Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Recipients

2021 Pre‑Doctoral Summer Fellowship Awardees

The Pre-Doctoral Summer Fellowship Award Program encourages and fosters the next generation of researchers by cultivating interest in the cause and cure of scleroderma under the mentorship of an established scleroderma researcher.

The 2021 awards were named for Arnold Postlethwaite, MD, a distinguished scleroderma researcher and 22-year member of the Foundation’s Medical & Scientific Advisory Board, who passed away in January 2021.

The five 2021 Pre-Doctoral Summer Fellowship Awardees were:

Elizabeth Caves, Yale University, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Graduate Program: Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D. (complete April 2024)
Mentor: Valerie Horsley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Associated Professor of Dermatology
Project Title: Understanding the role of resident adipocyte fatty acids in dermal fibrosis

Wei Dong, University of Tennessee HSC, Department of Orthopedic Surgery and BME
Graduate Program: Integrated Biomedical Sciences (complete August 2021)
Mentor: Weikuan Gu, Ph.D.
Project Title: The potential role of β-Caryophyllene in the treatment of systemic sclerosis

Noelle Kosarek, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Department of Biomedical Data Science, Microbiology/Immunology
Graduate Program: Quantitative Biomedical Sciences (complete June 2023)
Mentors: Michael L. Whitfield, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of Biomedical Data Science, Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology and Patricia Pioli, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Project Title: Using Single Cell RNA-sequencing to Elucidate the Mechanisms of Fibrosis in a Systemic Sclerosis 3D Human Tissue Model

Joe Mouawad, Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Medicine
Graduate Program: Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathology (complete June 2023)
Mentor: Carol Feghali-Bostwick, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, and SmartState® and Kitty Trask Holt Endowed Chair for Scleroderma Research, Division of Rheumatology & Immunology
Project Title: The Role of Extracellular Vesicles in the Propagation of Scleroderma-Associated Lung Fibrosis

Helen Warheit-Niemi, University of Michigan, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Graduate Program: Microbiology and Immunology (complete August 2022)
Mentor: Bethany Moore, Ph.D., Chair, Microbiology & Immunology, Nancy Williams Walls, Ph.D. Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Project Title: Dissecting the role of neutrophil


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