genes to determine how these genes aid or perturb viral infection. This work may eventually lead to new treatments for numerous pathogens.

— Nai-Ying Michelle Yang, Ph.D., investigates Eph proteins in prostate and breast cancer. These proteins have been shown to promote or suppress tumor progression under different circumstances.

— Submitted by Joshua Baxt, Burnham Institute for Medical Research