Young Investigator Draft

About Young Investigator Draft

The Young Investigator Draft is the result of Uplifting Athletes’ ongoing commitment to cultivate resources that accelerate scientific advancements for rare disease treatments and potential cures while facilitating the next generation of rare disease researchers.

Young Investigator Draft grants fund research that is collaborative and translational in order to positively impact treatments and potential cures for the entire Rare Disease Community.

Uplifting Athletes has provided more than $180,000 in funding to rare disease researchers through its first two Young Investigator Drafts.

Uplifting Athletes

2020 Young Investigator Draft Class

Check back soon for the announcement of the 2020 Draft Class!

Community

Check back soon!

Sponsors

Presenting

Logo: CLS Behring

Hall of Fame

Logo: Sanofi Genzyme

All Conference

Logo: Horizon

MVP

Logo: PRA Health Sciences

Varsity

Logo: Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical
Logo: Synteract

Past Draft Classes

  • Headshot: Dr. Alberto Japp
    Dr. Alberto Japp Rare Autoimmune Disorders | University of Pennsylvania

    Dr. Japp is a native of Brazil and was fascinated by chemistry and biology at a young age. That love of science led him to chase his dream by leaving his home country after graduating from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He moved to Berlin, Germany and received his Master’s degree in Molecular Medicine from Charite and acquired his PhD from Humboldt University of Berlin. His current research is focused on autoimmune disorders and how the body fights infections. This research is also powerful in the fight against cancer.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!

2019

  • Headshot: Dr. Brian Sworder
    Dr. Brian Sworder Stanford University | Rare Blood Disorders

    A huge fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers, Dr. Sworder is a graduate of UCLA and the Boston University School of Medicine. He is driven by the patients he works with as a clinician on a daily basis and the puzzle of figuring out the science based on what he learns from those patients. It’s why he’s a researcher and a clinician. The same year Dr. Sworder received his grant to focus on research rooted in Lymphoma, he was also part of the team that treated Stanford linebacker and rare disease patient Ryan Beecher - a finalist for the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!
  • Headshot: Dr. Elizabeth Harrington
    Dr. Elizabeth Harrington Columbia University | Rare Genetics Disorders

    Dr. Harrington was always interested in science and medicine and as a student-athlete who played soccer at the University of Redlands, she figured sports medicine would be her calling. But after cutting her teeth at the National Institute of Health (NIH) as a researcher, Dr. Harrington knew she wanted research to be part of her professional portfolio. She graduated from the Stanford School of Medicine and her clinical research efforts at Columbia as a genetics counselor and researcher have led to the launch the “ALS Families Project”, which helps individuals with a family history of ALS determine their risk of developing the disease.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!
  • Headshot: Dr. Eugene Hwang
    Dr. Eugene Hwang Children’s National Medical Center Washington D.C. | Rare Cancers

    During his third year of medical school at Duke, Dr. Hwang was drawn to children and he knew his future would include pediatric medicine. He had discovered his passion and purpose. As a clinician/researcher in pediatric neuro-oncology, his research focuses on coming up with ways to create translational findings that the FDA will allow when it comes to pediatric brain cancers.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!
  • Headshot: Dr. Shana McCormack
    Dr. Shana McCormack Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia | Rare Genetics Disorders

    Dr. McCormack was an NCAA rowing Champion during her undergraduate years at Harvard who went on to obtain degrees from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania. Her translational research program has two main areas of focus involving individuals with metabolic disorders and brain disorders associated with excessive weight gain. Dr. McCormack has always been fascinated by the research side of her job, but in the end, helping patients and their families is what drives her.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!
  • Headshot: Dr. Brenda Gallie
    Dr. Brenda Gallie Collaborative Leadership Award | Hospital For Sick Children (Toronto)

    For nearly five decades Dr. Gallie has been a pioneer and research ambassador for children with retinoblastoma. For her work, she was appointed to the Order of Ontario 2006 and Order of Canada 2014 in recognition of her more than 40 years or research in retinoblastoma. Her tireless pursuit of finding solutions for children diagnosed with retinoblastoma is inspiring. Dr. Gallie’s impact on the rare disease is global and with the help of new technology and continued advances through research she continues to raise the bar and break new ground in the search to find a cure.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!

