IDP Foundation Research Scientists


In 2008, the IDP Foundation Research Scientists fund was established.  The goal of this fund is to advance some of the most promising research at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the affiliated centers, including the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine known for their cutting-edge research initiatives, superb clinical affiliates, global outlook, and innovative curriculum, as well as The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, dedicated to the highest standards of cancer research, patient care, education, and community outreach.

The IDP Foundation Research Scientists are Drs. Pedram Gerami, David Bentrem, Surendra Basti, Jonathan Cotliar, Barbara Jung and Leonidas C. Platanias. These doctors are representative of the more than 250 physician-scientist who comprise the Lurie Cancer Center.  These investigators are dedicated both to advancing medical knowledge through pioneering research, and providing compassionate, state-of-the- art cancer care. The IDP Foundation Research Scientists fund remains paramount to the growth as a premier cancer care, education, outreach, and research institution.

        “The grants we have made have always facilitated further funding for each of the researchers we have supported,” said Irene Pritzker, President of the IDP Foundation and longtime supporter. “We see these grants as ‘seed capital’– investing in research that has the potential for widespread impact. Over the years, we have seen the Lurie Cancer Center grow into one of the nation’s leading research institutions and are proud to be playing a role, however small, in this.”

The IDP Foundation Research Scientists fund also supports Dr. James Surmeier, PhD, Chair of the Department of Physiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine and Nathan Smith Davis Professor of Physiology.   Dr. Surmeier’s work in Parkinson’s has led to one current clinical trial, but he has also developed a new family of compounds that could slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.  In 2015, the IDP Foundation provided a grant to Dr. Surmeier to enabled his team’s innovation and progress, offering new hope for people living with Parkinson’s disease and its many challenges.

Dr Basti

Dr. Surendra Basti, Department of Ophthalmology

“The IDP Foundation is helping me to study what measures can help prevent or control eye problems in patients receiving chemotherapeutic agents or stem cell transplants for their cancers.”



DrBentremDr. David Bentrem, Department of Surgery

“My GI (gastrointestinal) oncology projects examine the role of the tumor microenvironment in pancreas and colon cancer. With the support of the IDP Foundation, I am investigating the role of inflammation and the cross talk between inflammatory cells (mast cells and regulatory T cells) and cancer cells.”


Dr CotliarDr. Johnathan Cotliar, Department of Dermatology

“The IDP Foundation is allowing me to continue my research focused on the cutaneous
complications of stem cell transplantation.”


Dr  GeramiDr. Pedram Gerami, Department of Dermatology

“The IDP Foundation has given me the support and opportunity to further develop novel molecular techniques for diagnosis of complex melanocytic neoplasms and melanoma so that patients can get the most accurate and appropriate diagnosis and treatment.”


DrJungDr. Barbara Jung, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center

“The IDP Foundation is giving me the opportunity to study colon cancer risk stratification of colon cancer, novel treatment targets and mechanisms of colon cancer cell growth and metastasis.”

Dr PlataniasDr. Leonidas C. Platanias, Director – Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center

“The IDP Foundation Innovation Challenge Awards will support innovative, team-driven,  cancer research projects that are translational in nature, cross-disciplinary, and collaborative in design and conduct.”



Dr. James Surmeier, Department of Physiology

“The research in our lab revolves around a wide variety of psychomotor disorders including Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, Huntington’s disease, schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome.”

James Surmeier, PhD, has been awarded a prestigious Blueprint for Neuroscience Research grant by the NIH