Cory Gerlach is a PhD Candidate in Biological Sciences in Public Health and the Therapeutics Graduate Program at Harvard University. He is conducting his dissertation research work with Joseph Bonventre, MD, PhD and Vishal Vaidya, PhD at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Cory is particularly focused on developing innovative methods to better understand seemingly intractable problems in biomedical research, such as predicting drug toxicity, diagnosing diseases and developing novel therapeutic targets. His dissertation research involves elucidating the mechanisms of acute kidney injury and identifying pathways that regulate the progression to chronic kidney disease. Specifically, Cory is investigating the role of miRNAs in kidney disease progression using a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches as well as multi-omics platforms. For this work, Cory has won awards at the 2016 and 2017 Society of Toxicology annual meetings as well as the 2015 American Society of Nephrology annual conference.
His other research interests include science policy, specifically regarding drug discovery, drug development and public health. To develop these skills, Cory is a Graduate Trainee in the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law at Brigham and Women's Hospital under the mentorship of Spencer Hey, PhD and Aaron Kesselhiem, MD, JD, MPH. In this position, they examine issues related to FDA policy, drug approval, biomarker utility and clinical trial design. Cory is also in the leadership committee for the Harvard GSAS Science Policy Group. His accomplishments in leadership include organizing the 2017 visit to Washington D.C. where he and 14 fellow PhD students visited 15 government agencies, think tanks and lobbying groups to learn about how science policy is conducted in the nation's capital. Also, Cory has organized regular events including a lecture series featuring expert faculty and business leaders on the 21st Century Cures Act, other faculty chats on health policy and local trips to government agencies in Boston. Lastly, Cory has contributed to the Harvard student-run "Science in the News" science blog where he analyzed the content and passage of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.
Cory has taken courses on drug discovery and development, toxicology, epidemiology, quantitative methods, genetics and cell & molecular biology. For the past two years, Cory has been the lead teaching fellow for "Principles of Toxicology: Molecular and Translational Toxicology" at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In this role, he mastered diverse topics such as the fundamentals of toxicology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, organ toxicology, innovative techniques in toxicology and public health impacts and led review sessions for graduate students and MDs on these topics.
Cory received his Honors BS in Toxicology from Oregon State University in 2014 (Summa Cum Laude) under the mentorship of Robert Tanguay. During his undergraduate training, he worked to elucidate the mechanism of toxicity for a ubiquitous flame retardant component using zebrafish as a model.