On June 15, Wistar hosted a hybrid event naming this year’s Ching Jer Chern Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow and bestowing the Ching Jer Chern Memorial Awards, honoring the commitment of the Chern family to advancing scientific careers. The ceremony was attended by Mrs. June Chern and other members of the family.
Established in 2016, the Ching Jer Chern Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship provides two years in partial salary to an excellent, early-stage, international postdoctoral fellow at The Wistar Institute. Dr. Abdurrahman Elbasir, a postdoctoral researcher in the Auslander Lab, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious fellowship. Elbasir’s research includes leveraging artificial intelligence to identify viruses related to cancer.
Previous 2020 Chern Fellow Dr. Leila Giron presented an update on her work investigating microbial translocation in the gut related to long-COVID. Giron is now a staff scientist in the Abdel-Mohsen Lab.
Two Ching Jer Chern Memorial Awardees were also recognized at this event. This award was established by June Chern in 1989 to honor her late husband Dr. Ching Jer Chern, who was a member of Wistar’s scientific staff from 1974 until his death from cancer in 1987. Co-recipients Dr. Samson Adeniji of the Abdel- Mohsen Lab and Dr. Phillip Wulfridge of the Sarma Lab were both honored for their authorship of the best scientific papers published during the year.
Adeniji’s manuscript focused on protein mechanisms underpinning how HIV infected cells evade immune surveillance and hopes to use this knowledge to harness multiple immune cells and target virus infected cells in the future. Wulfridge’s publication described a novel method of characterizing interactors with R-loops which play roles in cell processes like gene regulation and are associated with DNA damage and diseases like cancer.
“We are appreciative of the Chern family for spearheading awards like this for our Wistar trainees. We hope to continue to celebrate the excellent research the trainees are doing now to honor the memory of Dr. Ching Jer Chern,” said Dr. Kristy Shuda McGuire, Wistar’s dean of Biomedical Studies and chair of the Wistar Training Committee.