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[March 20, 2017]

Downstate Allergy and Immunology Research Projects by Medical Student and Resident Recognized with News Media Interviews at National AAAAI Meeting in Atlanta


Brooklyn, NY – Research by SUNY Downstate Medical Center 4th-year Medical Student Jared Ditkowsky and 2nd-year Pediatrics Resident Sairaman Nagarajan, MD, MPH, was recognized by members of the national press at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) in Atlanta, March 3-6. These research projects were performed in the Center for Allergy and Asthma Research (CAAR) at SUNY Downstate, an ongoing interdepartmental translational research collaboration. 

Mr. Ditkowsky presented “Cost-Benefit of a Chlamydia trachomatis Vaccine Program in Adolescent Women in the United States” (Mentors: Drs. T. Smith-Norowitz, S. Kohlhoff, and M.R. Hammerschlag). Results from the analysis showed that a C. trachomatis vaccine would not be cost saving to the healthcare system, but can avert significant chlamydia-associated morbidity. Mr. Ditkowsky was interviewed by MD Magazine (

Dr. Nagarajan presented “The Role of Gender in the Association Between Obesity and Atopic Disease in Urban Children” (Mentor: Dr. Maria-Anna Vastardi). The study found that obese girls may face a significantly higher risk for allergy and asthma than normal- weight girls, but the opposite is true for obese boys, when compared to normal-weight boys.

Dr. Nagarajan was interviewed by HealthDay News, with the resulting article appearing in multiple outlets, including He was also interviewed by Frontline Medical Communications for Family Practice News, and an article appeared in’s Infectious Diseases in Children. He will be presenting findings at the New York Academy of Medicine on March 29.
In addition, 2nd-year Downstate Medical Student Tsz Wah (Kara) Ho received the AAAAI Chrysalis Project award for her research findings that help to unravel immunologic networks involved in IgE responses (Mentor: Dr. Helen Durkin).


SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively.

SUNY Downstate ranks twelfth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school. For more information, visit