Robin Chemers Neustein Postdoctoral Fellowship Recipients


The recipients of the 2015 Robin Chemers Neustein Postdoctoral Fellowship Award are Leticia Tordesillas, PhD and Elizabeth Heller, PhD.

Dr. Tordesillas works in the laboratory of Cecilia Berin, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Tordesillas' research is focused on how to establish immune tolerance to foods for the treatment of food allergy. In particular, she is studying how regulatory T cells induced by epicutaneous immunotherapy are generated and suppress anaphylaxis.

Dr. Heller works in the laboratory of Eric Nestler, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Fishberg Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Friedman Brain Institute. Dr. Heller's research focuses on epigenetic remodeling - the molecular changes that occur at specific genes – in the context of drugs of abuse and stress. She found that a specific epigenetic remodeling factor delivered to the reward region of the brain is sufficient to reverse the effects of drug and stress exposure, demonstrating the potential therapeutic efficacy of epigenetic regulation in combating neuropsychiatric disease.


In 2014, the Neustein Fellowship was given to both Allyson Friedman, PhD and Sonja Schmid, PhD.

Dr. Friedman works in the laboratory of Ming-Hu Han, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, and is an alumna of our Graduate School. Dr. Friedman's research has demonstrated that resilience to chronic social stress is achieved through homeostatic mechanisms that stabilize midbrain dopamine activity, an important system in the brain that controls reward and motivation. Promoting these naturally occurring homeostatic mechanisms has antidepressant effects—a conceptually new avenue for exploring depression treatment.

Dr. Schmid works in the laboratory of Benjamin tenOever, PhD, the Irene and Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Professor of Medicine in the Department of Microbiology. Dr. Schmid's research focuses on the interplay between viruses and their hosts on a molecular level. This includes the characterization of distinct arms of the host antiviral response, as well as the development of novel viral vectors, with a goal to improve current vaccine strategies and generate innovative therapeutics.


In 2013, the Neustein Fellowship was given to Dr. Judith Agudo in Dr. Brian Brown's lab in the Department of Genetics and Genomics Sciences. Judith studies strategies for the induction of tolerance and prevention of type I Diabetes, a topic that has driven her since she was a graduate student. She received a Fulbright fellowship in 2010 to join Dr Brown's lab in order to work on the development of "vaccines" to prevent autoimmune attack in type 1 diabetes. She also received a postdoctoral award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to study strategies that can prevent type 1 diabetes.

Publications sponsored by the award:

  1. Agudo J, Ayuso E, Jimenez V, Casellas A, Mallol C, Salavert A, Tafuro S, Obach M, Ruzo A, Moya M, Pujol A, Bosch F, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-mediated islet hypervascularization and inflammation contribute to progressive reduction of beta-cell mass, Diabetes, 61: 2851-2861, 2012.
  2. Agudo J, Ruzo A, Kitur K, Sachidanandam R, Blander JM, Brown BD, A TLR and non-TLR mediated innate response to lentiviruses restricts hepatocyte entry and can be ameliorated by pharmacological blockade, Molecular Therapy, 20: 2257-67, 2012.


The 2012 Neustein Fellowship was given to Dr. Anne-Claude Bedard, then in Dr. Jefferey Newcorn's lab and now heading her own lab at Mount Sinai in the Department of Psychiatry.  AC studies the neural correlates of visual-spatial working memory in children and adolescents with and without ADHD using fMRI to study brain activation.

Publications sponsored by the award:

  1.  Chacko A, Bedard AC, Marks DJ, Feirsen N, Uderman JZ, Chimiklis A, Rajwan E, Cornwell M, Anderson L, Zwilling A, Ramon M. (in press). A randomized clinical trial of Cogmed Working Memory Training in school-age children with ADHD: A replication in a diverse sample using a control condition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
  2. Chacko A, Uderman J, Feirsen N, Bedard AC, Marks D. (2013). Learning and cognitive disorders: multidiscipline treatment approaches. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. Jul;22(3):457-77. Epub 2013 May 17.
  3.  Chacko A, Feirsen N, Bedard AC, Marks D, Uderman JZ, Chimiklis A. (2013). Cogmed Working Memory Training for Youth with ADHD: A Closer Examination of Efficacy Utilizing Evidence-Based Criteria. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. May 13. [Epub ahead of print]
  4. Halperin JM, Bedard ACV, Curchack-Lichtin JT.  (2012). Preventive interventions for ADHD: A neurodevelopmental perspective.  Neurotherapeutics, 9(3):531-41.
  5. Halperin JM, Marks DJ, Bedard ACV, Chacko A, Curchack JT, Yoon CA, Healey DM. (in press).  Training Executive, Attention and Motor Skills (TEAMS):  A Proof-of-Concept Study in Preschool Children with ADHD.  Journal of Attention Disorders.  Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print]
  6. Schulz KP, Fan J, Bédard ACV, Clerkin SM, Ivanov I, Tang CY, Halperin JM, Newcorn JH. (2012). Common and Unique Therapeutic Mechanisms of Stimulant and Non-Stimulant Treatments for ADHD.  Archives of General Psychiatry, 69(9):952-61.


