The I.M. Rosenzweig Junior Investigator Award Winners
The I.M. Rosenzweig Junior Investigator Award was established to encourage researchers to maintain and enhance their interest in PF research during the early stages of their academic career.
Jung-Whan (Jay) Kim, DVM, PhD
University of Texas at Dallas
Proposal Title: "Evaluation of Hypoxia-inducible Factor-1 (HIF-1) Signaling as Anti-fibrosis Therapy"Dr. Jung-whan Kim is an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Texas at Dallas.
He received his DVM degree at Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea and completed his PhD as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) pre-doctoral scholar at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Since he joined the University of Texas at Dallas as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 2013, his research has focused on the mechanisms underlying the effects of hypoxic responses in the pulmonary fibrosis and tumorigenesis.
Among many cell populations involved in the disease progression of pulmonary fibrosis, his group is interested in fibroblasts, a type of cell providing structural support for various tissues, are responsible for scarring tissues by producing the extracellular matrix such as collagen in response to tissue damage and inflammation. Utilizing various transgenic animal models, his group seeks to better understand how fibroblasts contribute to the development of fibrosis, which can be exploited for a novel therapeutic strategy.
Chiko Shimbori, PhD
Proposal Title: "The Role of Mast Cells in Pathophysiology of Pulmonary Fibrosis"
This proposal is funded by InterMune, Inc.Originally from Japan, she received BS and MS degrees at Tottori University. She earned a PhD from Shimane University in the Department of Medicine and Pharmacology in Japan. Dr. Shimbori currently conducts research under Dr. Martin Kolb at McMaster University in the area of pulmonary fibrosis.
Through her doctoral and post-doctoral training, Dr. Shimboris learned that the tissue microenvironment is a crucial element in pulmonary fibrosis and can substantially influence the characteristics, activity, and differentiation of cells. Her current research focus is on mast cells and their role in the disease. Amongst others, she explores the impact of the extracellular matrix in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) on mast cell function and characteristics. In particular, she investigates the role of mast cells as profibrotic elements-- not their well-known inflammatory properties. Dr. Shimboris believes that her studies will help scientists better understand some of the mechanisms that cause the progression of pulmonary fibrosis and thereby lead to the development of new therapies for IPF.
Dr. Shimbori enjoys working with her wonderful supervisor and colleagues and life in Canada. She also loves nature and relaxes by practicing yoga.
The Albert Rose Established Investigator Award Winners
Created to allow established investigators to explore novel, innovative areas of research, the Albert Rose Established Investigator Award provides critical support to the development of new projects, and enables the investigator to pursue additional funding through the National Institutes of Health or other agencies. Two $50,000 grants are awarded per annual cycle, disbursed over a two-year period.
Stijn De Langhe, PhD
National Jewish Health
Proposal Title: "Role of Wnt and FGF Signaling in Alveolar Epithelial Regeneration After Bleomycin Injury"Dr. De Langhe is an Associate professor at National Jewish Health in Denver Colorado. He received his PhD in 2005 for his work on lung developmental biology under Dr. Saverio Bellusci. In 2007 he started his own lab at National Jewish Health. During this time his laboratory has focused on lung stem cell biology, lung development and regeneration after injury. His inquiries into the molecular mechanisms of lung development serve as a framework within which he seeks to identify ways to regenerate lungs that are suffering from devastating lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. De Langhe's work has demonstrated that adult lung stem cells hijack the pathways important for lung development to respond to injury. However, his work has also shown that when deregulated these pathways can also drive disease progression. This latter process is very well documented in cancer and Dr. De Langhe will use the funds associated with the Albert Rose Established Investigator Award to study how these processes affect the progression of pulmonary fibrosis.
Brian Zabel, PhD
Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research
Proposal Title: "Role of Chemerin and its Receptors in TGF-beta-induced Experimental Pulmonary Fibrosis"
This proposal is funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Dr. Zabel is a Senior Research Scientist at the Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research. Dr. Zabel received BS degrees in Biology and Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997 and a PhD in Immunology from Stanford University in 2004. His PhD thesis and postdoctoral work focused on the identification and characterization of novel white blood cell attractant chemerin and its receptors in homeostasis and inflammatory disease. Most recently, his laboratory, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, has focused on understanding the potential protective role of white blood cells in experimental models of pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Zabel is particularly interested in translational medicine, a pursuit fostered by the SPARK program (Stanford University) and various biotech industry interactions (LeukoSite, Inc., ChemoCentryx, Inc., CombImmune, Inc., and LakePharma, Inc.). Dr. Zabel holds seven patents, has published more than 35 peer-reviewed research papers, review articles, and book chapters, and is a recipient of the Hugh McDevitt Prize (2004). He is Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. He is married to Janet Zabel and they have one daughter, Madison (5).