Cohn Fellowship Award Winners

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. The 2016 recipients are as follows:

Christopher Ferrigno, PhD, MPT, is an instructor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and Department of Orthopedic Surgery. During his doctoral studies at Rush, Ferrigno investigated biomechanical approaches to improve loading conditions at the knee during gait. 

He currently investigates the therapeutic application of a pressure-detecting shoe insole to conservatively treat the osteoarthritic knee. His Cohn Fellowship research will focus on “Biomechanical Approaches for Improving Function in Osteoarthritis.”

Allison Wainer, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Autism Assessment Research Treatment and Services (AARTS) Center in the Department of Psychiatry. Wainer has two primary lines of research: examining innovative service delivery models, such as telehealth, to improve access to care for families of children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD); and developing novel behavioral-pharmacological treatments to target core areas of impairment in NDD. 

Wainer’s Cohn Fellowship research will integrate these two areas by examining “Integrated Treatments for Improving Social Learning, Motivation and Communication in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.”

Ryan Ross, PhD, is an instructor in the Anatomy and Cell Biology Department. His postdoctoral work at Rush has included research into the development of bone matrix, specifically concentrating on the role of Wnt signaling (a signaling pathway known to be important to bone mass maintenance) and the influence of osteoporosis treatments, and the use of circulating biomarkers as a means to diagnose orthopedic implant failure. His Cohn Fellowship research will study the use of an emerging bone drug to target X-linked hypophosphatemia.

Philip Held, PhD, is an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Road Home Program.

He conducts intervention research aimed at establishing the efficacy of psychosocial treatments for mental health problems associated with psychological trauma. His primary research interest involves examining the roles that trauma-related experiences, specifically guilt and shame, play in the development, maintenance and recovery from traumatic stress reactions in veterans.

Held’s long-term research goals focus on the optimization of existing evidence-supported treatments for traumatic stress reactions. His Cohn Fellowship research will focus on examining veterans’ experiences of, and reactions to, potentially morally injurious events.

Gian Pal, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences in the Section of Movement Disorders. His research interests include biomarkers in Parkinson’s disease (PD). In his masters’ thesis, he assessed the role of a novel substrate, lipopolysaccharide binding protein, as a potential biomarker of PD. 

Pal’s current work focuses on genotype-phenotype correlations, specifically relating to glucocerebrosidase (GBA) with PD. His Cohn Fellowship research will focus on “Quantitative Motion Analysis to Characterize the Motor Phenotype of GBA Mutation Carriers With PD.”