Jun. 14, 2012

The LFA Continues Cultivating Interest in Lupus Research Among Young Scienticsts

2012 Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Fellowship Program Grantees Awarded

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is pleased to announce the 2012 Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Fellowship Program grantees. This unique program, established more than 25 years ago by former LFA President Dr. Sergio Finzi in honor of his daughter Gina who passed away from lupus, seeks to cultivate an interest in lupus research among young scientists by funding basic, clinical, translational, epidemiological, and behavioral research studies under the supervision of an established investigator.

Five young scientists, chosen through a rigorous review process, are awarded grants this year through the program. These young scientists join the ranks of more than 200 Finzi Student Fellows that the program has supported since its inception.

“The Lupus Foundation of America is thrilled to welcome the 2012 grantees into the Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Fellowship Program,” explains Graciela S. Alarcón, M.D., M.P.H., Emeritus Jane Knight Lowe Chair of Medicine, University of Alabama, Birmingham, and Member, LFA Medical-Scientific Advisory Council. “Through this program, we are able to foster an interest in lupus research among the next generation of young scientists that may not have happened without our support. Our hope is that these efforts, made possible through the fellowship program, advance the science and medicine of lupus - and potentially even lead to the next breakthrough in lupus research.”

The 2012 award recipients include:

    Caroline Albert, Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, CT)
    “Can Hydroxychoroquine Prevent Adverse Pregnancy in Women with APS?”
    Mentor: Vikki M. Abrahams, Ph.D.

    Elizabeth Clarke, University of California at Irvine (Irvine, CA)
    “Impact of C1q on Macrophage Modulation of T Cell Function in Autoimmunity”
    Mentor: Andrea J. Tenner, Ph.D.

    Christine Coquery, University of Virginia School of Medicine (Charlottesville, VA)
    “The Role of Neutrophils in Controlling the Development of Plasma Cells in Autoimmune-Prone Mice”
    Mentor: Loren D. Erickson, Ph.D.

    Thomas J. Covey, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (Buffalo, NY)
    “MRI, Electrophysiology and Working Memory Impairment in SLE”
    Mentor: David W. Shucard, Ph.D.

    Anne Song, Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, CT)
    “Competition between TLR7 and TLR9 for UNC93B in a Murine Model of Lupus”
    Mentor: Mark J. Shlomchik, M.D., Ph.D.

Grantees of this one-of-a-kind valued fellowship program have produced numerous publications in respected peer-reviewed journals, gone on to earn M.D. and Ph.D. degrees, and have become medical practitioners and academic researchers.

The LFA is dedicated to identifying and overcoming barriers that have stood in the way of advancing the science and medicine of lupus, and improving the quality of life for individuals affected by this unpredictable and potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease. The Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Fellowship Program is just one of the many initiatives that are part of the LFA’s rigorous National Research Program, Bringing Down the Barriers™. Bringing Down the Barriers is unique because it directs LFA research funds where gaps exist in the understanding of lupus, and toward promising areas of study that are underfunded. The LFA leads special research initiatives, funds research efforts, and advocatesfor increased investment in lupus research. Through private and public sources, the LFA has generated $5.4 million in new dollars for lupus research in 2012 alone.