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Meet the 2023 Distinguished Research Trainee Award Recipients

Published on May 8, 2023 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 7 months 1 week ago
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Distinguished Research Trainee Award Recipients

Four researchers-in-training received the biennial Distinguished Research Trainee Awards.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute regularly celebrates trainees with many programs dedicated to recognizing the accomplishments of trainees of all levels. The biennial Distinguished Research Trainee Awards provide institution-wide recognition for exceptional CHOP Research trainees, giving mentors the opportunity to spotlight the work of their up-and-coming investigators. This year, the Research Trainee Advisory Committee selected four Distinguished Research Trainees out of 13 nominations across a variety of scientific disciplines. Each of the winners was honored and presented flash talks about their work at CHOP Research Poster Day and Scientific Symposium. Read on to learn about the awardees and their research.

Christopher Gaw, MD, MBE

Christopher Gaw, MD, MBE

Christopher Gaw, MD, MBE

Physician-fellow, Division of Emergency Medicine

Research Mentor: Daniel Corwin, MD

Dr. Gaw is dedicated to advancing knowledge surrounding child injuries and mortality, particularly with respect to poisonous substances and consumer products. His research recently began to address the opioid epidemic's effect on infants and young children, for which he currently has three active projects. He already serves as a mentor to younger trainees on toxicology projects, has written commentaries, and has served as an independent peer reviewer.

"Dr. Gaw is destined to become a leader in the field of pediatric emergency medicine and toxicology," Dr. Corwin wrote in his nomination. "His contributions to this institution is deserving of recognition, and I cannot think of a trainee more qualified for this award."

Emma Sartin, PhD, MPH

Emma Sartin, PhD, MPH

Emma Sartin, PhD, MPH

Postdoctoral fellow, Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Research Mentor: Allison Curry, PhD, MPH

Dr. Sartin's research interests lie in improving health outcomes and equity for at-risk and vulnerable populations, and she recently received a K99/R00 grant to study racial and ethnic disparities in child passenger safety. Throughout her trainee career, she published 18 scientific papers, including 11 as first author. Since 2019, she received five grants as principal investigator or co-PI from several sources totaling $1.75 million. She is involved in several international collaborations, teaches at the University of Pennsylvania Master of Public Health program, and mentors masters' projects.

"Dr. Sartin's intense passion for improving health and well-being — specifically among vulnerable populations — strong work ethic, independence, ambition, and drive will ensure a long, meaningful career as a public health researcher," Dr. Curry wrote in her nomination.

Ashley Robbins

Ashley Robbins

Ashley Robbins

Graduate student, University of Pennsylvania Neuroscience Graduate Group

Research Mentor: Beverly Davidson, PhD

Robbins' research focuses on neurodegenerative disorders, including spinocerebellar ataxia and Huntington's Disease, specifically using single cell technology to understand the biological basis of these disorders. Robbins is responsible for implementing single cell technology to Dr. Davidson's lab. She has co-authored seven papers and received numerous awards, including aHoward Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship nomination and a professional development award from the Society for Neuroscience. She is also passionate about mentoring high school students and students from smaller colleges and universities.

"Already, Ashley's findings have shed new light on how some neurons in the brain are protected and others are not, a stunning result that will guide the future of brain gene therapies," Dr. Davidson wrote in her nomination.

K. Taylor Wild, MD

K. Taylor Wild, MD

K. Taylor Wild, MD

Physician-fellow, Divisions of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Medical Genetics and Genomics

Research Mentor: Ian Krantz, MD

Dr. Wild's research focuses on the genetic and genomic contributions to neonatal conditions and congenital anomalies, with a particular focus on congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). She established a cohort of patients with CDH and identified a novel mechanism behind the disorder. This work is serving as the basis for similar cohorts with other congenital anomalies. She has published 18 papers as a trainee, include 13 as first author.

"Dr. Wild has been able to establish a clinical research niche for herself at the interface of neonatology and genetics — something she is uniquely qualified to do — and will be extremely successful in that role," Dr. Krantz wrote in his nomination.