2018

  • Headshot: Dr. Aimee Layton
    Dr. Aimee Layton Rare Genetics Disorders | Columbia University

    Dr. Layton’s research focuses on using exercise to improve patient outcomes and to predict how a patient will respond to certain interventions. Driven to work in a lab by her intrigue for science, Dr. Layton learned early in her career she needed interaction with patients to intertwine her passion and purpose professionally. And, provided the opportunity by her mentor Dr. Bob Garofano, the University of Massachusetts and Columbia University graduate is filling a dual role in the lab as a researcher and using that science to impact patients directly.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!
  • Headshot: Dr. Angela Waanders
    Dr. Angela Waanders Rare Cancers | Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

    Dr. Layton’s research focuses on using exercise to improve patient outcomes and to predict how a patient will respond to certain interventions. Driven to work in a lab by her intrigue for science, Dr. Layton learned early in her career she needed interaction with patients to intertwine her passion and purpose professionally. And, provided the opportunity by her mentor Dr. Bob Garofano, the University of Massachusetts and Columbia University graduate is filling a dual role in the lab as a researcher and using that science to impact patients directly.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!
  • Headshot: Dr. David Fajgenbaum
    Dr. David Fajgenbaum Dr. Fajgenbaum is a rare disease patient who nearly died during medical school. He suffers from Castleman Disease. The former college quarterback is a graduate of Georgetown, Oxford University and the University of Pennsylvania. He discovered a drug in his lab and began testing it on himself and is enjoying a more than five-year remission. The recently published author is at the center of the effort to cure his disease through a research network he founded - Castleman Disease Collaborative Network. His work is nationally recognized and the drug he discovered is in clinical trial phase. Read their Uplifting Story here!
  • Headshot: Dr. Emily Lowry
    Dr. Emily Lowry Columbia University | Rare Muscular and Neurological Disorders

    Fascinated with neuroscience since the eighth grade when her parents strongly encouraged her to attend summer school for accelerated students and she picked a neuroscience class. Dr. Lowry is a graduate of Barnard College and Rockefeller University and is a researcher at Columbia University with a focus on ALS. The combination of studying the drugs used on patients and how the patients respond to those treatments scientifically drives the native of Northern California. Her love of science, a passion for creativity and compassion for people suffering drives Dr. Lowry.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!
  • Headshot: Dr. Alessia Stornetta
    Dr. Alessia Stornetta Rare Blood Disorders | University of Minnesota

    Dr. Stornetta grew up in Ticino, the Italian-speaking region of Southern Switzerland, and she obtained all her degrees from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. Drawn to the lab by her love of science and the reality that cancer is the largest killer worldwide, Dr. Stornetta’s research is focused on the impact outside agents have on the oral cavity and what natural molecules produced by the body also have on the oral cavity of patients with rare blood disorders. Her work in the lab focuses on improved strategies and advancement of therapies for patients.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!
  • Headshot: Dr. Phillip “Jay” Storm
    Dr. Phillip “Jay” Storm Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia | Collaborative Leadership Award

    Dr. Storm is the chief of The Division of Neurosurgery at CHOP, specializing in pediatric brain tumors. The graduate of Wake Forest and Johns Hopkins University has specialized in using his skills as a clinician and a researcher to seek out bold and collaborative new treatments for brain tumors in children. Dr. Storm partners with the Children’s Hospital Research Institute as a leader in pediatric genetic research. Together they are working to develop new treatments that one day will help thousands of children with brain tumors.

    Read their Uplifting Story here!

Founded in 2007, Uplifting Athletes fulfills its mission to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport with a powerful network of over 20 college football student-athlete led chapters, Uplifting Ambassadors and Team UA participants.

Since its inception, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $5 million to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

To find out more about Uplifting Athletes, visit our website:

www.upliftingathletes.org
YID 2019