Creating Collaborations

Celebrating Collaborations

EIPM staff were hard at work last month creating collaborations with community leaders, technology industry professionals, and highly-motivated students to share information about our work in precision medicine, big data, virtual reality, augmented reality and related topics that advance science and lay the groundwork for more effective patient care.

Project Medical Education

On Monday, June 3rd, EIPM teamed-up with our colleagues from the Office of the Dean, the Office of External Affairs, and the Meyer Cancer Center to host 20 local stakeholders and community leaders and provide information about Weill Cornell Medicine’s operations and how they relate to our education, research, clinical care and mentorship missions.

After being welcomed by the Dean and learning about WCM’s undergraduate and graduate medical education programs, the group heard presentations by EIPM Director Olivier Elemento, Ph.D., and Meyer Cancer Center Director Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D.

The group then toured the Belfer Research Building labs and heard presentations from a number of EIPM investigators. Laura Martin, Ph.D., our new Ex Vivo Models Director, provided a tour of our organoid platform, and Senior Research Associate in Computational Biomedicine Alex Sigaras demonstrated how EIPM is using Mixed Reality technology for Cancer Research.

RLab Well Summit

On June 4-5, EIPM staff participated in the RLab Well Summit on Digital Innovation and Healthcare at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. More than 100 experts, entrepreneurs, executives, and technologists working on applications of virtual and augmented reality in health, medicine, and wellness participated in the event that featured 22 demonstrations.

EIPM staff, including four-year intern Sophia Roshal (right), demonstrated how our Holo Graph technology is using mixed reality (MR), sometimes referred to as hybrid reality, to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. We are using this technology in fields as varied as high throughput drug screening and the manipulation and visualization of new molecules.

Later that week we hosted a visit by the RLab leadership to learn about our work with the HoloLens, developed by three undergraduate fellows from CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College (from left, Arvind, Neeru, Anthony, and EIPM’s Alex Sigaras), a project made possible through RLab. The students developed 3D interactive visualizations of protein structures.

Thanks to this research, “We’re closer to the day when visualizing complex information in a clinical or lab context will regularly employ augmented reality,” said Justin Hendrix of the RLab. “A huge thanks to Alex Sigaras for his commitment to creating such a special experience for these students,” added Mr. Hendrix.

Big Data Boot Camp

WCM and the EIPM hosted the annual Biomedical Big Data Summer Boot Camp from June 17-21, organized for students and faculty from the New York City College of Technology (City Tech), City University of New York.

EIPM experts presented on a range of topics that brought together the concepts of Big Data and Precision Medicine. EIPM’s Director of Informatics and Computational Biology Andrea Sboner, Ph.D., presented “Pushing the Boundaries of Precision Medicine: the Weill Cornell Medicine Experience,” Doron Betel, Ph.D., presented “Large scale genomic data management,” Jan Krumsiek, Ph.D., presented “Systems Metabolomics approaches for complex data analysis,” Alex Sigaras presented “Big Data Visualization – Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality,” Wei Song, M.D., Ph.D., presented “Clinical Big Data Analytics and Cancer Diagnosis,” and Pegah Khosravi, Ph.D., (right) presented on “AI for IVF.”

On the last day of the Boot Camp participants heard from EIPM Director Olivier Elemento, Ph.D., provided an “Introduction to Big Data at the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine,” and M. Laura Martin, Ph.D. and Jenny Xiang, M.D., provided an overview of the EIPM Organoid Lab and the Genomics Core Lab, respectively.

Many students felt the Boot Camp helped narrow down which fields of research most interested them. “The entire week seemed to summarize what we’ve been learning over the past four years, and showed how to apply the skills that we have learned and see how everything works in the real world, and help us decide which fields of study are most interesting to each of us,” said Rosemary Pichardo of City Tech.

Brittany Taylor, a City Tech senior and part of the second cohort of the Big Data program said, “At school we take our science classes and we take our programming classes, but they are very separate. And it’s not until you get involved with something like the Big Data Boot Camp that you see the practical application of all this work and see what you can accomplish.”

“City Tech students and faculty obtain a basic understanding in a range of topics including the increasing role of big data in health and its challenges, and the use of health information technology, and high-throughput computational approaches for biomedical research and patient care. Importantly, the participants visited the Organoids Lab (left with EIPM Research Technician Cynthia Cheung standing with lab coat), the Genomics Core facility and attend a “tumor board” where real cases are discussed by a multidisciplinary team. I am excited to continue this partnership with WCM, and bring the CUNY community close to a place where great things happen every day,” said Eugenia Giannopoulou, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, New York City College of Technology (City Tech), City University of New York.

Several students recommended the Boot Camp to their peers, including City Tech bioinformatics student Cynthia Castillo. “For any students debating whether they want to be in the health informatics profession or in bioinformatics with computers, I would definitely recommend that they take part in the Big Data Boot Camp and learn from experts doing work in both areas. This would be a great place to come and help you decide.”

Some of the students came away from the Boot Camp with a very clear view of their career path. City Tech student Mohammad Rahman said, “My purpose in life is not making money. I want to change the world. And I think the field of precision medicine holds the greatest potential to change medicine and positively impact patient’s lives. The EIPM is where I want to be.”

# # #