The Department of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine is committed to training and supporting outstanding scholars who intend to pursue an academic research career.
The Van Poznak Anesthesiology Research Scholarship provides structure and support to enable our scholars to establish a strong research foundation and develop into independent investigators. We seek to recruit and train scholars who will continue to advance the field of anesthesiology and will ultimately go on to become leaders in their fields of interest. The Van Poznak Anesthesiology Research Scholarship is distinguished by a high level of attention and investment dedicated to the development of individual scholars, a rich diversity of research opportunities across multiple institutions, and a 100% funding success rate for program graduates.
Traditional 4-year residency program with up to 9 months of built-in research time. The specific allotment of research time is negotiable (e.g. 1-2 weeks or one month at a time) and is tailored to a scholar’s individual academic and clinical needs.
Research or clinical fellowship during PGY5 year.
Junior faculty year during PGY6 includes 60-80% protected research time, dependent on intra- or extra-mural funding.
In addition to their selected research mentors, scholars have access to clinical and professional mentors, with regular individual check-ins as well as formal Van Poznak quarterly group meetings to discuss research support (e.g. IRB, grants, and manuscript writing) and professional development (e.g. poster and podium presentations, networking opportunities, etc).
Finally, the Van Poznak program hosts a monthly Van Poznak Research Seminar (VaPoRS) which is open to the community and highlights work done by current and former scholars, as well as by other research faculty in the department.
The Van Poznak Anesthesiology Research Scholarship is headed by a team of dedicated clinician-researchers:
In addition to former scholars who are now members of our faculty, there are numerous other faculty at Weill Cornell Medicine and our affiliate institutions that are also actively involved with the scholars program, including:
There are extensive resources and support structures in place that are available to scholars throughout their residency and post-graduate careers, including:
All applicants for the Van Poznak Anesthesiology Research Scholarship must apply through ERAS for a regular anesthesia residency position at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Candidates wishing to apply for the scholarship should send a brief description (1-2 pages) of their research background and experience to the Residency Program Director, Dr. Eric Brumberger (E-mail: email@example.com).
Van Poznak Research Scholarship interviews will be offered as a supplement to the standard residency interviews, as applicants will have an extended interview day with scholarship administrators, current and former scholars, and other research faculty. The Van Poznak Research Scholarship is a rankable NRMP match and decisions for acceptance will be extended through the Match.
Richard Boyer, MD, PhD
PGY6, Instructor (Former Thoracic Anesthesiology Fellow)
Dr. Boyer is an instructor in anesthesiology and a Van Poznak Research Scholar in the Department of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine. A graduate in biomedical engineering from John Hopkins University, he attended the Medical Scientist Training Program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he completed his PhD studies in biomedical engineering. He completed his residency in anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also currently a postdoctoral associate at Cornell Tech where he is developing artificial intelligence software for perioperative risk stratification.
Jyun-You Liou, MD, PhD
PGY5, Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellow
Dr. Liou is interested in understanding how anesthetic agents change neural circuit dynamics. By studying patterns of neuronal activity under various depths of anesthesia, he aims to better understand cognition and consciousness. He received his MD from National Taiwan University and PhD at Columbia University, where he worked with Drs. Larry Abbott and Catherine Schevon studying epileptic brains. At NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, he collaborated with Dr. Theodore Schwartz from the Department of Neurosurgery and Dr. Alipasha Vaziri from Rockefeller University to study anesthetic-induced neural dynamics in transgenic animals. Currently, he is a pediatric anesthesiology fellow at the University of Washington, where he studies brain dynamics under anesthesia via intracranial electrodes. In the future, he is looking for opportunities to reunite with the Cornell family to pursue his passion in anesthetics and neurophysiology
Dr. Liou grew up in a subtropical country and had never seen snow before he came to New York. He, however, still has not learned how to ski.
