The Emerging Scholars Symposium

May 12, 2017
Kahn Auditorium
A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building
10 a.m. – Noon

The Taubman Institute’s Emerging Scholars Program kickstarts the careers of U-M’s most promising young physician-researchers, at the assistant professor level on the U-M Medical School faculty.  Emerging Scholar grants, funded by individual donors, help these early career doctor-scientists establish their laboratories and the credentials they’ll need to qualify for larger, traditional grants.

The annual Emerging Scholars Symposium, held each spring, showcases six of these “best and brightest” researchers as they demonstrate their latest discoveries in a fast-paced “speed science” format.

No registration is required, and all are welcome.  A coffee and networking session will precede the talks in the BSRB lobby starting at 8:30 p.m.



Speeding recovery after muscle and joint injuries

  • Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor, Sports Medicine, Shoulder, & Hip Preservation Surgery

  • Director, Sports Medicine Research Program, U-M MedSport

In addition to helping patients as an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Bedi is using cellular and molecular studies on human tissues to fuel discoveries that may help speed the healing of muscle tissue and identify or prevent the causes of joint deterioration.


Sung Won Choi, MD

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases

  • Edith Briskin/SKS Foundation Emerging Scholar

Dr. Choi’s research is on the prevention and treatment of graft versus host disease (GVHD), the major
complication of bone transplantation treatment for hematologic cancers. With her collaborator, Dr. Pavan Reddy,she has taken laboratory insights into a novel clinical trial of GVHD prevention and is working to lower the incidence of acute GVHD and ultimately improve upon survival and quality of life following bone marrow transplantation.


Bradley Foerster, MD, PhD

  • Taubman Institute Emerging Scholar

Dr. Foerster’s interests include the development, implementation, and validation of advanced neuroimaging methods to study ALS, neurodegenerative diseases, and chronic pain syndromes. In addition to an active neuroradiology clinical practice, he is using advanced statistical models and brain chemistry information to develop a more definitive imaging test for ALS in the hopes that earlier diagnosis will lead to more effective intervention.


Katherine Gallagher, MD

  • Friends of Judy and Alfred Taubman Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor of Surgery

Dr. Gallagher is a vascular surgeon with expertise in the management and treatment of peripheral arterial disease,particularly in patients with diabetes. Her research focuses on understanding how inflammation, immune cell function, and bone marrow stem cells influence wound healing in diabetes in an effort to design novel therapeutic agents and treatments.

Johann Gudjonsson, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Dermatology

  • Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar

Dr. Gudjonsson has a clinical practice in dermatology, and in the laboratory, studies psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases at the genetic level. He has initiated several human clinical trials of new therapies, including one that studies the use of Vitamin B12 in treating psoriasis.


Alon Kahana, MD, PhD

  • Mrs. William Davidson Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor and Helmut F. Stern Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Dr. Kahana is a surgeon with a clinical interest in disorders affecting the eye, such as tumors, cancers, thyroid disease,and other inherited eye diseases. In the laboratory, he is harnessing the power of zebrafish and stem cells to understand the molecular basis of eye disorders, regenerate human tissue, and develop new approaches to treat eye conditions.


Todd Morgan, MD

  • Assistant Professor, Urology

Dr. Morgan is a urological surgeon specializing in the treatment of genitourinary malignancies, and his research focuses on understanding the early spread of prostate cancer cells in the blood. His aim is to identify patients with the most aggressive tumors and develop appropriate therapeutic strategies for these individuals.


Erika A. Newman, MD

  • Edith Briskin Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatric Surgery

Dr. Newman’s clinical interest in pediatric oncology led her study neuroblastoma, the most common extra cranial solid cancer in children. Through research aimed at understanding the developmental pathways in the cells that underlie this disease, she is enhancing our understanding of neuroblastoma pathogenesis and supporting the development of improved treatment strategies.


Parag Patil, MD, PhD

  • Young Friends of the Taubman Institute Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor Neurosurgery, Anesthesiology, and Biomedical Engineering

  • Co-Director, Movement Disorders Program and Psychiatric Neuromodulation Program

Dr. Patil is a neurosurgeon with clinical expertise in deep brain stimulation therapies for movement disorders and depression and surgical therapies for neurological conditions. In the laboratory, he is using engineering, imaging,and operative techniques to study deep brain stimulation treatments in order to develop the next generation of future brain pacemaker devices. He also works with Dr. Eva Feldman in the first-ever stem cell trial for patients with ALS.


Myria Petrou, MA, MS, MBChB

  • Assistant Professor, Radiology

  • Leslie and Abigail Wexner Emerging Scholar

Dr. Petrou is a radiologist and expert in clinical neuroimaging. Using noninvasive MRI and PET imaging, her research aims to gain insight into brain pathophysiology in the setting of diabetes in order to develop a better understanding of the mechanisms by which diabetes accentuates cognitive decline.


Rajesh C. Rao, MD

  • Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

  • Assistant Professor, Pathology

  • Leslie and Abigail Wexner Emerging Scholar

Dr. Rajesh Rao is an ophthalmologist and his long-term goal is to use stem cell biology and epigenetics to decipher the pathogenesis of retinal disease. He is developing a stem cell therapy for age-related macular degeneration and also hopes to develop novel pharmacologic gene and cell-based clinical therapies to promote regeneration and reduce scar and tumor formation for patients with blinding retinal diseases.


Srijan Sen, MD, PhD

  • Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Sen is a psychiatrist with an interest in depression. Using cutting-edge genomic techniques, his laboratory is studying medical interns, a unique cohort of individuals subjected to chronic stress, to identify gene-stress interactions that moderate stress and depression, identify non-genetic biomarkers that predict depression development, and ultimately to identify novel therapies for people suffering from depression.


Kanakadurga Singer, MD

  • Assistant Professor, Pediatric Endocrinology

  • Edith Briskin / SKS Foundation Emerging Scholar

Dr. Singer is a pediatric endocrinologist, and her research seeks to understand how obesity-induced inflammation progresses to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases like insulin resistance and diabetes. By investigating the mechanisms linking obesity and systemic inflammation, she hopes to identify effective medical and dietary interventions to prevent the diseases associated with pediatric obesity.


Scott Tomlins, MD, PhD

  • The A. Alfred Taubman Emerging Scholar
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology

Dr. Tomlins is a pathologist with expertise in prostate cancer genomics. His laboratory is focused on utilizing high-throughput approaches to characterize prostate, bladder, and adrenocortical cancers at the molecular level to understand cancer biology and identify clinically relevant biomarkers and therapeutic targets.