Past Intramural Awardees

The Saban Research Institute Intramural Awards

Each year The Saban Research Institute (TSRI) provides financial support for an important intramural funding program aimed at developing the next generation of leaders in pediatric research. These funds support enhanced opportunities for educational development and research training, and are awarded following a highly competitive application and selection process. For more information about current intramural opportunities, click here. Past recipients of each award are presented in the drop-downs below.

  • Pre-Doctoral Award
  • Post-Doctoral Research Career Development Fellowship (RCDF)
  • Research Career Development Award (RCDA)
  • 2nd R01 Pilot Grant Program
  • Team Science Grant

The Pre-Doctoral Award provides funding for up to two years for stipend support and health fees of a USC graduate student research assistant working at TSRI under the mentorship of a CHLA-based faculty member.

2019

Xidi Feng

Mentor: Ellen Lien, PhD
Title: Molecular Mechanism of Cardiac Lymphatic Vessel Formation In Zebrafish Heart Regeneration

2018

Edie Bucar

Program Affiliation: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Mark Frey, PhD
Project Title: Function of Adhesion G-Protein Coupled Receptor L2 in Colonic Epithelial Homeostasis and Disease

Sijia Wang

Program Affiliation: Cancer
Mentor: David Cobrinik, MD, PhD
Project Title: Structure-Function Analysis of Retinoblastoma Tumor Suppressor Protein in Human Cone Precursors

2017

Hung-Chi Lu

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TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Di Tian
Project Title: To Characterize the Synaptic Abnormalities in Mouse Models Associated with Human Chr16p11.2 Microdeletion

2016

Mohit Dave

TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Rusty Lansford
Project Title: Investigating how primordial germ cells develop and move in living amniote embryos

2015

Ryan Kast

TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Pat Levitt, PhD
Project Title: Developmental Emergence of Diversity and Vulnerability in Neocortical Layer 6 Neurons”

Mariam Murtadha

TSRI Program: Cancer
Mentor: Muller Fabbri, MD, PhD
Project Title: Exosomic MicroRNAs Secreted by Tumor Associated Macrophages (TAMs) Modulate Neuroblastoma (NBL) Resistance to 13-cis-Retinoic Acid (13-cis-RA)

2014

Céleste Stephany

TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Aaron McGee, PhD 
Project: "Programming of Neural Circuits for Metabolic Disease: Nogo Receptor in Developmental Visual Plasticity  

2013

Anna Kamitakahara

TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Richard Simerly, PhD
Project: "Programming of Neural Circuits for Metabolic Disease: Role of BDNF and Nutrition"

2012

Xia Sheng

Xia Sheng, PhD

TSRI Program: Cancer, Diabetes and Obesity
Mentor: Steven Mittelman, MD, PhD
Project: "Investigating How Adipocytes Impair Daunorubicin Cytotoxicity in ALL"

Ying Huang

Ying Huang, PhD

TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Ching-Ling (Ellen) Lien, PhD
Project: "Roles of IGF in Zebrafish Heart Regeneration"

The Research Career Development Fellowship (RCDF) provides funding for up to two years of salary and benefits support of an individual at the MD, PhD, or MD/PhD or equivalent level working at TSRI under the mentorship of a CHLA-based mentor. The intent of the award is that the work funded will lead to future applications.

2019

Parisa Afshari, PhD

Mentor: Pat Levitt, PhD
Project: The Molecular Heterogeneity and Stress Adaptive Plasticity of Vagal Motor Neurons Innervating the Gastrointestinal Tract

Camille Nicolas Frank, PhD

Mentor: Laura Perin, PhD
Project: Study of Podocyte Cell Cycle in Glomerular Diseases

Zohreh Sharif Khodaei, PhD

Mentor: Brent Polk, MD
Project: The Role of TNFR2in Colonic Epithelial Stem Cell Dynamics and Mucosal Healing in Injury

2018

Katherine Slemmons, PhD

Program Affiliation: Cancer and Blood Diseases
Mentor: Lee Helman, MD
Project Title: Targeting a YES-YAP Signaling Axis in Childhood Rhabdomyosarcoma


Michael Schumacher, PhD

Program Affiliation: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Mark Frey, PhD
Project Title: The Role of Sprouty2 in Intestinal Homeostasis and Inflammation


Ying Huang, PhD

Program Affiliation: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Brent Polk, MD
Project Title: The Cellular Function of TNFR1 in Epithelium During Colitis Progression and Injury Regeneration in Mice

2017

Yeha Kim

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TSRI Program: Cancer and Blood Diseases; Developmental Neuroscience 
Mentor: David Cobrinik
Project Title: Role of SYK Dependent Proliferation Related Signaling in Human Retinal Cone Cell Development

Anup Pathania

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TSRI Program: Cancer and Blood Diseases
Mentor: Anat Erdreich-Epstein
Project Title: Role of GRK2 in Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) Subgroup Medulloblastoma (MB)