Awards and Recent Publications:
- Mitchell Alan Ross Prize (2021)
Joseph Scarpa, Jr, MD, PhD
CA2-PGY3 (Class of 2023)
Dr. Scarpa develops and applies machine learning methods to better understand complex systems, from gene networks to health care systems. His work focuses on the application of biotechnology, genomics, and the digital universe to clinical practice, and includes contributions to the understanding of sleep regulation, stress susceptibility, addiction, and neurodegenerative disease. He is interested in better ways to monitor and model patients and disease to optimize perioperative care, and he is currently exploring the molecular effect of anesthetics in diseases like cancer, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Scarpa received his MD and PhD from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he supported by the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F30). He is also a Truman National Security Fellow and FASPE Fellow for Medical Ethics, focusing on the sociopolitical impact and ethical challenges of artificial intelligence. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia Scarpa, MD, PhD
CA2-PGY3 (Class of 2023)
Dr. Scarpa seeks to develop a better understanding of cerebrovascular physiology under duress, in particular during operative stress and during spaceflight. She studies how pre-existing medical comorbidities and autonomic dysfunction affect perioperative hemodynamic stability and outcomes, and uses this model as an Earth-based analog for studying the effects of spaceflight-induced autonomic changes on cerebrovascular physiology. She is interested in developing medical contingencies for both space tourism and mission-based spaceflight. To this end, she is also interested in developing and validating devices that can be used to monitor physiology remotely. Dr. Scarpa has a background in neuroprosthetics and neuromonitoring -- her doctoral work focused on cortical decoding in a rodent model of neuroprothestic use, examining how the cortex responds to sensory stimuli while awake and while under anesthesia and how the cortex rewires during learning. This work was supported by an NIH F30 award, and she received her MD and PhD from New York University School of Medicine.
Dr. Scarpa hails from Northern Italy and grew up in the D.C. area. She loves living in New York City with her husband and two children, where she enjoys spending time in the many unique spaces within Central Park, including the zoo, the ramble, and the lake.
Scarpa J, Wu CL. The role for regional anesthesia in medical emergencies during deep space flight. Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2021; 0: 1-4. doi:10.1136/rapm-2021-102710
Tommer N, et al. Lateralization of subcortical functional connectivity during and after general anesthesia. Br J Anaesth. 2021; Epub ahead of print.
Andrew Milewski, MD, PhD
CA1-PGY2 (Class of 2024)
Dr. Milewski aims to better characterize the human rights abuses suffered by refugees and asylum applicants in the hopes of improving treatment modalities for survivors of torture. He is also interested in optimizing the information that anesthesia providers can extract from data streams intraoperatively, improving monitoring technology, and applying tools from dynamical systems theory to enhance our understanding of the anesthetized state. Before joining the Weill Cornell Medicine residency program, Dr. Milewski completed his training through the Weill Cornell Medicine/The Rockefeller University/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program. His graduate work focused on understanding robust signal processing by mechanosensory hair bundles in Jim Hudspeth's lab at The Rockefeller University, at which time he was supported by the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F30). Dr. Milewski also served as the Co-Executive Director of the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights and Co-Chair of the Physicians for Human Rights National Student Advisory Board during his graduate studies. Contact: email@example.com.
Daniel Cook, MD
Dr. Cook seeks to better understand the molecular mechanisms driving neurotransmitter release in the central nervous system (CNS) and how anesthetic agents alter synaptic physiology. As the target organ of general anesthesia is the brain, a deeper understanding of CNS physiology at the molecular level and its disruption by anesthesia could lead to improvements in drug design and help elucidate the neural processes underlying consciousness.
Dr. Cook began his work in the Edwin H. Steele Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital under Rakesh Jain, PhD to develop a video-rate, multiphoton microscope for in-vivo cancer biology research. As a medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College, he studied the effects of volatile anesthesia on neurotransmitter release and the role of presynaptic calcium channel subtypes with Hugh C. Hemmings Jr., MD, PhD.
As a Van Poznak Scholar, he continued his research in synaptic physiology and its regulation by anesthetic drugs with Timothy Ryan, PhD, exploiting new technologies in microscopy and genetic optical tools that reveal neuronal activity.
Peter M. Fleischut, MD
Dr. Peter Fleischut is currently senior vice president and chief transformation officer at NewYork-Presbyterian.
A graduate of Jefferson Medical College and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Fleischut completed his residency training in anesthesiology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He joined NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in 2006 and has held many roles since then, including: medical director of the operating rooms, deputy quality patient safety officer, founding director of the Center for Perioperative Outcomes, chief medical information officer, chief medical operating officer and vice chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Fleischut retains his appointment as associate professor of anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine.
