Research

Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) is a global leader in pediatric health research.

  • There are 255 open clinical studies in the Department of Pediatrics. This includes 47 treatment protocols where new therapies and medications for a variety of pediatric diseases are being devised and tested.
  • From July 2020 to June 2021: 91 WCM pediatrics faculty had 160 unique publications, including book chapters and articles, published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • 23 pediatrics faculty held National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards in 2020, totaling over $62 million in total project funds.     

Children’s Health Investigators Fund Recipients 

Each year, the Investigators Fund awards seed money to support three projects, providing early-career investigators with the resources needed to establish preliminary research results essential to qualify for substantial grants from the NIH. Below are the research projects the Investigators Fund has made possible.

2021-2022 Recipients

Jennifer Bress, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry
VIVO Page

Dr. Bress' research focuses on understanding the electrical signals in the brain that characterize anxiety, depression and their response to treatment in individuals across the lifespan. Using knowledge gained from this research, Dr. Bress aims to refine depression and anxiety treatments to be more efficient and more effective. She is currently working on a study comparing strategies for enhancing treatment engagement among adolescents and young adults who are using a mobile psychotherapy app called Maya to treat anxiety.


Emily Wasserman, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
VIVO Page

Dr. Emily Wasserman’s research aims to understand how respiratory viruses drive critical illness in children. Her current research looks at the immune mechanisms underlying multi-system inflammatory disease in children (MIS-C), a rare but severe condition related to SARS-CoV2 infection. Dr. Wasserman is performing a comprehensive analysis of immune cells from children with MIS-C, both at the peak of illness and during disease recovery. She will compare immune cell activity and gene expression of children with MIS-C to children who had asymptomatic SARS-CoV2 infection. Uncovering the differences in response to SARS-CoV2 infection will help to determine which children are most at risk for MIS-C and may eventually lead to new therapies to prevent and treat SARS-CoV2 related illness in children.

2020-2021 Recipients

Avital Falk, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry
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Dr. Avital Falk’s work focuses on novel ways to increase access to evidence-based services for anxiety and depression in youth. She is working on Maya, an app-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program, and her team’s research with Maya focuses on examining how to engage youth with anxiety and depression, and how to tailor state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatment to individual needs.


Jacqueline Gofshteyn, MD
Instructor in Pediatrics
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Dr. Jacqueline Gofshteyn’s research aims to understand the immune mechanisms underlying pediatric rheumatologic and neurologic diseases. Her current research is focused on identifying immune biomarkers for disease activity in juvenile dermatomyositis, a disease that can leave children with profound muscle weakness, rash and multiple organ failure. To identify biomarkers, Dr. Gofshteyn is looking at differences in cell types and gene expression found in children affected by juvenile dermatomyositis compared with healthy children or children with another autoimmune disease, systemic lupus erythematosus. Uncovering biomarkers for disease activity can help doctors better manage juvenile dermatomyositis and may eventually lead to new treatments.

2019-2020 Recipients

Cori Green, MD, MSc
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
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Dr. Green’s research is focused on integrating behavioral and mental health care into pediatric practice. Through studying, implementing and disseminating interventions that can improve the skills of pediatricians, they can be trained to play a more effective role in the mental health care system. Dr. Green will study the impact of a three-year longitudinal curriculum for pediatric trainees on trainees’ mental health care competence and practices and patients’ access to mental health care and outcomes.


Matthew Scult, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate of Psychology in Psychiatry
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Dr. Scult’s primary research focus is understanding the neurobiology of resilience in adolescents and young adults. He is working to develop novel psychological interventions aimed at improving treatment of youth anxiety disorders. In his current project, Dr. Scult is using neuroimaging-based markers to identify personalized strategies that increase an adolescent’s or young adult’s engagement with digital mental health interventions that target anxiety.


Matthew Smith-Raska, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
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Dr. Smith-Raska studies how a person’s life experiences such as stress, diet and exposure to medications or toxins cause abnormalities in germ cells (sperm and eggs), which then predispose their children and grandchildren to develop pediatric diseases such as autism and congenital cardiac disease. Dr. Smith-Raska is working to define a cellular signaling pathway that he hypothesizes is critical to explaining how environmental experiences and exposures are processed into stable, inheritable modifications in sperm and eggs.

2018-2019 Recipients

Shannon Bennett, PhD

Shannon Bennett, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry

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Avital Falk, PhD

Avital Falk, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry

VIVO Page

Faith Gunning, PhD

Faith Gunning, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry
Vice Chair for Research and Psychology, Department of Psychiatry

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Rebecca Jones, PhD '12

Rebecca Jones, PhD '12

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in Psychiatry

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Conor Liston, MD '08, PhD

Conor Liston, MD '08, PhD

Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Feil Family Brain & Mind Research Institute
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

VIVO Page

Drs. Shannon Bennett, Avital Falk, Faith Gunning, Rebecca Jones and Conor Liston are bringing precision medicine to the treatment of anxiety and depression in youth. In partnership with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the researchers use brain connectivity patterns to personalize app-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for adolescents. The team uses brain imaging to better understand whose symptoms improve with app-based CBT and whose persist.


Perdita Permaul, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
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Dr. Perdita Permaul is the principal investigator on a research project evaluating the role that body mass index (BMI) plays in the relationship between inflammation and asthma morbidity in an established cohort of urban children with asthma. The data collected through this research will reveal potential biomarkers linking obesity and asthma, thereby providing better insight into the connection between these two chronic diseases.


Amy Tsou, MD, PhD
Instructor in Pediatrics
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Dr. Amy Tsou’s research is focused on understanding how intestinal bacteria and the nervous system interact with the immune system, and how these interactions influence intestinal inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She hopes to identify a new generation of therapies that can improve outcomes for the 1.6 million Americans – and 140,000 children – who suffer from this lifelong disease.


Melody Zeng, PhD
Assistant Professor of Immunology in Pediatrics
Member, Gale and Ira Drukier Institute for Children’s Health VIVO Page

The primary focus of research in Dr. Zeng’s laboratory is to study how gut immune cells and bacteria interact at the maternal-fetal/neonatal interface in the context of pediatric inflammatory diseases. The goal of the research is to develop strategies to use beneficial gut bacteria as candidates for maternal vaccinations to help protect babies from the type of inflammation that could lead to autoinflammatory diseases.