Soheila Shirinbak

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TSRI Program: Cancer and Blood Diseases
Mentor: Shahab Asgharzadeh
Project Title: Role of Neutrophils in Biology and Immunotherapy-Resistant Neuroblastomas

2016

Sargis Sedrakyan

TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Laura Perin
Project Title: Extracellular Vesicles Regulate VEGF Homeostasis and Improve The Glomerular Endothelial Structure and Function in Kidney Disease

Soyoung Park

TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Sebastien Bouret
Project Title: Maternal obesity programs hypothalamic ER stress: long-term effects on metabolic regulation

Marta Kubala

TSRI Program: Cancer and Blood Disease
Mentor: Yves De Clerck
Project Title: Dissecting a novel pro-tumorigenic role of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) in the polarization of tumor associated macrophages (TAM)

Anna Kamitakahara

TSRI Program: Institute for the Developing Mind
Mentor: Pat Levitt
Project Title: Developing Neural Connections to the Gut: Impact of the MET Receptor Tyrosine Kinase

2015

Jessica Biddinger

TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Richard Simerly, PhD
Project Title: Leptin and Development of GLP-1 Neural Circuits Controlling Ingestive Behavior

Lucia Borriello

TSRI Program: Cancer
Mentor: Yves DeClerck, MD
Project Title: Investigating the Molecular Mechanisms of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells – Mediated Drug Resistance in Neuroblastoma

Donglai Qi, PhD

TSRI Program: Cancer, Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: David Cobrinik, MD, PhD
Project Title: MDM2-Mediated P53-Independent Regulation of MYCN Oncoprotein

Stephanie Shishido

TSRI Program: Cancer
Mentor: Yong-Mi Kim, MD, PhD
Project Title: Understanding Cell Adhesion-Mediated Drug Resistance of ALL Cells

2014

Michael Harrison

TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Ching-Ling (Ellen) Lien, PhD
Project Title: "Characterization of Revascularization During Zebrafish Heart Regeneration"
Click here to learn about Dr. Harrison's latest research.

Sophie Croizier

TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Sebastien G. Bouret, PhD
Project Title: "Role of MicroRNA-103/107 in Pro-Opiomelanocortin Neuron Development"

2013

Amanda Elson

TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Richard Simerly, PhD
Project Title: "Leptin Programs the Development of PVH Preautonomic Projections"

Unice Soh

TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Brent Polk, MD
Project Title: "Cytokine Regulation of Epithelial Stem Cells for Mucosal Homeostasis and Injury Repair"

2012

Berengere Coupe

Berengere Coupe, PhD

TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Sebastien Bouret, PhD
Project: "Leptin Regulation of Autophagy- Role on Hypothalamic Development and Metabolic Regulation"

Jieun Kim

Jieun Kim, PhD

TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Ching-Ling (Ellen) Lien, PhD
Project: "Functions of PDGF Signaling in Zebrafish Heart Regeneration"

The Research Career Development Award (RCDA) is considered as seed funding to help investigators generate preliminary data that can be used to support extramural research grant applications. This award is aimed at supporting a junior faculty member (MD, PhD, MD/PhD) for a research project that has a primary focus on laboratory research (dry or wet laboratory) or clinical (patient related) research. The RCDA provides $60,000/year for up to two years to support the research of junior faculty members at CHLA.

2019

Diana Moke, MD

Mentor: David Freyer, DO
Project Title: Towards Reducing Late Mortality Among 5-Year Survivors of Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer

Gianluca Turcatel, PhD

Mentor: David Warburton, MD
Project Title: Optimization of the Photonfocus Hyperspectral Camera for the Detection of Pathologic Changes in the Lung Airway Epithelium

Alaina Vidmar, MD

Mentor: Michael Goran, PhD
Project Title: Time Limited Eating in Adolescents with Pre-Diabetes (Time LEAD): A Pilot Study

2018

Jessica Wisnowski, PhD

Program Affiliation: Institute for the Developing Mind
Mentor: Bradley Peterson, MD
Project Title: Lipids as Biological Markers of Brain Injury and Treatment Response in Neonates with Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

Andrew Cheng, MD

Program Affiliation: Human Physiology and Imaging
Mentor: John Wood, MD, PhD
Project Title: Evaluation of Non-Newtonian Behavior in the Fontan Circulation Using Patient-Specific Computational Fluid Dynamic Models and 4D Flow MRI

2017

Stefano Da Sacco

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TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Janos Peti-Peterdi
Project Title: Development and Characterization of a Glomerulus-on-a-Chip Platform for Disease Modeling and Drug Screening
Achievement supported by the award: CHLA Scientists Develop Breakthrough In Vitro Model - ResearCHLA Blog

2016

Julie Jaffray

TSRI Program: Cancer and Blood Disease
Mentor: Guy Young
Project Title: A Multi-Institutional Risk Factor Evaluation and Risk Stratification for Pediatric Hospital-Acquired Venous Thromboembolism

Christian Hochstim

TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: David Warburton
Project Title: Tissue Engineered Trachea for Airway Reconstruction

