YU Undergraduates Conduct Biomedical Research

Front Row (L-R): Esther Flaschner, Malkie Krupka, Reina Roth, Leora Cohn, Debbie Rybak, and Pesi Porat. Back Row (L-R): Yedidya Saiman, Pouyan Gohari, Ian Baine, Elie Portnoy, and Elliot Levine.

Aug 25, 2004 — Yedidya Saiman hopes his research in intercellular communication will help scientists better understand how we function. He and 10 other Yeshiva University (YU) undergraduates spent nine weeks this summer investigating causes and treatments of ailments including Alzheimer’s disease, Myoclunus-Dystonia, and multiple sclerosis under the tutelage of top biomedical scientists at the university’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Mr. Saiman, Esther Flaschner, Pouyan Gohari, Malkie Krupka, Pesi Porat, Elie Portnoy, Reina Roth, Leora Cohn, and Debbie Rybak were 2004 Roth Institute Scholars for Undergraduate Summer Research, sponsored by the Ernst and Hedwig Roth Institute of Biomedical Science Education at YU in New York City. In addition, Ian Baine and Elliot Levine conducted research at Einstein as University Summer Research Scholars. The annual programs seek to enhance the educational experience of biology and science majors at YU’s Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women.

Mr. Gohari, a biology and chemistry major at Yeshiva College, studied protein interactions that promote the survival of myelin-producing cells in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. His work focused on how the survival of these cells could affect treatment for multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases. “After participating in the Roth program, I am certain that I want to become a doctor and concentrate on research,” Mr. Gohari said.

Leora Cohn, a biology major at Stern College for Women, studied velo-cardio-facial syndrome, a genetic disease that causes craniofacial and cardiac defects, and often mental retardation. Ms. Cohn’s task was to identify proteins connected to the gene causing this syndrome and how their interaction with this gene may cause abnormal development. “It is exciting to think that the research in which I was involved may help scientists understand new concepts and hopefully one day help provide a cure for genetic disease,” she said.

The students hail from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

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