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Fellowship Program Awards Young Scientists, Paves Way for Future Lupus Researchers

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Lupus Foundation of America announced six recipients of the 2019 Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship Program which was developed to cultivate an interest in lupus research among young scientists. The projects from this year's awardees encompass a multitude of scientific areas that are critical to moving the lupus research field forward, including lupus nephritis, genetics, neuropsychiatric lupus and disease education.

"The Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship Program is an incredibly important grant opportunity. It helps motivate and initiate young generations of students into lupus research – a field that must continue to grow," shared Christina Drenkard, MD, PhD and mentor to a 2019 Finzi Fellow. "This program provides students with a rich, hands-on experience by conducting their own study during the summer. It's a unique opportunity for these young scientists and elevates lupus research early in their education."

The six awardees are mentored by an established lupus investigator, ensuring they receive the support and guidance they need. Since its founding, the Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship Program has supported the work of nearly 200 young investigators throughout North America.

"We are committed to ensuring the lupus research field is growing and that means investing in young scientists with an interest in lupus research. The Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship Program is an unparalleled opportunity that makes it possible for students pursuing their education to advance their lupus research career path," said Stevan W. Gibson, president and CEO, Lupus Foundation of America. "We are incredibly proud to support our Finzi awardees as we help to cultivate the next generation of lupus researchers."

Established in 1984, the Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship Program was created to honor Gina M. Finzi, the late daughter of former Lupus Foundation of America president Sergio Finzi, PhD. Past recipients of the award have gone on to become today's preeminent lupus scientists, leading multi-center clinical trials in lupus and lupus centers of excellence, and producing numerous publications in respected peer-reviewed journals.

The results of research by the awardees will contribute to new therapies, prevention strategies and educational interventions to better understand, detect and treat people with lupus. This year's fellows are:

Philip Carlucci
New York University School of Medicine
Study Title: The natural killer cell ligand polymorphism HLA-C Asn80Lys and lupus nephritis.
Mentor: Robert Clancy, Ph.D., Professor, New York School of Medicine

Lin Chen
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Study Title: Ptprz: Impact on Tubules and Macrophage Mediated Lupus
Mentor: Vicki Rubin Kelley, Ph.D Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Erica Crosley
Emory School of Medicine
Study Title: Understanding Latino Lupus Patients' Education Needs via Mixed-Methods Analysis of the Spanish-speaking Facebook Page "Hablemos de Lupus" ("Let's talk about Lupus")
Mentor: Christina Drenkard, MD., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Division of Rheumatology, Emory School of Medicine

Erica Moore
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Study Title: The Pathogenic Role of T Cells in Neuropsychiatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Mentor: Chaim Putterman, MD, Chief and Program Director, Division of Rheumatology, Professor of Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Kathryn Wierenga
Michigan State University
Study Title: Unraveling How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Suppress Lupus Flaring
Mentor: James Pestka, Ph.D., Professor, Michigan State University

Thomas Winans
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Study Title: The Effects of Rab4A Q72L Knock-In Mutation on Interferons I/II Receptors, Behavior and Brain Metabolome in a Mouse Model
Mentor: Andras Perl, M.D. Ph.D., SUNY Distinguished Professor, Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chief, Division of Rheumatology

To learn more about the 2019 Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship award recipients, click here.

About the Lupus Foundation of America
The Lupus Foundation of America is the national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world's cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus. Learn more about the Lupus Foundation of America at

Mike Donnelly
(202) 349-1162

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SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America