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Dr. Parker Awarded NRSA Grant

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Dr. Whitney Parker - Weill Cornell Medicine

Neurosurgical resident Whitney Parker, MD, PhD, was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH). The grant is valid for one year and will support Dr. Parker’s epilepsy research.

Now in her fifth year of residency, Dr. Parker will use this grant to supplement her research into NR2B, a receptor subunit that is a critical component of neuronal signaling in early brain development. While previous testing on animal models showed that NR2B’s mutations resulted in epilepsy, the mutations had never been assessed in humans.

In her submission to the NIH, Dr. Parker demonstrated that cells received from patients with NR2B mutations can assist in creating a human neuron-based model for investigating NR2B’s role in brain development. Such a model would help further the understanding of NR2B’s mutations in humans. Additional research by Dr. Parker and her team of scientists shows the role that these mutations play in producing epileptic seizures, which can lead to safer testing of therapeutic strategies based on tailoring treatments to an individual patient.

The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant supports the research of promising postdoctoral candidates in missions relevant to the NIH Institutes and Centers. In addition to this grant, Dr. Parker’s research was recently recognized with the Christopher Gaposchkin ‘99 Research Prize.

Dr. Parker received her B.A, M.D, and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

(More about Dr. Parker)