Announcing the 2016-2018 James T. Lubin Clinician-Scientist Fellowship Awards

Powell, OH (April 14, 2016) – The Transverse Myelitis Association is pleased to announce that our Board of Directors have approved two TMA James T. Lubin Fellowship Award recipients this year, Dr. Elena Grebenciucova and Dr. Cynthia Wang. Dr. Elena Grebenciucova will receive clinical and research training under the mentorship of Dr. Brenda Banwell at the Perelman School of Medicine of The University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Cynthia Wang will be mentored by Dr. Benjamin Greenberg at The University of Texas Southwestern and Children’s Health.

The James T. Lubin Clinician Scientist Fellowship Award supports up to two years of clinical care and research training in an environment where clinicians learn to use the most current scientific tools to treat and advance knowledge about rare neuro-immune disorders, that include TM, AFM, ADEM, NMOSD, and ON. After completing the program, Fellows are prepared for a combined clinical and research career in academic medicine, directing robust research programs important to rare neuro-immune disorders.

Dr. Grebenciucova received her medical degree from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She then completed a neurology residency at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Grebenciucova has been interested in autoimmune disorders of the central nervous system, including rare neuro-immune disorders, since medical school. She hopes “…to be able to study how clinical features at the time of presentation and over the course of the disease, as well as their biochemical and radiological correlates can be used to prognosticate patients’ motor outcomes and predict future relapses.” “We are very grateful for the support provided by the TMA. Training top clinician-researchers is an essential step towards accelerating research and to improvements in care for individuals with TM. Our program at UPenn specifically addresses the impact of TM in children and adults, in order to understand the needs of all patients, even the youngest infants,” shared Dr. Brenda Banwell, Professor and Chief of Neurology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Wang received her medical degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and completed a pediatrics and pediatric neurology residency at Mott Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Wang’s goal “…is to work in an academic setting to provide excellent clinical care to children with demyelinating disorders and engage in clinical and translational research that will lead to therapeutic advancements in this field.” Dr. Benjamin Greenberg, Associate Professor and Director of the TM and NMO and Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Program at UTSW shared, “We are excited to have Dr. Wang join our team at UT Southwestern and Children’s Health here in Dallas. The support from the TMA is incredible and makes it possible for us to train future specialists and expand both our clinical care and research programs. Dr. Wang’s involvement in the clinic and focus on ADEM research will benefit many and we are grateful to all of those in the TMA community who made it possible.” Her research study is a prospective, longitudinal study on acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) to identify the clinical characteristics, treatment methods, and follow-up interventions that are associated with better and worse patient-centered outcomes.

The TMA is thrilled to have Dr. Wang and Dr. Grebenciucova as the James T. Lubin Fellows; they are both exceptional physicians and will ultimately make a tremendous difference for our community.  They will be trained as clinicians and researchers over the next two years by leaders in the rare neuro-immune discipline.  Under the mentorships of Dr. Benjamin Greenberg and Dr. Brenda Banwell, respectively, we know that they will receive the best training.  There is nothing that I am more proud of than the James T. Lubin Fellowship – and in my mind, this is one of the most important programs that we support.  Through this fellowship, we make available the best possible clinical care to the people in our community, we facilitate the opportunity for critical research, and we develop teachers who can motivate this passion in their students to pursue this important discipline.  It is so fitting that this fellowship is named to honor Jim Lubin.  He is a remarkable human being.  He has been a full quad and vent dependent going on 27 years.  In spite of his challenges, he has made the most profound contributions to the people who have these rare disorders and their families.

Sandy Siegel, President and Founder of The TMA

For more information about the James T. Lubin Fellowship, please visit: https://myelitis.org/shaping-the-future/our-programs/james-t-lubin-fellowship

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