Grants Scholarships

Recipients of the Dr. Judith Stitt Woman Faculty Scholar Grant



Roberta Strigel, MS, MD, Assistant Professor
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dr. Strigel
Dr. Strigel’s received the award for her research involving developing accelerated MRI data acquisition techniques and advanced reconstruction methods to improve the diagnostic accuracy of breast MRI. Breast MRI is the most sensitive modality for the detection of breast cancer, but specificity remains imperfect due to the overlap in appearance between benign and malignant lesions. Her aim is to develop a breast MRI examination providing simultaneous high spatial and temporal resolution which can be retrospectively optimized to the individual patient, increasing diagnostic accuracy and specificity for breast cancer, and allowing this powerful tool to be utilized in an expanded group of patients. Overall, her goal is to provide imaging tools for the early detection of breast cancer to ultimately improve care and decrease mortality in women with (and at risk for) breast cancer. Women are the subjects and the expected beneficiaries of this research because they are the primary patient population at risk for breast cancer.


Na Jin Seo, PhD, Assistant Professor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Dr. Seo received the award for her research focused on determining gender-specific effects of upper limb behavioral interventions that use interhemispheric interactions (occurring between hemispheres of the brain) in persons with stroke. There is a lack of knowledge about how women’s motor recovery mechanism following stroke is different from men’s, and this is a barrier to the development of rehabilitation therapies that are particularly effective for women who are more severely affected by stroke than men. Dr. Seo’s long term goal is to help women with stroke increase their ability to perform daily living activities and function independently.



Sandra Hunter, PhD
Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

Dr. Hunter received the award for her research efforts examining the mind-body link for sex differences in stress response and motor performance. Dr. Hunter uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine differences in brain activation between men and women while they are mentally stressed  when they perform a motor task. Data from the study will help identify why women are more vulnerable to stress-related disorders, and may be the first step to identifying targeted strategies to improve the stress response of women and minimize impaired motor performance.



Michelle Johnson, MS, PhD
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Dr. Johnson received the award for her work investigating the effects of gender differences on robot-assisted stroke rehabilitation.






Diana Kerwin, MD
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Dr. Kerwin received the award for her research trying to determine if obesity is a predictor of cognitive performance and risk for Alzheimer disease in women.






Dr. Elizabeth Burnside, MD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor
University of Wisconsin Medical School and Chief of Mammography at University Hospital, Madison, WI

Dr. Burnside received the award to further investigate the use of MRI to improve the accuracy of mammography readings and to prevent unnecessary surgical biopsies. Using Breast MRI technology is helpful in cases of abnormal mammogram results; however, it is not widely used because of the difficulty interpreting the overwhelming volume of data generated. Dr. Burnside is interested in applying a set of segmentation algorithms to breast MRI technology which will condense the information into distinguishable patterns that are easier for radiologists to read.



Dr. Linda Sabatini, Ph.D., Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee College of Health Sciences, Milwaukee, WI

Dr. Sabatini received the first Dr. Judith Stitt Woman Faculty Scholar Award in 2000 for her research studying the role of environment and genetics on breast cancer. The financial support she received gave her the flexibility to lighten her teaching load and focus her energies on research, grant-writing and mentoring the students who assist her with her research. She says, “I was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure beginning in the fall of 2002, and I am certain that receipt of the [award] contributed significantly to the Divisional Committee’s favorable ruling.”