Uplifting Athletes

Team Telomere is committed to furthering the science in the field of Telomere Biology Disorders. We are extremely grateful for Uplifting Athletes and their passion to accelerate scientific advancements for rare disease treatments and potential cures. Uplifting Athletes developed the Young Investigator Draft to contribute to this passion while inspiring the next generation of rare disease researchers.

Young Investigator Draft Picks are chosen based on their scientific aptitudes, research proposal rigor, and support from their affiliated patient advocacy organization. Under this grant, grantees receive $10,000 from Team Telomere and $10,000 from Uplifting Athletes to further their research.

2022 Young Investigator Draft Pick

Dr. Ji Zha, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Dr. Zha joined Dr. Timothy Olson’s lab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in 2016 as a postdoctoral fellow initially and is now a senior research associate at the same lab. Using a mouse model of Dyskeratosis Congenita, Dr. Zha will be studying the impact of telomere-related deficiencies on the bone marrow niche during transplant. By understanding this critical information, she hopes that future therapies will better target the bone marrow niches of TBD patients to reduce graft failure risk and improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation outcomes. 

2021 Young Investigator Draft Pick

Dr. Neha Nagpal, Boston Children’s Hospital

Dr. Nagpal received her Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India. Her work, supported by Uplifting Athletes and Team Telomere, investigates a novel chemical that plays an important role in the telomere pathway. Specifically, she will be studying the drug-life properties of these chemicals with the broader goal of expanding treatment options for patients impacted by Telomere Biology Disorders

2020 Young Investigator Draft Pick

Dr. Abhishek Mangaonkar, Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota

Dr. Mangaonkar has a strong interest in the clinical characteristics, natural history, and biology of myeloid neoplasms. He has been involved with the bone marrow failure precision genomics clinic, which is a unique collaboration between clinicians, geneticists, molecular biologists, and bioinformaticians. Dr. Mangaonkar intends to prospectively assess clonal hematopoiesis in patients with Telomere Biology Disorders and provide evidenced-based follow-up and testing guidelines.