Sam Horng, MD, PhD, and PGY3 resident in the Department of Neurology has been approved for funding under the Mount Sinai R25 Research Residency Program. The Program provides mentoring and dedicated time set aside for research during residency and fellowship years.
Dr. Horng, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will study the role of astrocytic mechanisms of lesion limitation relevant to multiple sclerosis (MS) alongside his mentor, Dr. Gareth John, Associate Professor and Head of the John Multiple Sclerosis Research Laboratory at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai. The John Laboratory explores the mechanisms that control lesion formation and repair in inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Explained Dr. John, “Our work focuses on identifying new therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune demyelinating disease of the brain and spinal cord that is the most common nontraumatic cause of paralysis in young adults in the US.”
Dr. Horng explained his rationale for pursuing his residency in neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, “The Mount Sinai Department of Neurology is a proven national leader with a translational-research focused presence. The Research Residency Program allows me to pursue my neurology research interests while working collaboratively with Dr. John and his laboratory’s other talented neuroscientists.”
Dr. Horng is particularly interested in the John Laboratory’s research that explores how cells gain entry into the brain and cause damage. One mechanism by which this process is mediated involves reactive astrocytes, the resident supporting cells of the CNS.
Explained Dr. John, “A wide range of inflammatory neurologic diseases—from multiple sclerosis (MS) to neuromyelitis optica, and viral encephalitis—involve entry of inflammatory cells and soluble factors, such as autoantibodies, into the brain parenchyma,” added Dr. John “Previous research has focused largely on breakdown of the blood brain barrier (BBB), a layer formed by the vascular endothelium, as the primary barrier through which inflammatory factors and cells gain entry into and damage the brain. ”
According to Stuart Sealfon, MD, Glickenhaus Professor and Chairman of Neurology, “The Research Residency Program at Mount Sinai is unique in that it pairs the clinician-scientist with the wealth of research opportunities available both within the department and throughout the larger institution. We are very proud of Sam and his development as a neurologist-scientist. We also recognize the contributions of his mentor, Dr. Gareth John, and his advisory committee who have worked with him since his arrival at Mount Sinai and will continue to collaborate on his research direction and career development.”
Dr. Sealfon is the director of Mount Sinai’s Center for Translational Systems Biology. Additionally, he is both Professor of Neurobiology and Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics. He has made important contributions to research on receptor structure, cell signaling, mechanisms of drug specificity and systems biology.
Fred Lublin, MD, Saunders Family Professor of Neurology and Director of the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis described the Research Residency Program this way: “The Program is specifically designed to mentor residents with an interest in research, and to encourage them to discover new ways to diagnose, treat, prevent, and cure diseases of the nervous system. Drs. John and Horng will surely continue to contribute to the body of research developed here at Mount Sinai—and will change the lives of people living with MS and other inflammatory CNS disorders.”