Alavi-Dabiri Postdoctoral Fellowship Award

The Alavi-Dabiri Postdoctoral Fellowship Award was established in 1997 and is supported by an endowment fund through the generosity of Drs. Abass and Jane Alavi. The goals of this award are to support a young investigator who has demonstrated excellence in research related to intellectual and developmental disabilities and to honor Mr. Ramin Dabiri, nephew of the Alavis who was born with a disability, as well as Ramin’s parents, Maryam Alavi and John Dabiri.

We annually solicit all IDDRC users to nominate potential recipients. Individuals with a PhD, MD, DVM or combined degree are eligible. For more information, please contact Kristen Pidgeon at

The IDDRC is currently accepting applications for this award until Friday, September 2nd. Please contact Kristen for an application and requirements.

Olga Zelenaia, PhD, Pharmacology
Mentor: Michael B. Robinson, PhD
Project Title: “Regulation of Glutamate Transporter GLT-1”

Rodney Guttman, PhD, Pharmacology
Mentor: David Lynch, MD, PhD
Project Title: “Regulation of NMDA Receptor Function by the Calcium-Dependent Protease Calpain”

Deborah Watson, PhD, Pathobiology
Mentor: John Wolfe, VMD, PhD
Project Title: “Lentiviral Vectors for Therapeutic Gene Transfer to the Central Nervous System in the Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII Mouse Model of Mental Retardation”

Lee Ligon, PhD, Veterinary Medicine
Mentor: Erika Holzbaur, PhD
Project Title: “Drosophila as a Model System for Lissencephaly”

Gregory Carlson, PhD, Neurology
Mentor: Douglas Coulter, PhD
Project Title: “Role of the Limbic System in Autism and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders”

Ginam Cho, PhD, Neuropathology
Mentor: Jeffrey Golden, MD
Project Title: “Development of a Mouse Model for Mental Retardation by Engineering Transgenic Mice Conditionally Deleted for lis1 in a Restricted area of the Neocortex”

Sara Sarabi, PhD, Pharmacology
Mentor: James Eberwine, PhD
Project Title: “Differential Regulation of Neural Stem Cell Specific Genes”

Marco Gonzalez, PhD, Pharmacology
Mentor: Michael B. Robinson, PhD
Project Title: “Regulation of the Glutamate receptor, EAAC1, by Protein Kinase C”

Joel Bish, PhD, Child Development
Mentor: Tony Simon, PhD
Project Title: “Cognitive and Functional Neuroimaging Investigation of Executive Control Dysfunction in Children with Chromosome 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome”

Eric Marsh, MD, PhD, Neurology
Mentor: Amy Brooks-Kayal, MD
Project Title: “Gene Expression Profiling during Non-radial Migration in the Developing Mouse Cortex”

Sabrina Smith, MD, PhD, Neurology
Mentor: Anjan Chatterjee, MD
Project Title: “Characterization of Spatial Neglect and Language in Children Following Focal Brain Injury”

Marcelo Wood, PhD, Biology
Mentor: Ted Abel, PhD
Project Title: “The Use of HDAC Inhibitors to Ameliorate Memory Deficits and Developmental Abnormalities in a Mouse Model of Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome”

Jerome Swinny, PhD, Pediatrics
Mentor: Rita Valentino, PhD
Project Title: “The Role of Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein in Locus Coeruleus Neuronal Development and Function: Possible Interactions with Stress Related Corticotropin Releasing Factor Proteins and Rho GTPases”

Jinglan Liu, PhD, Genetics
Mentor: Ian Krantz, MD
Project Title: “Genome Wide Study to Identify Downstream Targets of Cohesin Regulation in Cornelia de Lange Syndrome”

Enrico Danzer, MD, Surgery
Mentor: Alan Flake, MD
Project Title: “Metabolite Profile and Brain-Specific Proteins in Amniotic Fluid as Predictors of Severity of Spinal Cord Injury in Fetal Rats with Retinoic Acid Induced Myelomeningocele”

Matthew Deardorff, MD, PhD, Genetics
Mentor: Ian Krantz, MD
Project Title: “The Cohesin Complex and Mental Retardation”

Kai Wang, PhD, Genetics
Mentor: Maja Bucan, PhD
Project Title: “Copy Number Variation in Mental Retardation Genes”

Tae-Ju Park, PhD, Pathology
Mentor: Tom Curran, PhD
Project Title: “Study of Reelin Signaling in Brain Development and Neuropsychiatric Disorders”

James Munoz, PhD, Neuroscience
Mentor: Matthew Dalva, PhD
Project Title: “Ephrin-B/EphB signaling controls migration of neural progenitor cells”

Darren Goffin, PhD, Genetics
Mentor: Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, PhD
Project Title: “Role of MeCP2 in GABAergic Interneurons”

Lauren Beslow, MD, Neurology
Mentor: Rebecca Ichord, MD
Project Title: “Optical Measurement of Cerebral Hemodynamics in Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke”

Joshua Jackson, PhD, Pediatrics
Mentor: Michael B. Robinson, PhD
Project Title: “Regulation of Mitochondrial Mobility in Astrocytes”

Julia Parish-Morris, PhD, Pediatrics
Mentor: Benjamin Yerys, PhD
Project Title: “A Dimensional Approach to Attention Deficits in Autism and ADHD”

Elizabeth Bhoj, MD, PhD, Pediatrics
Mentor: Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD
Project Title: “Enriched Novel Gene Discovery of Syndromic Neurodevelopmental Syndromes”

Nicola Grissom, PhD, Pharmacology
Mentor: Teresa Reyes, PhD
Project Title: “Interaction between Prenatal and Postnatal Diet in a Mouse Model of Attention Deficit”

Matthew Kayser, MD, PhD, Neuroscience
Mentor: Amita Sehgal, PhD
Project Title: “Mechanism and function for early life sleep in promoting brain maturation”

Duygu Kuzum, PhD, Neurology
Mentor: Brian Litt, MD
Project Title: “Transparent Neural Probes for Mapping of Brain Circuits”

Rebecca Ahrens-Nicklas, MD, PhD
Mentors: Eric Marsh, MD, PhD and Beverly Davidson, PhD
Project Title: “Electrophysiologic Consequences of Inborn Errors of Metabolism”