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Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine receives $10 million endowment gift

MANHASSET, NY —

The Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine at Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has announced a new $10 million endowed gift from the Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation. This gift will provide students with salary stipends and help attract and recruit renowned talent to the school. The Elmezzi Foundation previously supported the school with an initial $15 million donation, which named it in 2007. The Elmezzi School, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, held its 2019 Commencement Exercises and presented two honorary degrees on May 23.

The Elmezzi School is a PhD program for physicians who wish to pursue careers in biomedical research. The school provides academic training of physicians committed to discovering the causes of human disease and translating research into diagnostic and therapeutic solutions, with an emphasis on translational biomedical research that can move quickly from laboratory work bench to patient bedside. Elmezzi students conduct research in Feinstein Institute laboratories, and upon graduation, those who complete their dissertation studies receive the Doctor of Philosophy, Molecular Medicine degree.

“For centuries, young physicians faced frustration when unable to help a suffering patient,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute. “The Elmezzi Foundation’s generous gift provides an essential path enabling young physicians to turn to science and discover desperately needed missing cures.”

Elmezzi graduates make an impact

To date, 35 Elmezzi graduates are working in the United States and eight other nations across three continents. Their work has been recorded in more than 500 research papers, which have been accepted for publication in many of the world’s most prestigious medical and scientific journals. In addition, graduates have received 23 U.S. Utility Patents and 13 grants from the National Institutes of Health.

“We have seen how Elmezzi alumni make an impact on the scientific and health communities they serve,” said Annette T. Lee, PhD, dean of the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine and associate professor at the Feinstein Institute. “Thanks to the Elmezzi Foundation and its support, we will be able to expand our enrollment and make an even larger impact on healthcare across the globe.”

During commencement exercises, students who completed their dissertation studies were granted the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Molecular Medicine. This year, five graduate students received their degrees:

  • Joaquin Cagliani, MD, for his research on immunology and hemorrhagic shock with a specific emphasis on the molecular mechanisms of the innate immune response
  • Gavin Imperato, MD, for his studies on neural control of inflammation and adaptive immunity, focusing on the development of novel bioelectronic therapies that modulate the immune system
  • Muhammad Khan, MD, for his focus on developing microRNA therapeutics which can circumvent therapeutic resistance emanating from heterogeneity in brain cancer
  • Adam Kressel, MD, for his research on utilizing optogenetic techniques to explore the interaction between the nervous and immune systems
  • Gopal Kumar, MD, for his efforts to study effect of magnesium deficiency on kidney injury caused by the anti-cancer drug cisplatin, and how magnesium deficiency promotes migration of cancer cells by increasing intracellular calcium.

Gift supports Northwell’s endowment program

Along with celebrating and recognizing this year’s graduates, honorary degrees – Candidate for Degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa – were given to two researchers who advanced biomedical research and improved medical treatment for patients; Timothy Billiar, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery, and associate medical director at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Levi Garraway, MD, PhD, senior vice president of global development and medical affairs at Lilly Oncology, Eli Lilly and Company.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of the Elmezzi Graduate School alumni all of whom are making significant contributions to a better understanding of human disease,” said Jose Rivero, chairman and president of the Elmezzi Foundation. “The additional endowment gift will allow the school to become a global magnet for training promising doctors in translational medicine and we are excited about the potential for generational impact.”

The Elmezzi Foundation’s gift supports Northwell’s endowment program, which is part of its $1 billion Outpacing the Impossible fundraising campaign launched in October 2018. Endowments provide continued financial resources for designated positions and programs. Endowment dollars are invested and pay out a percentage of the value each year, which sustain the important research and academic activity of key leadership and faculty. The original gift and any investment returns above the payout amount each year help endowments to grow over time and provide continuous support in perpetuity.

To learn how philanthropy supports innovation at Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute, visit https://give.northwell.edu/feinstein-institutes-medical-research.

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