Colton Family Scholars

In addition to providing funding for established investigators, the Colton Center provides support for outstanding junior scientists, designated as the Colton Family Scholars. For 2017-2018, the Colton Family Scholar is Ashira Blazer, MD.

Dr. Blazer studies the interplay between the chronic inflammation of lupus and two recently discovered cytokine-responsive polymorphisms in the Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene which have been associated with both atherosclerosis and renal disease in African Americans. In a deeply translational approach, Dr. Blazer has mined clinical data in over 300 SLE patients of African ancestry both seen at NYU and at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana, and compared this across genotype with regard to serum markers of atherosclerotic disease, renal progression, and cytokine profile. In parallel, upon treating primary endothelial cell cultures with SLE-relevant stimuli including interferons and toll like receptor agonists, she has observed APOL1 variant dependent defects in autophagy and resultant cellular toxicity. With this approach, she is helping to unearth ways in which these common genetic variants contribute to organ damage in African SLE patients—a population long known to experience excess morbidity and mortality. Dr. Blazer has been awarded a Rheumatology Research Foundation Scientist Development Award and an NIH KL2 in support of this work.

Previous Colton Family Scholars

The following researchers were selected as Colton Family Scholars.

2016-2017

Lea Ann Chen, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine
Project title:  IBD, immunosuppression, and the microbiome

Adam Mor, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology
Project title:  Novel mechanisms regulating pd-1 signaling in cancer and autoimmunity

2015-2016

Adam Mor, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology
Project title: Pd-1 signaling in SLE; rap1 in psoriatic arthritis

Johannes Nowatzky, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine
Project title: Tregs in autoimmune diseases

2014-2015

Lea Ann Chen, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine
Project title: IBD, immunosupression, and microbiome

Adam Mor, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology
Project title: PD1 signaling in SLE; rap1 in psoriatic arthritis

Johannes Nowatzky, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine
Project title: Tregs in autoimmune diseases

2013-2014

Adam Mor, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology
Project title: Rap1 signaling in autoimmune T lymphocytes

Jennifer Philips, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pathology, and Microbiology
Project title: Mycobacterial manipulation of immune responses: understanding why the body cannot defend itself against tuberculosis

Bo Shopsin, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology
Project title: Transmission of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Ilseung Cho, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine
Project title: Microbial modulation of oral anticoagulation

2012-2013

David J. Araten, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine
Project title: Development of a novel assay for induced mutagenesis in mice

Sumathi Sivapalasingam, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine
Project title: Enhancing vaginal defenses to reduce the risk of HIV infection

Michael D. Weiden, MD, Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Environmental Medicine
Project title: Lung microbiome in health and disease