Mount Sinai Honors Female Scientists with Inaugural Robin Chemers Neustein Postdoctoral Fellowship

Inaugural award supporting female scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine has been awarded to Molly A. Ingersoll, PhD, and Ruth I. Johnson, PhD.

New York, NY
 – June 30, 2010 /Press Release/  –– 

Postdoctoral fellows Molly A. Ingersoll, PhD, and Ruth I. Johnson, PhD, are the first recipients of the Robin Chemers Neustein Postdoctoral Fellowship, an award intended to support female research scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

"Due to the gift of Robin Chemers Neustein, a member of our Board of Trustees, we were able to recognize the outstanding achievements and great potential of two of Mount Sinai’s best young scientists,” said John H. Morrison, PhD, Dean of Basic Sciences and the Graduate School of Biological Sciences and Professor of the Department of Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “This award will be given on an annual basis, so over time we will establish a lineage of Chemers Neustein Fellows. I look forward to following their success as they launch their independent careers."

Dr. Ingersoll works in the Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, under the mentorship of Gwendalyn J. Randolph, PhD, Professor of Gene and Cell Medicine. Her research interests are in understanding the development of urinary tract infections and how the human body responds. This includes developing tools to define underlying mechanisms of recurrent infection, the mechanism of cell response to infection, and the role of those mechanisms in the development of adaptive immunity E. coli in the urinary tract. This knowledge will lay the groundwork for improved therapies and preventive measures for this disease, which affects 11 million women each year.

Dr. Johnson works in the Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology, under the mentorship of Ross L. Cagan, PhD, Professor of Developmental and Regenerative Biology, Ophthalmology, and of Oncological Sciences. Dr. Johnson’s research objective is to understand how cells integrated within a complex tissue layer are capable of reorganizing to generate a functional organ. Elements of these dynamic and strictly regulated processes are relatively well understood as cells migrate in vitro, but understanding of these processes in vivo is limited. Working with the organs of flies, Dr. Johnson has identified several core components of a molecular pathway that regulate cell movement, and is poised to uncover how it is regulated in developing mature tissues and during metastatic invasion. A better understanding of the regulatory mechanisms employed to stabilize cells will help identify new therapeutic targets.

"This award targets the point in the development of female scientists where significant numbers of outstanding women choose to leave this field,” said Lakshmi A. Devi, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics , Psychiatry and Neuroscience. and Associate Dean for Academic Enhancement and Mentoring. “Drs. Ingersoll and Johnson are both promising scientists who will make very important discoveries in the laboratory. We hope this award will encourage others like them to continue their careers as independent scientists."

As a new annual award, the Robin Chemers Neustein Postdoctoral Fellowship is intended to encourage and support female research scientists at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Recipients will be senior postdoctoral scientists who intend to complete their training within two years, and have demonstrated high impact accomplishments in the life sciences and the potential for an independent scientific career.

"Drs. Ingersoll and Johnson are engaged in scientific inquiry at the cutting edge of discovery,” said Ms. Robin Chemers Neustein. “I am thrilled they have been selected for the inaugural fellowships, and am delighted to have established an award supporting breakthrough work at Mount Sinai’s Graduate School of Biological Sciences."

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of few medical schools embedded in a hospital in the United States. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 15 institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institute of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. The school received the 2009 Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital among the nation’s top 20 hospitals based on reputation, patient safety, and other patient-care factors. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 530,000 outpatient visits took place.