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Breakthroughs, the newsletter of the Feinberg School of Medicine Research Office


The newsletter of the Feinberg School of Medicine Research Office

How Research is Changing the Conversation about Obesity

In the last several years, anti-obesity medications have made an impression through wide media coverage and interest in their effectiveness. Celebrities and influencers on social media have touted their weight loss results. But the impact of these drugs is still yet to be realized as there are issues with access including insurance coverage, high costs, supply chain challenges, stigma and more.

Feinberg investigators have been leading research on these drugs for the treatment of obesity and advocating for access to these medications for the patients who need it most. 

Read the Feature

Celebrating 30 Years of the NIH Revitalization Act and Women's Health Research

The Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute hosted a “Breaking Barriers” panel discussion on January 19 at the Chicago healthcare incubator MATTER. The event celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the NIH Revitalization Act and its impact on women’s health research.

Read the full story

Faculty Profile

Supporting and Advancing Clinical and Translational Science at Northwestern

Nicole Woitowich, PhD, is executive director of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute and a research assistant professor of Medical Social Sciences. A trained biomedical scientist, her research focuses on the consideration of sex as a biological variable, the inclusion of women in the biomedical research workforce, and how these two components may be inextricably related.  

Read more about Woitowich


Staff Profile

Improving the Health of Sexual and Gender Minority Communities

Jagadīśa-devaśrī Dācus, PhD, is associate director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) and a research assistant professor at Feinberg. In his current role as associate director of ISGMH, Dācus draws on more than 20 years of professional experience in senior-level nonprofit organization and government agency leadership to guide the institute.

Read more about Dācus


Student Profile

Investigating Specialized Ribosomes during Poxvirus Infection

Natalia Khalatyan is a fourth-year PhD student in the Driskill Graduate Program. Having grown up with a curiosity for science, Khalatyan decided to pursue her bachelor’s in biochemistry at University of Illinois at Chicago. Now in the laboratory of Derek Walsh, PhD, professor of Microbiology-Immunology, Khalatyan investigates how cellular environments react to infection. 

Read more about Khalatyan


Campus Events

Mar 22

Dr. Ronald Schnaar - Johns Hopkins - Friday Noon Research Conference - Allergy and Immunology

Chicago - 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Mar 25

CDB Experts-in-the-field Seminar Series Presents: Mazhar Adli, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern

Chicago - 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Mar 25

Dr. Joshua Wechsler - Monday Noon Research Conference - Allergy and Immunology

Chicago - 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Mar 25

Lurie Cancer Center Research-In-Progress Seminar Series

Chicago - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Research in the News

The New York Times, January 31
Get Your Cholesterol in Check
John Wilkins, MD, was featured. 

NPR, January 29
Scientists Can Tell How Fast You Are Aging. Now, The Trick Is To Slow It Down
Douglas Vaughan, MD, was featured.  

USA Today, January 29
Americans Don't Sleep Enough. The Long-Term Effects Are Dire, Especially for Black People
Mercedes Carnethon, PhD, was featured.   

Check out More Media Coverage


An Institute with Impact

As you will read throughout this year’s Impact Report, NUCATS embraced change in 2023, seizing new opportunities for success. So too, did our NUCATS partners — the University’s schools, Northwestern Medicine, Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab — as each continued to collaborate on groundbreaking discoveries.

Read Impact Report


Sponsored Research

Synaptic Circuit Organization of Motor Cortex

  • PI: Gordon Shepherd, MD, PhD, professor of Neuroscience 

  • Sponsor: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke 

Read more about this project


Sponsored Research

Community Engagement: A Short Course to Optimize Research Endeavors (CE-SCORE)

  • MPI: Leah C. Neubauer, EdD, MA, CPH 

  • MPI: Gregory Phillips II, PhD 

  • Sponsor: National Institute on Drug Abuse 

Read more about this project

Breakthroughs Podcast

Strengthening T-Cell Therapy for Solid Tumor Cancers with Jae Choi, MD, PhD

A new study published in the journal Nature details breakthrough T-cell immunotherapy research from Northwestern Medicine. In this episode, Jaehyuk Choi, MD, PhD, senior author of the paper, explains how a gene mutation found in T-cells of patients with lymphoma could hold the key to a potent cancer-fighting immunotherapy for solid tumor cancers, which account for 90 percent of all cancers.

Listen to the podcast episode


New Faculty

Momen Wahidi, MD, MBA, joined in April as professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care. He also serves as the medical director of Canning Thoracic Institute and health system director of Interventional Pulmonology. Previously he was at Duke University Medical Center, where he led the Interventional Pulmonology program, and Duke Health System, where he held multiple leadership positions. Wahidi has published landmark studies in bronchoscopy and pleural diseases and contributed to evidence-based guidelines from prestigious national organizations such as NCCN, CHEST, ATS and AABIP. Wahidi is the past president of the American Association of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology (AABIP). 