The 2011 Neustein Fellowship was given to Dr. Marion Sourisseau, in Dr. Matthew Evan's lab in the Department of Microbiology.  Marion's project has been on the role of tight junction protein occludin in cell entry pathways of the Hepatitis C Virus. With the help of the fellowship she published three papers and is currently seeking a permanent position where she can continue to produce excellent science in a friendly environment.

Publications sponsored by the award:

  1. Hepatic Cells Derived from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells of Pigtail Macaques Support Hepatitis C Virus infection. Sourisseau M, Goldman O, He W, Gori JL, Kiem HP, Gouon-Evans V, Evans MJ. Gastroenterology 145: 966-969, 2013.
  2. Temporal analysis of hepatitis C virus cell entry with occludin directed blocking antibodies. Sourisseau M, Michta ML, Zony C, Israelow B, Hopcraft SE, Narbus CM, Parra Martín A, Evans MJ. PLoS Pathog. e1003244, 2013.
  3. KDR identifies a conserved human and murine hepatic progenitor and instructs early liver development. Goldman O, Han S, Sourisseau M, Dziedzic N, Hamou W, Corneo B, D'Souza S, Sato T, Kotton DN, Bissig KD, Kalir T, Jacobs A,Evans T, Evans MJ, Gouon-Evans V. Cell Stem Cell. 12: 748-760, 2013.


The year 2010, the first year of the Neustein Fellowship, honored two awardees, Dr. Ruth Johnson and Dr. Molly Ingersoll. At the time of the award, Dr. Ruth Johnson was in Dr. Ross Cagan's lab in the Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology.  Ruth's work in the Cagan lab aimed to understand how cells that are integrated within a complex tissue layer are capable of re-organizing to generate a functional organ. She is now an Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University where she teaches Introductory Biology, and Principles and Mechanisms of Cell Biology and will be developing an advanced course in Cancer Biology for the Spring 2015 semester.  Her own research group is gaining momentum, and she now has her first graduate student.

Dr. Molly Ingersol was in Dr. Gwendalyn Randolph's lab in the Department of Gene and Cell Medicine in 2010, and now is the head of her own lab at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.  Molly's work in the Randolph lab was aimed at understanding the pathogenesis of urinary tract infection and host response. In the ~18 months she has been at the Institut Pasteur, she has received a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant as well as co-authored 2 other successful grants to investigate immune responses during bladder infection and bladder cancer. She is now training students of her own and has assembled a team of 5 that is currently collaborating with teams in the US and in Europe to launch 2 Phase III clinical trials to address whether they can improve the efficacy of BCG immunotherapy for patients with early stage bladder cancer.

Publications sponsored by the award:

  1. The impact of macroautophagy on CD8(+) T-cell-mediated antiviral immunity. Perot BP, Ingersoll MA, Albert ML. Immunol Rev 255: 40-56, 2013
  2. CD11b⁺, Ly6G⁺ cells produce type I interferon and exhibit tissue protective properties following peripheral virus infection. Fischer MA, Davies ML, Reider IE, Heipertz EL, Epler MR, Sei JJ, Ingersoll MA, Rooijen NV, Randolph GJ, Norbury CC. PLoS Pathog 7: e1002374, 2011
  3. Niacin inhibits skin dendritic cell mobilization in a GPR109A independent manner but has no impact on monocyte trafficking in atherosclerosis. Ingersoll MA, Potteaux S, Alvarez D, Hutchison SB, van Rooijen N, Randolph GJ. Immunobiology 217: 548-557, 2012.
  4. Monocyte trafficking in acute and chronic inflammation. Ingersoll MA, Platt AM, Potteaux S, Randolph GJ. Trends Immunol 32:47-477, 2011.
    (last updated in June 2013)