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Female scientists celebrated for achievements in medical research

From left: Tara Narula, MD, and Karina Davidson, PhD, MASc, present at the 8th annual AWSM luncheon.
From left: Tara Narula, MD, and Karina Davidson, PhD, MASc, present at the 8th annual AWSM luncheon.

Advancing Women in Science and Medicine supports female scientists


Female scientists from Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research received more than $455,000 in awards during its eighth annual Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM – pronounced “awesome”) luncheon to celebrate and support excellence and achievements of women in science. Since its inception, AWSM has raised nearly $1.5 million to support medical research conducted by female scientists.

Initiated in 2011 by autoimmune disease expert and lupus researcher Betty Diamond, MD, professor at the Feinstein Institute, the program seeks to advance the career opportunities and career satisfaction of female scientists at the Feinstein Institute. The program is comprised of a group of female faculty members who conduct basic, translational and clinical research in a wide variety of areas. The core initiatives of AWSM are in recognition, career development, advocacy and education, and networking and mentoring.

“Year after year, we are humbled to see how AWSM makes such a positive impact on our fellow female investigators – these researchers are leading the way in medical innovation and improving the health of our community,” said Kim Simpfendorfer, PhD, assistant professor at the Feinstein Institute, and co-president of AWSM, along with Lior Brimberg, PhD. “When the initiative was first established, it aimed to empower women to further their scientific careers and foster important collaborations, and we are tremendously proud that this vision continues to be a reality today.”

About Northwell, Feinstein scientists honored

Jill Kalman, MD, executive director of Lenox Hill Hospital, Tara Narula, MD, a Manhattan-based Northwell Health cardiologist, and Karina Davidson, PhD, MASc, senior vice president of research at the Feinstein Institute, led the event program, which was held on May 1 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Each award, ranging from $2,000 to $50,000 recognized scientific excellence, innovation, mentorship, education and/or training. Two awards allow Girl Scouts interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers to attend the Feinstein Summer Internship Program. A select few of the scientists honored at this event include:

  • Douglas Elliman Discovery Award – Cristina d’Abramo, PhD: immunotherapeutic strategies for treating Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Rita Ranieri Innovation Award – Christine Metz, PhD: novel methods to understand, diagnose and treat endometriosis;
  • The Auxiliary of Lenox Hill Hospital Collaborative Women in Science Award – Sewit Teckie, MD: technologies to improve care and quality of life in head and neck cancer patients.
  • Ilene and Art Penn Collaborative Women in Science Award – Barbara Sherry, PhD: harnessing the immune system to treat leukemia;
  • Jennifer and Bradley Marsh Educational Advancement Award – Kristina Deligiannidis, BSc, MD: understanding how sex hormones trigger postpartum depression.

“We are proud of AWSM and the accomplishments of the researchers it recognizes,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute. “We are also very grateful to those who support the initiative, several of whom we were honored to recognize at the event.”

For more information about AWSM, click here or email [email protected]