2011 YCCI Junior Faculty Scholars


Renata Belfort De Aguiar, MD, PhD
Instructor in Medicine (Endocrinology)

Renata is conducting a study on the effect of glucose fluctuations on eating behavior and brain activation in order to gain new insights into the pathogenesis of obesity.


Sandy Chang, MD, MHS
Instructor in Medicine (Geriatrics)

Sandy is evaluating the association of coexisting chronic diseases, geriatric conditions and impairments with the severity of COPD in older adults in order to improve health outcomes.


Charles Dela Cruz, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
(Pulmonary and Critical Care)

Charles is investigating the mechanisms that explain the exaggerated responses to viral infections found in COPD patients exposed to cigarette smoke.


Stephanie C. Eisenbarth, MD, PhD
Instructor in Laboratory Medicine

Stephanie is seeking to identify new innate immune receptors that regulate effective vaccine immunity. These receptors may represent potent therapeutic targets for enhancing vaccination or inhibiting ongoing T cell activation in autoimmunity.


Chi Liu, PhD
Assistant Professor in Diagnostic radiology

Chi is developing techniques to improve the quantification of myocardial blood flow that can be used in such diagnostic imaging systems as Yale's state-of-the-art SPECT/CT system.


Don X. Nguyen, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pathology

Don is working on a project to identify biomarkers to identify, isolate, and characterize metastatic stem cells in lung adenocarcinoma.


Jennifer Sherr, MD
Instructor in Pediatrics (Endocrinology)

Jennifer is conducting a study to determine whether liraglutide, a long-acting GLP-1 analog approved for type 2 diabetes, reduces or eliminates early postmeal hyperglycemia and late postmeal hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes patients using the insulin pump.


Qin Yan, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pathology

Qin is exploring the roles of the enzyme PLU1 in resistance to Herceptin (a breast cancer drug), and will perform a high-throughput screening for its small molecule inhibitors. PLU1 is a potential target for cancer therapy; however, no specific PLU1 inhibitors have yet been identified.


Ania Magdalena Jastreboff, MD, PhD
Instructor in Medicine (Endocrinology)

Ania is using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to characterize neural responses to visual food cues in severely obese adolescents before and after bariatric surgery.


Hedy Kober, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Hedy is conducting a study to test whether cocaine-dependent individuals are able to use cognitive strategies to regulate their cravings and identify the neural mechanisms that underlie their regulation.


Melissa Langhan, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
(Emergency Medicine)

Melissa is evaluating whether capnography, a continuous noninvasive method of monitoring ventilatory status, will improve the recognition of hypoventilation and apnea in moderately sedated pediatric patients.


Scholar News

  • Marcella Nunez Smith, MHS, MD, 2006 YCCI Scholar, was awarded a five-year, $5.3 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to study the risk factors and prevalence of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes in the eastern Caribbean.
  • Erica Herzog, MD, PhD, IMP Alumna and 2007 Junior Faculty for Clinical and Translational Research Pilot Awardee, received a R01 grant for "Novel immunologic effects of semaphorin 7A in IPF."
  • Eda Cengiz, MD, 2010 YCCI Scholar, recently received a JDRF award to test the insulin infusion site warming device at a higher temperature.
  • Joseph Contessa, MD, PhD, 2010 YCCI Scholar, received an R03 small research grant for "A bioluminescent screen for inhibitors of N-linked glycosylation."
  • Abhijit Patel, PhD, MD, 2010 YCCI Scholar, received a Junior Faculty Career Research Training Award from the American Society for Radiation Oncology for his project, "Ultrasensitive measurement of tumor DNA in blood as a biomarker of radiation response."
  • Yibing Qyang, PhD, 2010 YCCI Scholar, received a $375,000 grant from the Connecticut Stem Cell Program for his project "Pulsatile tissue-engineered grafts for surgical correction of single ventricle cardiac anomalies."
  • Jennifer Sherr, MD, PhD, and Ania Jastreboff, MD, PhD, 2011 YCCI Scholars, graduated from the IMP Program in December 2011.
  • Yawei Zhang, MD, PhD, MPH, 2008 YCCI Scholar, received a K02 award for "Air pollution and fetal growth in China."