Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Burnham Honors Postdoctoral Fellows

LA JOLLA, Calif. , October 16, 2009

(La Jolla, CA) - October 16, 2009 - Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) has announced that five of its postdoctoral research fellows have been honored with Fishman Fund Awards to recognize their commitment to basic biomedical research. The awardees received $5,000 grants to be used to further their education and career development.

From left: Dr. Fabian Filipp, Dr. Pilar Cejudo-Martin, philanthropist Malin Burnham, Dr. Nai-Ying Michelle Yang, Dr. Martin Denzel and Dr. Lars Pache
From left: Dr. Fabian Filipp, Dr. Pilar Cejudo-Martin, philanthropist Malin Burnham,
Dr. Nai-Ying Michelle Yang, Dr. Martin Denzel and Dr. Lars Pache

After earning their doctoral degrees, these researchers work closely with Burnham faculty and conduct the majority of the hands-on science. In turn, they learn by doing and receive critical insights from senior investigators. The experience they acquire will guide their future research.

The goal of the Fishman Award Fund is to provide an incentive for outstanding post-doctoral fellows to further their professional and career development as they advance their training and become accomplished scientists. The award winners were selected from 60 applicants based on the quality of their research and the breadth of their scientific vision. This is the eighth year the awards have been given.

These young scientists are working to understand fundamental biological processes which may yield new insights into cancer, mammalian development, heart disease, HIV and other conditions.

The 2009 Fishman Fund Award winners:

Pilar Cejudo-Martin received her Ph.D. from the Universitat de Barcelona. Dr. Cejudo-Martin works with Dr. Sara Courtneidge to understand the roles Tks4 and Tks5 proteins play in mammalian development. This work may also be applicable to Frank-Ter Haar syndrome, in which Tks4 is mutated and patients do not live beyond their teens.

Martin Denzel received his Ph.D., summa cum laude, from Dresden University. Dr. Denzel works with Dr. Barbara Ranscht to understand how different organs communicate with each other. Specifically, he is analyzing the cardiovascular role of adiponectin, a hormone secreted by fat tissue.

Fabian Filipp received his Ph.D. in biophysics from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the University of Heidelberg. Dr. Filipp works with Dr. Jeff Smith and uses magnetic resonance spectroscopy to take a “snapshot” of all metabolically active compounds in a cell. This novel approach identifies diagnostic markers for clinical use and suggests new drug targets for cancer therapies.

Lars Pache received his Ph.D. from the Freie Universität Berlin. Dr. Pache works with Dr. Sumit Chanda to develop improved treatments for HIV and influenza. The laboratory selectively silences cellular genes to determine how these genes aid or perturb viral infection. This work may eventually lead to new treatments for numerous pathogens.

Nai-Ying Michelle Yang received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Yang works with Dr. Elena Pasquale investigating Eph proteins in prostate and breast cancer. These proteins have been shown to promote or suppress tumor progression under different circumstances and understanding these processes could lead to new treatments.

About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration and stem cells, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs more than 1,000 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at

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