Skip to Main Content

Understanding Environmental Influences on Disease

February 01, 2024

Lisa Korn, MD, PhD, instructor of medicine (rheumatology, allergy and immunology) at Yale School of Medicine (YSM), received a 2024 American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) Emerging-Generation Award. The honor is given to post-MD, pre-faculty appointment physician-scientists engaged in immersive research.

Korn was one of 33 recipients nationally chosen for the award, which provides peer support and inspiration to help recipients stay on the path to becoming physician-scientist faculty. “It’s an honor to receive this recognition,” she said. “I look forward to getting to know my cohort of awardees, who, like me, are in the early stages of their careers.”

Korn’s research focuses on the impact of diet on intestinal gut immunity. She first became interested in the subject when, as a postdoctoral fellow, she investigated the effects of different macronutrients on the gut. She discovered that a high-protein diet regulates the eosinophil, a key immune cell, in the intestine.

My goal is to start my own lab to continue investigating environmental influences on disease to develop treatments for people with inflammatory conditions.

Lisa Korn, MD, PhD

“We learned that when you shift diets around, you can change the way eosinophils adapt to living in the small intestine,” she said. “The discovery made me want to understand more about how diet regulates our immune systems in ways we haven’t thought of.”

Korn is the consummate physician-scientist, an outstanding clinician and laboratory investigator, says Joseph Craft, MD, Paul B. Beeson Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology) and professor of immunobiology. “She combines clinical acumen with the ability to dissect normal and abnormal immune responses in the laboratory, already making significant contributions to our understanding of mucosal immunity at homeostasis and in inflammatory diseases,” he said.

Korn completed her residency in internal medicine and clinical fellowship in rheumatology through the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Physician-Scientist Research Pathway at YSM. In 2018, she joined the laboratory of Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology, for postdoctoral training. She has received support from the Yale Physician-Scientist Development Award, Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award, and Robert E. Leet and Clara Guthrie Patterson Trust Mentored Research Award. Her recent article “Nutrient-Derived Signals Regulate Eosinophil Adaptation to the Small Intestine,” co-authored with Medzhitov and Vassily Kutyavin, PhD, associate research scientist, appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The 2024 ASCI Emerging-Generation Award is the latest in a series of accolades supporting Korn as she transitions to independent research. “My goal is to start my own lab to continue investigating environmental influences on disease to develop treatments for people with inflammatory conditions,” she said.

Other Yale recipients of this year’s Emerging-Generation Award include Jeffrey Cohen, MD, Yang Jae Lee, MD, Makoto Mori, MD, PhD, and Evangelos K. Oikonomou, MD, DPhil.

The Section of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology is dedicated to providing care for patients with rheumatic, allergic, and immunologic disorders; educating future generations of thought leaders in the field; and conducting research into fundamental questions of autoimmunity and immunology. To learn more, visit Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.

Submitted by Serena Crawford on February 01, 2024