2015

Denise Al Alam

Assistant Professor
TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine (DBRM)
Mentor: David Warburton
Project Title: FGF Signaling in Human Embryonic Lung Development

Yaling Yang

Assistant Professor
TSRI Program: Community Health Outcomes and Intervention Research (CHOIR)
Mentor: Pat Levitt, PhD
Project Title: The Effect of Bullying Victimization on Cortisol Stress Reactivity and Brain Maturation

2014

Lily Chao

Assistant Professor
TSRI Program: Diabetes & Obesity
Project Title: “Nur77 Regulation of Autophagy and Mitophagy in Skeletal Muscle”

2013

Senta Georgia

Assistant Professor
TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: David Warburton, MD
Project Title: “Genome-wide Epigenetic Mapping of NGN3+” 

Christopher P. Gayer

Assistant Professor
TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Mentor: Henri Ford, MD, MHA
Project Title: “The Role of Bile Acids in Necrotizing Enterocolitis” 

Ashwini Lakshmanan

Assistant Professor
TSRI Program: Community, Health Outcomes and Intervention Research
Mentors: Michele Kipke, PhD and Istvan Seri, MD, PhD
Project Title: “Quality of Life Among Caregivers of Preterm Infants After Discharge from the NICU: Los Angeles Cohort” 

2012 Award Recipient

Di Tian

Assistant Professor of Pathology
TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Mentor: Alex Judkins, MD and Richard Simerly, PhD
Project Title: “Characterization of an Autism Model for Human Chromosome 16p11.2 Microdeletion” 

The 2nd R01 Pilot Grant provides a maximum of $50,000/year for up to two years, to support faculty members with one NIH R01 grant to ensure that awardees submit a second NIH R01.

2018

Robinder Khemani, MD

Program Affiliation: Human Physiology and Imaging 
Project Title: Understanding and Preventing Long Term Impairments in Children Surviving Pediatric ARDS: a Follow-up of the Real-time Effort Driven Ventilator (REDvent) Management Study
 

Rex Moats, PhD

Program Affiliation: Human Physiology and Imaging
Project Title: mTor in Alveolar Development and Disease 
 

2017

Sebastien Bouret

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TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Project Title: Impact of Maternal Obesity on the Development of Parasympathetic Circuits Involved in Glucose Regulation

Ellen Lien

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TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Project Title: Cardiac Lymphatics in Heart Development and Regeneration

 

2016 Grant Recipient

Mark Frey

TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Project Title: Suppression of pro-inflammatory macrophages by ErbB4 during colitis

2012 Grant Recipients

Sebastien G. Bouret

Associate Professor
TSRI Program: Developmental Neuroscience
Project Title: “miRNAs and Development of Hypothalamic Appetite-Related Pathways”

Steven Mittelman

Associate Professor
TSRI Program: Obesity and Diabetes, Cancer
Project Title: “The Role of Lymphocytes in Obesity-Induced Adipose Tissue Inflammation and Diabetes"

Wei Shi

Assistant Professor
TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Project Title: “The Role of Resident Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Lung Injury Repair and Regeneration”

The Team Science Grant is designed to facilitate new collaborations involving diverse teams of experts, directed toward establishing innovative approaches to important problems in pediatric medicine. Funds aim to facilitate new collaborations and support outstanding research and cutting edge discoveries by teams of experts who have not worked together previously on similar projects.

2019

Shahab Asgharzadeh, MD

Project Title: Single Cell Analysis of Neuroblastoma Tumor Microenvironment Using Sequential FISH

2018

Bradley Peterson, MD

Program Affiliation: Institute of the Developing Mind
Project Title: Team Science Study of Repeated Head Impacts in High School Athletes 

David Cobrinik, MD, PhD

Program Affiliation: Cancer, Developmental Neuroscience 
Project Title: Visualizing and Targeting the Retinoblastoma Cell of Origin 

2017

Anat Erdreich-Epstein

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Co Principal Investigator: Xiaojiang Chen (USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences)
TSRI Program: Cancer and Blood Diseases
Project Title: Structural and Functional Studies of PID1, a Novel Growth Suppressor in Brain Tumors

Robert Seeger

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Co Principal Investigators: Muller Fabbri, Ambrose Jong, Alan Wayne (CHLA); Noah Malmstadt (USC Viterbi School of Engineering)
TSRI Program: Cancer and Blood Diseases
Project Title: Natural Killer Cell Extracellular Vesicles for Treatment of Neuroblastoma and Leukemia

 

2016

Pat Levitt

Co Principal Investigators: Linda Rinaman (University of Pittsburg); Hong-Wei Dong (Keck School of Medicine of USC) 
TSRI Program: Institute for the Developing Mind
Project Title: The Developing Connectome: Brain to Peripheral Organs

Ellen Lien

Co Principal Investigators: Megan McCain (Viterbi School of Engineering of USC)
TSRI Program: Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Project Title: Heart in a dish, engineering 3D heart tissues with lessons from regenerating zebrafish heart