Joel N. H. Stern, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, Lenox Hill Hospital

Assistant Professor, Center for Autoimmune, Musculoskeletal and Hematopoietic Diseases,
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, Surgery, and Science Education,
Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine

Phone: (516) 562-1032
Email: jstern5@northwell.edu

About the Investigator

Joel N.H. Stern, PhD is an associate professor of Neurology at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and an Assistant Investigator at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Dr. Stern received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and his PhD in Biological Sciences from Harvard University. While at Harvard he studied new ways to treat autoimmune diseases related to the brain. He also pursued research on infectious diseases. After completing his PhD, he became a Harvard Dean’s Scholar and an instructor at Harvard Medical and Dental Schools. He then pursued his interest in clinical immunology during a fellowship in Neurology at Yale School of Medicine, where he initiated a program aimed at understanding the role of B cells and autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). He joined the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine faculty in 2013. Dr. Stern is also co-director of the autoimmune brain disorder research program at Northwell Health Lenox Hill, as well as a faculty member of Lenox Hill’s neurology department. Dr. Stern’s lab also serves as a pathway to teach medical students, residents, and fellows about translational medicine.

Research Focus

Dr. Stern’s current research is focused on identifying the genetic and cellular factors associated with neurological autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Neuromyelitis optica (NMO), and autoimmune encephalitis. When immune cells such as B and T cells develop, they acquire unique sets of mutations in proteins that allow them to recognize pathogens. In autoimmune diseases, these proteins are misdirected to recognize subtypes of normal cells within the body as pathogenic and mount an immune response. By analyzing the sequences of these proteins on a cell-by-cell and patient-by-patient basis, Dr. Stern and his lab team are able to reconstruct their history and determine where in the body autoimmunity develops, and what genetic mechanisms might contribute to it. This will also allow for the application of targeted drug delivery systems in the treatment of these diseases. Dr. Stern’s lab is also interested in the pathogenesis of interstitial cystitis, a disease that involves aberrant activity of peripheral nerves.

Lab Members

Asad Ashraf, BA
MD Candidate
Email: aashraf1@pride.hofstra.edu
Research: Design and testing of nano-molecules that modulate antigen specific T cell responses.

William DeGouveia, BS, MS
Email: wdegouveia@northwell.edu
Research: Genetics and genomics of multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders.

Michael Funaro, BA
MD Candidate
Email: mfunaro@northwell.edu
Research: Identification of HLA genes associated with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders. Manages the laboratory, conducts experiments, and supervises other lab members.

Asaff Harel, MD
Postdoctoral fellow
Medical school: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Residencies: Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical Center
Email: asaffh@gmail.com
Research: Modulation of T and B cells in multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders.

Eric Neasi, BS
MD Candidate
Email: eneasi1@pride.hosftra.edu
Research: Screen serum autoantibodies in patients with multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders.

Dominic Pappas, BS
MD Candidate
Email: dpappas1@pride.hofstra.edu
Research: Identification of inflammatory biomarkers in patients with interstitial cystitis.

Maya Shabbir
BS Candidate
Email: mayashabbir5@gmail.com
Research: Design and screen antigen reactivity in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders.

Joy Tanaka, PhD
Postdoctoral fellow
Medical school: Yale Univeristy
Email: at3024@columbia.edu
Research: Genetics and Genomics of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders and interstitial cystitis.

