2015 Cohn Fellowship Award Winners Named

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Cohn family foundation has provided $100,000 in grant support that was distributed equally to five junior faculty at Rush who act as mentees in Rush University’s research mentoring program. The funding allows mentees to gather preliminary data for research proposals and for their continued engagement in research activities.

Cohn fellows are selected through a competitive process. This year’s recipients are as follows:

Jamie A. Cvengros, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. She received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Iowa and completed her residency in health psychology at Rush University Medical Center. Following residency, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral sleep medicine at the Rush Sleep Disorders Service and Research Center.

Cvengros has two primary lines of research: strategies to assess and improve communication and clinical reasoning skills among medical students and physicians, and strategies to improve patient adherence to treatment for chronic disease. Her Cohn Fellowship research will focus on the “Development and Validation of Tools for Assessment of Integrated Clinical Skills.”

Mahboobeh (Maha) Mahdavinia, MD, PhD, attended Tehran University Medical School in Iran, where she developed an interest in medical research, especially in the field of immunology. She decided to expand her research training by completing a doctoral program at G d’Annunzio University in Italy.

Mahdavinia then completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2011, followed by an allergy and immunology fellowship at Northwestern University in Illinois. Soon after, she joined the Section of Allergy and Immunology at Rush University Medical Center as an assistant professor.

Her research interest includes racial differences in people who have chronic rhinosinusitis. She is also interested in pathogenesis of adult food allergy and eosinophilic esophagitis. She has received several awards for her research, including the 2014 AAAAI-IRSOC interest section award and the 2007 AACR-WICR award. Her Cohn Fellowship research will focus on “Chronic Rhinosinusitis, Microbiome and Race.”

Rachel E. Miller, PhD, is an instructor in the Division of Rheumatology within the Department of Internal Medicine. She obtained her bachelor’s in bioengineering from Penn State University and her doctorate in biological engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Miller has a long-standing interest in basic and translational research related to osteoarthritis.

During her doctoral studies, she worked on developing several novel concepts to induce cartilage repair in the knee using protein- and tissue-engineering methodologies. During her postdoctoral work at Rush, she gained experience in the study of molecular pathways associated with osteoarthritis pain. Her Cohn Fellowship research will focus on “Biomechanical Pathways Involved in Osteoarthritis Pain.”

Jitesh Pratap, PhD, is an assistant professor in Rush’s Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. He received his doctorate in 1998 from Panjab University in India. He completed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Pratap joined the faculty of Rush University in 2010.

The focus of his research is to understand the molecular basis of bone metastasis, with special emphasis on the role of signaling networks in cancer cell survival. His work is identifying novel regulatory pathways in breast cancer cells using various molecular approaches and animal models to develop targeted therapies for bone metastasis. Pratap is a member of many professional societies including the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.  His Cohn Fellowship research will focus on “Novel Regulatory Mechanisms of Cell Survival in Bone Metastasis.”

Natalie R. Stevens, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. She received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas and completed her residency in health psychology at Rush University Medical Center. Following residency, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Rush in traumatic stress and women’s health in the Rush Outpatient Psychotherapy Service and the Center for Women’s Behavioral and Mental Health.

Stevens’ primary research focus is on psychological and medical interventions to improve pregnancy outcomes of underserved populations. Her intervention program — which is called Trauma-Sensitive Obstetric Care to Promote Control, Anxiety-Reduction and Empowerment (TO-CARE) — aims to train obstetric physicians to deliver trauma-sensitive medical care throughout pregnancy. Her Cohn Fellowship research will focus on the “Improving Pregnancy Outcomes using Trauma-sensitive Obstetric Care for Abuse Survivors.”