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Andrew Hudson, MD, PhD
Dr. Andrew Hudson has a long standing research interest in the neural substrates of consciousness. His doctoral work focused on the effects of attention on the encoding of visual information in extrastriate cortex of awake behaving macaques with Keith Purpura and Jonathan Victor. Also, while in graduate school, he helped developed a non-human primate model of the effects of deep brain stimulation on arousal networks with Nicholas Schiff. After completion of the van Poznak Scholarship, Dr. Hudson started his own laboratory at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
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Gunisha Kaur, MD, MA
Dr. Kaur’s specialty is in global health and human rights. She did her medical training at Weill Cornell Medical College, her residency at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical College, and her master’s degree in medical anthropology at Harvard University. Her research focuses on refugee trauma, particularly looking at issues of chronic pain in refugee torture survivors. She is Director of the Global Health Initiative in the Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Anesthesiology, where she is also Program Director of the Global Health Fellowship Program. Dr. Kaur is also Medical Director of the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights, which provides evaluations of refugees seeking asylum in the United States.
Alex Proekt, MD, PhD
Regulation of the level of consciousness is one of the fundamental functions of the nervous system. Yet it is poorly understood. Despite our ignorance of the basic mechanisms that underlie the regulation of the level of consciousness we are able to extinguish and then swiftly restore consciousness using a variety of general anesthetics. His research project is focused on trying to delineate the neurophysiological processes involved in emergence from general anesthesia. Dr. Proekt believes that investigation of emergence of consciousness may provide insight into which processes in the brain are required for maintenance of consciousness and may help identify neuronal correlates of consciousness.
Specifically he is investigating a hypothesis that sensory stimulation delivered to a lightly anesthetized subject may elicit a state transitithalamocortical networks that results in emergence of consciousness. Dr. Proekt is investigating this hypothesis in the Laboratory for Neurobiology and BehaviRockefeller University in collaboration with Dr.Hemmings' laboratory at Weill Cornell Medical College. They are using a combination of behavioral neurophysand mathematical approaches to define the processes involved in emergence of consciousness using mice as a model system. They are then planning to exploit the ability to generate transgenic animals to address the molecular and genetic pathways involved in emergence.
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Seyed Safavynia, MD, PhD
Dr. Safavynia is interested in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying altered conscious states, with a specific interest in neurocognitive disorders seen after anesthesia. To this end, he is using a variety of non-invasive neuromonitoring techniques (electroencephalography (EEG), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to investigate cerebral metabolic and functional derangements associated with neurocognitive disorders in the perioperative period with Drs. Nicholas Schiff and Jonathan Victor.
Seyed completed his PhD in systems neuroscience with Dr. Lena Ting (Emory University); his thesis work focused on hierarchical neural control of multi-muscle coordination patterns necessary for balance control. While in residency, he helped characterize EEG patterns during emergence from anesthesia and their modulation by GABAergic agents with Paul García (Columbia University). He completed a fellowship in neuroanesthesiology as part of his van Poznak Scholarship and is an assistant professor in the neuroanesthesiology division at Weill Cornell Medical College.
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Kingsley Storer, MBBS, PhD
Kingsley's previous research work investigated the use of sensitizing agents in order to improve the efficacy of radiosurgery in the treatment of cerebral arteriovenous malformations.
He is currently interested in developing a biologically relevant neural network model of the thalamocortex in order to study systems effects of anesthetic agents. He will be mentored by A/Prof George Reeke of the Laboratory of Biological Modelling at Rockefeller University.
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Robert White, MD, MS
Dr. White is interested in the utilization of “big data” and administrative data sets to explore the association between social determinants of health — primary payer insurance status, race, and median income — and post-surgical outcomes (inpatient mortality, post-operative complications, length of stay, total charges, and readmissions) after common orthopedic, cardiac, and obstetrical procedures. As part of the Center for Perioperative Outcomes, he co-supervises a multidisciplinary research team charged with examining the racial and economic disparities in the healthcare system and the impact of the recent Medicaid expansion (under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Additional projects have explored (separately) the association between 1) pre-existing opioid use disorder and 2) sickle cell disease status, and post-operative.