Galter Library

Clarivate Analytics Announces 2023 Highly Cited Researchers

Each year, Clarivate Analytics releases a list of highly cited researchers who have “demonstrated significant and broad influence in their fields of research.” Twelve of these researchers are from Feinberg, and 38 total Northwestern investigators are included on this 2023 list and represent departments across the university. This year, Northwestern ranked 34th in the world for the number of highly cited researchers.  

Read the Full Story


High Impact Research

Gutman CK, Aronson PL, Singh NV, Pickett ML, Bouvay K, Green RS, Roach B, Kotler H, Chow JL, Hartford EA, Hincapie M, St Pierre-Hetz R, Kelly J, Sartori L, Hoffmann JA, Corboy JB, Bergmann KR, Akinsola B, Ford V, Tedford NJ, Tran TT, Gifford S, Thompson AD, Krack A, Piroutek MJ, Lucrezia S, Chung S, Chowdhury N, Jackson K, Cheng T, Pulcini CD, Kannikeswaran N, Truschel LL, Lin K, Chu J, Molyneaux ND, Duong M, Dingeldein L, Rose JA, Theiler C, Bhalodkar S, Powers E, Waseem M, Lababidi A, Yan X, Lou XY, Fernandez R, Lion KC, . Race, Ethnicity, Language, and the Treatment of Low-Risk Febrile Infants. JAMA Pediatrics. 2024; 178(1):55-64.

Huang X, Lee K, Wang MC, Shah NS, Perak AM, Venkatesh KK, Grobman WA, Khan SS. Maternal Nativity and Preterm Birth. JAMA Pediatrics. 2024; 178(1):65-72.

Huang Y, Braun R. Platform-independent estimation of human physiological time from single blood samples. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2024; 121(3):e2308114120-e2308114120.

Jackson VA, Emanuel L. Navigating and Communicating about Serious Illness and End of Life. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2024; 390(1):63-69.

Review More Publications

Featured Core

Clinical Research Unit

The NMH Clinical Research Unit (CRU) and CRU Core Lab are part of NUCATS Center for Clinical Research (CCR). The CRU supports Northwestern Medicine’s research mission by providing research specific nursing and laboratory services for the implementation of clinical trials and other clinical research, increasing their availability to participants. 

Learn more about the CRU

NIH News

Learning More About NIH Research Directions and How You Can Provide Input: Highlighting Autoimmune Disease Research 

The NIH often seeks feedback on various grant policies and initiatives broadly affecting the extramural research community. Many of NIH’s strategic plans are available on the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) site. They strongly recommend researchers review these strategic plans to learn about the varied research interests of NIH Institutes and Centers before applying. The plans share insights into their research directions, high priority initiatives and commentary from their leadership. Knowing this information will also help ensure that you are applying to an Institute or Center relevant for your area of research. The NIH appreciates the thoughtful comments provided. The input is invaluable to ensure the policies and programs NIH implements will continue moving forward to address the many issues facing biomedical research and public health.   

Carrying the Momentum Forward from a Year of Open Science in 2024 

Last year, NIH was one of the several federal agencies to join the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in their celebration of 2023 as the Year of Open Science. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has a long-standing commitment to provide access to research products and processes and aligns with the U.S. Government’s definition of open science. As the world’s largest biomedical library, NLM offers resources that play a critical role in facilitating access to biomedical and life sciences literature and data. Last year, NLM continued exploring opportunities to advance discovery and innovation through greater availability of NIH-funded research outputs. Beyond providing access to data, NLM continued to promote open science skill building. While the 2023 Year of Open Science may have come to a close, NLM’s work to advance a future for open science in service of biomedical discovery and human health continues into 2024 and beyond.  

Read the Latest from NIH

Funding Opportunities

Climate Impacts Awards: Unlocking urgent climate action. By making the health effects of climate change visible 

  • Sponsor: Wellcome Trust 
  • Deadline: April 3 
  • Upper amount: Up to $3 million for up to 3 years 

Cardiovascular Repository – Type 1 Diabetes (CARE-T1D) Consortium (U01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)  

  • Sponsor: NIH, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)  
  • Deadline: April 11 
  • Upper amount: Up to $600,000 per year for a maximum of 3 years 

Prostate Cancer Foundation 2024 Young Investigator Awards 

  • Sponsor: Prostate Cancer Foundation 
  • Deadline: April 15 
  • Upper amount: $75,000 each year for 3 years 

Research on Biophysical Factors of Social Connectedness and Isolation on Health, Wellbeing, Illness and Recovery (R01 Clinical Trials Not Allowed) 

  • Deadline: June 21 
  • Upper amount: Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual need of the proposed project 

Thank You For Reading

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Breakthroughs, the newsletter of the Feinberg School of Medicine Research Office