Mount Sinai Innovation Awards

On Monday, October 22, 2018, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai hosted the 4th annual Mount Sinai Innovation Awards, celebrating numerous honors that recognize significant contributions in biomedical education and industry.

Through the dedication of presenters, participants, attendees, and our generous sponsors, SINAInnovations and the Innovation Awards continue to showcase and inspire incredible ingenuity and advances in research, technology, medicine, and health care.

Inventor of the Year

The Mount Sinai Inventor of the Year Award has been created to recognize individual or collaborative investigators in the Mount Sinai Health System whose research is making, or has the potential to make, significant positive and product-driven impacts on health.

Winner: Anne Schaefer, MD PhD

Description: Anne Schaefer, MD, PhD’s work in micro-RNA heralds a potential cure for intractable seizures in certain forms of epilepsy, including the rare and catastrophic childhood disease, Dravet Syndrome. Dr. Schaefer’s tireless effort has resulted in strong partnership with undisclosed industry players to advance the technology to the clinic.

Deal of the Year

The Mount Sinai Deal of the Year award recognizes a notable technology from the Mount Sinai Health System that represents a major breakthrough in research and a strong commercial partnership for advancement.

Winner: Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD

Description: Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD, developed novel therapeutic methods that address the underlying cause of metastatic disease and relapse. This technology is the basis for a new startup, slated as one of the largest spin-outs in the NYC biotechnology sector this year.

4D Technology Development Program Award

The 4D Technology Development Program is focused on supporting faculty and post-doc technology development at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to effectively and efficiently move new technologies through a process of discovery, design, development, and delivery.


  • Penny A. Asbell, MD, Neeta S. Roy, PhD, James L. Ferrara, MD DSc, John E. Levine, MD, Eric Kuklinski, BS, and Yi Wei, PhD

       Identification of biomarkers for preemptive diagnosis of ocular graft versus host disease (oGVHD) in patients with hematopoietic cellular transplantation (HCT).

  • Samuel K. Cho, MD, Varun Arvind, BS, Deepak Kaji, BA, Jun S. Kim, MD, Eric K. Oermann, MD, and Jonathan E. Robinson, MD

       Automation of Radiographic Measurements for Surgical Planning Using Artificial Intelligence

  • Jian Jin, PhD, Yong-Hui Jiang, MD PhD, and Yan Xiong, PhD

       Developing and Epigenetic therapy for treating Prader-Willi Syndrome

  • Pilar Trelles, MD, Robert Gilman, MD, Alexander Kolevzon, MD, and Mirko Zimic, PhD

       Eye-tracking algorithm for Table application for autism

  • Yading Yuan, PhD, Yeh-Chi Lo, PhD, and Tzu-Chi Tseng, MS

       Deep Planning: knowledge-based automated radiotherapy planning via deep learning

Faculty Idea Prize 

The Faculty Idea Prize is designed to highlight a collaborative, innovative, research idea by young investigators that can potentially be translated into a marketable product. The results of the collaborative project idea should go beyond what is possible through individual PI-driven research, and should enable launching of a multidisciplinary project that can create value through the development of therapeutics, devices, diagnostics, or digital health applications.

Winners: Drew Kiraly, MD PhD and James Young, MD PhD

Description: Epilepsy is a chronic and often disabling medical condition, the treatment of which is significantly limited by a lack of clinically useful biomarkers that predict treatment response. Drew Kiraly, MD PhD and James Young, MD PhD’s project will utilize cutting-edge metabolomics assays to quantify more than 1,000 metabolites from the serum of patients undergoing active monitoring for seizure activity. These analyses will be used as the first step in developing clinically-applicable serum biomarkers to help refine and target treatment strategies.

Dean's Healthcare System Team Science Award

The Annual Dean’s Healthcare System Award, sponsored by Conduits, the Institute for Translational Sciences, has been established to acknowledge and underscore the emerging importance of interdisciplinary teams to the translation of research discoveries into clinical applications.

Winner: DEFINE-FMD Team - Jason Kovacic, MD, PhD, Jeffrey W. Olin, DO, Antonio F. Di Narzo, PhD , Valentina d’Escamard, PhD, Daniella Kadian-dodov, MD, Haoxiang Cheng, PhD, Annette King, RN, ANP, Bhargravi Vonguru, MS , Emir Bander, MD, Allison Thomas, MS , Rihab Bouchareb, PhD, Sander Florman, MD, Johan LM Björkegren, MD, PhD, Manuel Mayr MD, PhD, and Ke Hao, PhD

Description: Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is a poorly understood disease that predominately affects women and may result in serious consequences including stroke and myocardial infarction. Although first reported in 1938, there are limited treatments available and little is known about its cause. To address the lack of understanding, in 2013 we assembled a multi-disciplinary team and initiated the DEFINE-FMD study - a large, functional ‘omics study of the genetic and molecular basis of FMD. Our close-knit and collaborative team approach has already shed light on the pathology of FMD, allowing us to identify several disease-causal candidates and to begin to develop a blood-based test for this disease.

Trainee Innovation Idea Award

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is committed to nurturing and recognizing innovation among all its trainees. The Trainee Innovation Idea Awards are designed to highlight innovative research ideas from the Mount Sinai trainee communities that could potentially be translated into a marketable product.


  • MD & MD/PhD Students: Aly Valliani

       Virtual Contrast

  • PhD Students: Billie Bian


  • Postdoctoral Fellows: Sangeetha Vadakke-Madathil, PhD

       Placental stem cells for regeneration of injured heart

  • Housestaff: Jorge Andrade Romo, MD

       Structural Versus Functional Foveal Avascular Zone (Faz) Parameters Compared At Different Stages Of Diabetic Retinopathy

Mount Sinai Health Hackathon Finalists

The 3rd annual Mount Sinai Health Hackathon took place on October 19-21 2018. It was an exciting 48-hour multidisciplinary competition focused on creating novel technology solutions for problems in healthcare. This year’s theme was Rare Diseases.

  • Walk Thru - Re-invention of the walker for patients with Huntington’s disease with a portable accessory to facilitate getting through doors
    • Team Members: Brandon Dale, Chih Peng Chin, Greg Caubel, Hennesys Disla, Jiaqi Shen, Matthew Lin, Nicole Zatorski, Rebecca Choi, and Tiphaine Martin 
  • Eye Can Do - Smartphone-based eye tracking technology for immobile patients to interact with connected devices in a smart home environment
    • Team Members: Andrew Wang, Furqan Baig, Hongyi Duanmu, Karl Bezak, Sina Rashidian, and Xia Zhao
  • Mango Tango - Smartphone app called Demeter to provide diet-based tracking, management, and symptom assessment for patients with metabolic disorders
    • Team Members: Alyssa Mango, Jorg Calis, Leah Osnos, Ryan Neff, and Suraj Jaladanki


Event Hosts: SINAInnovations, Mount Sinai Innovation Partners (MSIP), CONDUITS - Institutes for Translational Sciences, Office of Academic Development & Enrichment (OADE), Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Medical Education, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and the Graduate Medical Education Office

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