Announcing The 2017 Class of NYSCF – Robertson Investigators

NYSCF welcomed six of the most talented stem cell researchers and neuroscientists from around the world into the NYSCF Investigator Program and the NYSCF Innovator Community. The NYSCF Investigator Program fosters and encourages promising early career scientists whose cutting-edge research holds the potential to accelerate treatments and cures, and provides support for the NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Awards and the NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Awards.

The awards provide critical seed funding to outstanding young scientists as they move beyond their postdoctoral training to establish their own, independent laboratories.

The 2017 NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigators:

  • Sergiu Pasca, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, develops new approaches for studying human brain development and uncovering the mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders.
  • Louis Vermeulen, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator at the Center for Experimental Molecular Medicine at Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, focuses on the role stem cells play in colorectal cancer development and progression, studying the effects of genetic mutations on the behavior of stem cells in the gut.
  • Brian Wainger, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital, aims to develop a precision medicine platform by which analyses of stem cells and derived cell types can be used to build more powerful human models in the laboratory. Dr. Wainger is also conducting clinical trials in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),

The 2017 NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigators: 


  • Stephen Brohawn, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, focuses on understanding how the nervous system senses and responds to physical forces. This function underlies many important senses, including hearing and touch, as well contributing to balance, pain, breathing, digestion, and blood pressure control.
  • Gregory Scherrer, PhD, PharmD, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, works to alter the brain’s interpretation of pain signals to eliminate the unpleasantness associated with pain and restore patients’ quality of life with a goal of finding new pain relief solutions.
  • Ilana Witten, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Neuroscience Institute and Department of Psychology at Princeton University, studies the neural circuits for reward learning and decision-making with a focus on the role of dynamics and feedback in these cognitive processes. This work explores the link between actions and outcomes in support of learning.

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Learn more about the NYSCF Investigator Programs