Schwartz research award applications due Dec. 10

Applications for a research award from the Schwartz Research Fund for Women and Other Underrepresented Faculty in the Life Sciences are due Dec. 10.

Open to women and underrepresented faculty in the life sciences at Cornell, two awards – up to $25,000 each – will be given for research projects likely to generate novel preliminary data or a significant new line of inquiry and providing the foundation for a subsequent award for major new funding from institutions, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation.

One award will be given to an assistant professor who has completed the first two years of his or her appointment. Another award will go to an associate professor

Previous recipients include Bethany Cummings, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, who used her award in 2019 to conduct pilot studies on a new strategy using the hormone GLP-1 to treat Type 2 diabetes.

The support led to a recent publication in JCI Insight and helped lay the foundation for a recently awarded NIH R56 award, she said.

With support from the Schwartz fund, Adrienne Roeder, associate professor in the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology and the School of Integrative Plant Science, Section of Plant Biology, was able to fund her doctoral student, Kate Harline, to travel to France to work with collaborators Antoine Fruleux and Arezki Boudauoud and learn new computational modeling skills. Now, Roeder and her team are the recipients of a new NSF-ANR grant examining the biophysics of how leaves grow into flat structures.

In 2018, Renata Ivanek, Ph.D. ’08, associate professor in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, received support for research on the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.

“The Schwartz award opened up a new line of research in my lab on mathematical modeling of immune cross-protection among Listeria monocytogenes strains with different virulence to humans,” she said. “We generated preliminary data for a novel multidisciplinary proposal on evolutionary ecology of similar facultative pathogens.”

Administered through the Provost’s Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, the Schwartz award – now in its seventh year – is endowed by Joan Poyner Schwartz ’65 and Ronald H. Schwartz ’65, chemistry majors in the College of Arts and Sciences who went on to work at the NIH.

“We are grateful to the Schwartzes for their continuing support,” said Yael Levitte, associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity. “They are making a difference in the research lives of Cornell faculty.”

For more information about the application process visit the OFDD’s website or email

Lori Sonken is the communication and program manager for the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.

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Abby Butler