Einstein/Montefiore Department of Medicine

2017 Department of Medicine Research Grants Awardees

Six department of Medicine faculty will receive research training grants, or K awards, designed to promote independent research and career development of candidates based on their past training and career stage.

KL2 Awards  

The Mentored Clinical/Translational Research Career Development Awards, or KL2 Awards, provide funding for junior faculty (Instructor or Assistant Professor) with doctoral degrees to devote the majority of their effort to clinical or translational research and training for 2 to 3 years.  Career Development Awards (CDAs) are sponsored by a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the NIH and the Einstein/Montefiore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR).


Olga Aroniadis, MD, MSc

Olga Aroniadis, MD, MsC
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology & Liver Diseases)
Research Project: Microbiome Predictors of Clinical Response to Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) in patients with Diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D).
Mentors: Allan Wolkoff and Marla Keller 

Dr. Aroniadis' research interests include the intestinal microbiome and its implication in health and disease, Clostridium difficile infection and colon ischemia. She is involved in numerous research studies and is currently running an FDA-approved clinical trial to assess the role of fecal microbiota transplantation for the treatment of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. She strives to deliver exceptional patient care and is dedicated to teaching and mentoring medical students, residents and fellows.

Tanya Johns
Tanya Johns MD

Tanya S. Johns MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) and Medical Director of the Kidney Care Program and Telehealth Initiative at Montefiore.
Research Project: "The Association of Interdisciplinary Care with Chronic Kidney Disease Outcomes in a High-risk Patient Population."  
Mentors: Michal Melamed and Michelle Estrella (Johns Hopkins) 





NIH Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (K08) 

The NIH Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award provides support and “protected time” for an intensive, mentored research career development experience in biomedical or behavioral research, including translational research.

Marcus Bachhuber
Marcus Bachhuber, MD

Marcus Bachhuber, MD 
Assistant Professor of Medicine (General Internal Medicine) 
Research Project: Leveraging the Electronic Health Record to Reduce Opioid Analgesic Prescriptions
Mentors: Primary: Chinazo Cunningham; Co-Mentors: Denis Nash (CUNY) and Dan Polsky (Penn Medicine); Consultants: Moonseong Heo and William Southern. 

It is known that physicians often prescribe 30 or more pills for acute pain, but patients generally take less than half of the prescription. This results in a large number of unused pills that can be misused or taken by friends and family members. In an effort to tackle this problem, Dr. Bachhuber and investigators will change to the electronic health record so that all new prescriptions for opioid painkillers will default to a lower number of pills. This value will be fully modifiable based on patients' circumstances and the physician's judgment, but it will hopefully nudge physicians to prescribe fewer pills, in line with what patients actually take. The researchers are studying this modification in a randomized trial involving 32 primary care practices, 4 emergency departments, and 3 dental practices. Given the widespread adoption of electronic health records, if successful, this intervention can be implemented widely and at a low cost.  

NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) 

The NIH offers career development grants to young researchers—usually senior postdoctoral fellows or early-career faculty members. The K99/R00 award is designed to facilitate a timely transition from a mentored postdoctoral research position to a stable independent research position with independent NIH or other independent research support at an earlier stage than is currently the norm.

Matthew Akiyama
Matthew Akiyama, MD, MSc

Matthew Akiyama, MD, MSc 

Assistant Professor of Medicine (General Internal Medicine) 
Research Project: A Novel Peer Intervention to Improve Linkage to and Retention in Hepatitis C Treatment Following Release from Jail.
Mentors: Alain LitwinChinazo CunninghamAlison Karasz, and Moonseong Heo   

Due to the steady concentration of individuals with substance use disorders in U.S. jails and prisons, hepatitis C virus (HCV) has reached alarming prevalence rates in the U.S. Correctional System. The period following release from jail is high risk for active drug use and potential HCV transmission but few detainees are linked to HCV treatment after release. New direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have greater than 90% cure rates, few side effects, and can decrease morbidity and mortality and ongoing community transmission of HCV. Ensuring availability to DAAs after release from jail is a critical public health issue. To improve outcomes, Dr. Akiyama has been researching ways to improve linkage to HCV care following release from jail. Dr. Akiyama was recently granted a KL2 award to continue this line of research. In the first phase of research, Dr. Akiyama will perform a qualitative study to assess the barriers to and facilitators of linkage to HCV care following release from jail. In the second phase, Dr. Akiyama will conduct a randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of a peer-based care coordination intervention compared with the current standard of care.

NIH Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) 

The K23 award supports the career development of individuals with a clinical doctoral degree who have made a commitment to focus their research endeavors on patient-oriented research.

Anna Broder
Anna Broder, MD

Anna Broder, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (Rheumatology) and attending Rheumatologist.
Research Project: The Impact of Hydroxychloroquine use on Thrombosis and Mortality in Lupus-Related End Stage Renal Disease

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that results in extensive inflammation and tissue damage. Approximately 60% of SLE patients develop kidney involvement (lupus nephritis), and up to 30% of these progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The mortality rate in patients with SLE-related ESRD is 4-fold higher than of lupus nephritis alone. In addition, SLE patients on hemodialysis have twice the risk of mortality compared to non-SLE patients on hemodialysis, even though the former are significantly younger when they develop ESRD. Therefore, it is important to develop interventions that may improve outcomes in SLE ESRD.

While it is well established that lupus patients who develop end stage kidney disease have high rates of complications and deaths, there are no clear guidelines on how to decrease these complications. Dr. Broder’s study will determine if hydroxychloroquine, a drug commonly used to treat lupus, but underused in lupus-related end stage renal disease, may decrease complications and deaths in individuals with lupus-related end stage renal disease undergoing the two most common renal replacement modalities, hemodialysis and kidney transplant. Investigators will analyze data from the US Renal Database Systems (USRDS), the NIH-sponsored US - wide registry of ESRD patients, and collect longitudinal SLE-specific data that will be linked subsequently to the USRDS.

Jonathan Ross
Jonathan Ross, MD

Jonathan Ross, MD
Instructor, Department of Medicine (General Internal Medicine)
Research Project: Minimizing Losses from HIV Care Under Universal Treatment in Rwanda
Mentors:  Primary: Kathryn Anastos; Co-Mentors: Chinazo Cunningham and Denis Nash (CUNY); Consultants: Adebola AdedimejiDonaldHoover (Rutgers) and JeanD'amour Sinayobye (Rwanda Military Hospital). 

The 2015 World Health Organization guidelines recommend antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all people living with HIV regardless of CD4 count (universal ART). However, many people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa do not initiate ART or remain in care. As countries begin implementing universal ART, it is critical to understand factors associated with not initiating or remaining on ART. The overall goal of this research is to identify determinants of ART uptake and retention under universal ART, and design a targeted and informed intervention to minimize loss to care. This study will be conducted in Rwanda, one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to implement universal ART. To determine factors associated with ART uptake and retention, Dr. Ross and investigators will conduct interviews with patients as well as analyze data from the NIH-funded Central Africa IeDEA, an established cohort of over 65,000 people living with HIV that is led by Kathryn Anastos (Einstein DGIM). Researchers will then use these findings to design an intervention aimed at those at high risk of loss to care. 


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