Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell Faculty Member Receives $400,000 Career Award from National Science Foundation

Hempstead, New York–Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell Assistant Professor Nadeen Chahine, PhD, has received a $400,000 Faculty Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of inflammation on biomechanical properties of intervertebral disc cells. In addition to being a member of the School of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Medicine, Dr. Chahine is an assistant investigator at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, where she applies the tools of biomedical engineering to study the behavior of healthy and injured cartilaginous tissues in the musculoskeletal system.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is one of the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organization. The five-year award will enable Dr. Chahine to continue her research at the Feinstein Institute.

“Low back pain associated with many disorders, including disc degeneration, affect about 30% of the U.S. adult population,” said Dr. Chahine. “Our findings could have implications for this very common and debilitating condition.”

“Dr. Chahine exemplifies the caliber of faculty we have here at the School of Medicine,” said Lawrence Smith, MD, Dean of the Zucker School of Medicine “We look forward to the significant work that she will undoubtedly achieve with this award.”

The National Science Foundation Award will also enable Dr. Chahine to work with students enrolled in the School of Medicine’s Medical Scholars Pipeline Program, a course designed by Dean for Administration June Scarlett, MPH, to increase diversity of the healthcare workforce by exposing interested high school students from underprivileged backgrounds to various healthcare professions.

This summer, Dr. Chahine will be developing and implementing a basic science research curriculum to introduce the Pipeline students to basic research that drives discovery and treatments of medical disease.

“The goal is to to provide hands-on laboratory research experience in science and medical research using multidisciplinary experiments that combine tools of bioengineering with cell biology,” she explained. “Students will be participating in research in my lab at the Feinstein Institute and will be co-mentored on these experiments by graduate and medical students in the lab.”

In addition to her work with the Medical Scholars Pipeline Program, another educational aim of the National Science Foundation Award will be to support the development of a mentoring organization for female students in biomedical sciences at Feinstein Institute and at the School of Medicine.

Dr. Chahine is Vice President of the Feinstein Institute’s Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM) group, which was created to advance the career opportunities and career satisfaction of female scientists at the institute and to enhance the visibility of the institute through the scientific productivity and excellence of its women faculty. The mentoring organization for female students will represent a parallel initiative to Feinstein’s AWSM group.

“We hope that both of these educational programs will broaden the participation of under-represented groups in science and medicine,” she added.

Media Contact: Carole Trottere