For the Second Year in a Row, Two Einstein Research Teams Win Competitive XSeed Awards

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BRONX, NY, March 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Demonstrating research excellence and entrepreneurial vision, faculty at Albert Einstein College of Medicine were awarded two of the five 2022 XSeed Awards, which offer $100,000 in funding for each winning team to advance promising fundamental scientific discoveries that have seed-stage potential. The theme of this year’s competition was neurodegeneration, with entries proposing new approaches to answering key questions about the pathogenesis, progression, diagnosis or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

“Einstein is well known for its outstanding faculty in basic science and translational research, a reputation that is enhanced by their success in this competition,” said Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, Dean of Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz at Einstein and Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at Montefiore Medicine. “These awards, in addition to the two winning teams last year, also demonstrate Einstein’s commitment to supporting our scientists as they seek to translate their discoveries into diagnostics and treatments that improve the health of our people. Bronx community and beyond. I applaud each of them for their scientific excellence and leadership.”

The 2022 XSeed Awards winners are:

  • Arne Gennerichdoctorate and Hernando Sosa, Ph.D., for their proposal to identify and develop drugs targeting neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. The team will start by normalizing the activity of the KIF1A protein. Its dysfunction has been implicated in some cases of intellectual disability, autism, and microcephaly, known collectively as KIF1A-associated neurological disorders, or KAND. The team will use structural analysis, virtual screens, and in vitro and in vivo assays to identify small molecules that could rescue KiF1A function.
  • Nicholas Sibingadoctor and Sayan Nandi, Ph.D., for their research on microglial phagocytosis. This protective process removes dying neurons and toxic proteins such as beta-amyloid from the brain, but its overactivity damages living neurons and has been implicated in multiple sclerosis, ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. These researchers found that loss of function of the Iba1 protein slows down microglial phagocytosis. The team, which also includes Evripidis Gavathiotis, Ph.D., Derek HuffmanPh.D., and Alishba Maira, MS, will investigate strategies for using drugs to target the Iba1 pathway to disrupt microglial phagocytosis.

“Einstein faculty members have earned four of the ten XSeed Awards given out in the first two years of this prestigious competition,” noted Janis Paradiso, MBA, CLP, Director of the Office of Biotechnology and Business Development, whose office has worked with several of the teams that submitted nominations for the award. “Our scientific community is focused on important projects that have potential in the treatment of debilitating diseases and is committed to advancing this research. We look forward to working with our Einstein researchers as they build additional relationships with funding sources, like XSeed, investment groups, and licensing. partners, to further develop Einstein’s innovations.”

In addition to funding, all winning teams, who are selected by Deerfield Management and a panel of industry experts, will join a cohort of their fellow winners and benefit from two years of peer learning and office hours. with leading investors, entrepreneurs and business specialists. XSeed graduates are expected to serve as mentors and coaches for future cohorts, thereby strengthening New York City entrepreneurial community.

On Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation’s leading centers for research, medical education, and clinical investigation. In the 2021-22 academic year, Einstein is home to 732 medical students, 190 doctoral students. students, 120 students in the combined MD/Ph.D. program and approximately 250 postdoctoral researchers. The College of Medicine has over 1,900 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2021, Einstein received more than $185 million in the National Institutes of Health awards. This includes funding for major Einstein research centers in cancer, aging, intellectual developmental disorders, diabetes, clinical and translational research, liver disease and AIDS. Other areas in which the College of Medicine focuses its efforts include research in brain development, neuroscience, heart disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore, University Hospital and Einstein University Medical Center, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the rate at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. For more information, visit einsteinmed.org, read our blog, follow us on TwitterLike us on facebook, and watch us on YouTube.

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