Education

Harvard University
Degree: PhD
2008
Field of Study: Biological Sciences

Columbia University
Degree: BS
1999
Field of Study: Biology

Harvard Medical School
Degree: Postdoctoral Fellow
Field of Study: Immunology

Yale School of Medicine
Degree: Postdoctoral Fellow
Field of Study: Neurology

Awards & Honors

Academy of Medical Educators, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
Gala Teacher of the Year (2016-2017), Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
Dean Scholar Award, Harvard Medical School
Derek Bok Award for Teaching Excellence, Harvard University

Publications
  1. Tabansky I, Stern JNH. “Basics of Stem Cell Biology as Applied to the Brain. Stem Cells in Neuroendocrinology.” Cham (CH): Springer; 2016. 2016 Jul 27. Pubmed PMID 28590705.
  2. Najjar S, Pahlajani S, De Sanctis V, Stern JNH, Najjar A, Chong D. “Neurovascular Unit Dysfunction and Blood-Brain Barrier Hyperpermeability Contribute to Schizophrenia Neurobiology: A Theoretical Integration of Clinical and Experimental Evidence.” Front Psychiatry. 2017 May 23;8:83. PubMed PMID: 28588507.
  3. Funaro M, Messina M, Shabbir M, Wright P, Najjar S, Tabansky I, Stern JN. “The role of B cells in multiple sclerosis: more than antibodies.” Discov Med. 2016 Nov;22(122)251-255. PubMed PMID: 28009967.
  4. Tabansky I, Messina MD, Bangeranye C, Goldstein J, Blitz-Shabbir KM, Machado S, Jaganathan V, Wright P, Najjar S, Cao Y, Sands W, Keskin DB, Stern JN. “Erratum to: Advancing drug delivery systems for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.” Immunol Res. 2016 Apr;64(2):640. PubMed PMID: 26895430.
  5. Tabansky I, Stern JN, Pfaff DW. “Implications of Epigenetic Variability within a Cell Population for “Cell Type” Classification.” Front Behav Neurosci. 2015 Dec 17;9:342. PubMed PMID: 26733833.
  6. Feris EJ, Encinales L, Awad , Stern JN, Tabansky I, Jimenéz-Alvarrez L, Ramíres Martínez G, Cruz-Lugunas A, Bobadilla K, Márquez E, Granados-Montiel J, Rodrigues-Reyna TS, Fernandez-Vina, M, Granados J, Zuñiga, J, Yunis EJ. “High levels of anti-tuberculin (IgG) antibodies correlate with the blocking of T-cell proliferation in individuals with high exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis.” Omt J Infect Dis. 2016 Feb;43:21-4. PubMed PMID: 26686942.
  7. Tsioris K, Gupta NT, Ogunniyi AO, Zimnisky RM, Qian F, Yao Y, Wang X, Stern JN, Chari R, Briggs AW, Clouser CR, Vigneault F, Church GM, Garcia MN, Murray KO, Montgomery RR, Kleinstin SH, Love JC. “Neutralizing antibodies against West Nile virus identified directly from human B cells by single-cell analysis and next generation sequencing.” Integr Biol (camb). 2015 Dec;7(12):1587-97. PubMed PMID: 26481611.
  8. Tabansky I, Messina MD, Bangeranye C, Goldstein J, Blitz-Shabbir KM, Machado S, Jeganathan V, Wright P, Najjar S, Cao Y, Sands W, Keskin DB, Stern JN. “Advancing drug delivery systems for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.” Immunol Res. 2015 Dec;63(1-3):58-69. PubMed PMID: 26475738.
  9. Stern JN, Yaari G, Vander Heiden JA, Church F, Donahue WF, Hintzen RQ, Huttner AJ, Laman JD, Nagra RM, Nylander A, Pitt D, Ramanan S, Siddiqui BA, Vigneault F, Kleinstein SH, Hafler DA< O’Connor KC. “B cells populating the multiple sclerosis brain mature in the draining cervical lymph nodes.” Sci Transl Med. 2014 Aug 6;6(248):248ra104. PubMed PMID: 25100741.
  10. Vander Heiden JA, Yaari G, Uduman M, Stern JN, O’Connor KC, Hafler DA, Vigneault F, Kleinstein SH. “pRESTO: a toolkit for processing high-throughput sequencing raw reads of lymphocyte receptor repertoires.” Bioinformatics. 2014 Jul 1;30(13):1930-2. PubMed PMID: 24618469.

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