October 2019 EIPM Director’s Memo

October 2019

Dear Colleagues,

@Hilary Swift for The New York Times

September was a very exciting month, with blockbuster news from Weill Cornell Medicine announcing debt-free education for students with a demonstrated financial need. This remarkable news will enable talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds to receive a world-class education and graduate without crushing debt. This important development will also benefit our research because it insures access to a pipeline of students with a rich diversity of backgrounds who can help us think in new ways about pressing medical challenges and topics that need our attention and focus.

@Weill Cornell Medicine

The critical importance of diversity in research was highlighted recently in a Weill Cornell Medicine magazine article about EIPM Members Lisa Newman, M.D., and Melissa B. Davis, Ph.D., (left) “Closing the Gap: Working to Combat Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer Outcomes.” I encourage everyone to read this important summary of their work.

I’m also happy to report that Dr. Newman was just named one of New York’s “Notable Women in Health Care,” by Crane’s New York Business.

@Christopher Mason @Mason_Lab

Precision Medicine Symposium
Our 2nd Annual Precision Medicine Research Symposium: A Paradigm Shift in Patient Care will take place October 28-29. The event builds upon the success of last year’s Symposium (right), and will bridge the academic strengths of Cornell University in Ithaca with the clinical expertise of WCM and the digital savvy of Cornell Tech so we will continue to be at the forefront of creating a preventive, data-driven approach to improving patient care across all disease types. Attendees will have the opportunity to present recent work, learn about funding opportunities and initiate collaborations. Please visit our website to learn more about the Symposium and to register.

A number of our colleagues recently published important papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals:

  • Wael Al Zoughbi, M.D., Ph.D. has a new Review Article, “Tumor Microenvironment: An Update” in Pathobiology.
  • Ph.D.-candidates Coryander Gilvary and Jamal Elkhader published “The missing pieces of AI in Medicine,” in Cell Press Reviews.
  • Bishoy Faltas, M.D. and colleagues published “Proteomic and genomic signatures of repeat instability in cancer and adjacent normal tissues,” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Evan Fernandez, Kenneth Eng, Shaham Beg, M.D., Bishoy Faltas, M.D. and Juan Miguel Mosquera, M.D. collaborated on “Cancer Specific Thresholds Adjust for Whole Exome Sequencing-based Tumor Mutation Burden Distribution,” in JCO Precision Oncology.
  • More than two dozen current and former EIPM Members collaborated on “Integrative Molecular Analysis of Patients with Advanced Metastatic Cancer,” in JCO Precision Oncology.
  • EIPM Team Members Rohan Bareja, Graduate student Akanksha Verma, Andrew Dannenberg, M.D. and Olivier Elemento, Ph.D. collaborated on a new paper “Obesity-Associated Extracellular Matrix Remodeling Promotes a Macrophage Phenotype Similar to Tumor-Associated Macrophages,” in the American Journal of Pathology.

 Media Coverage

  • Morning Consult Op Ed on why digitized health data remains inaccessible to researchers and caregivers was written by Jyotishman Pathak, Ph.D. and colleagues.
  • CBS News produced a television segment about our organoid research and high throughput drug screening robot, featuring Howard Fine, M.D. 
  • US News & World Report published a story on incorporating genetic testing into primary care to not only detect diseases and treat them early, but to fend them off altogether, and quoted Olivier Elemento, Ph.D. 
  • CNN Health produced a story on disparities in genetic testing featuring Lisa Newman, M.D. 

@Peter Cleary/EIPM

I’d like to thank everyone who volunteered to represent the EIPM during the recent Third Avenue Street Fair (left). This annual event is a great way to meet our neighbors and engage with our local community.

We are very excited to again partner this fall with the World Science Academy, a pre-college program for gifted New York City high school students. More than 100 students will visit us in November to meet our team, learn about our work, and take part in some fascinating experiments.

@World Science Festival / Greg Kessler

After last year’s visit (right), Caroline Gelb, Associate Director of Education and Outdoor Programming for the World Science Festival wrote to us: “Thank you for a terrific day. It was very clear that the students realized what an amazing and unique opportunity you gave them. While there was lots of chatter after among the students, I think one quote sums it up best. A young man from Staten Island’ Curtis High School told Dr. Elemento, ‘I thought I wanted to be an engineer, but now I’m rethinking it and may be interested in precision medicine.’”

We are excited to welcome the 2nd cohort of Macaulay Honors Fellows who will intern with us this fall and focus on Artificial Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality projects in healthcare.

Finally, I’d like to ask for your help in spreading the word about our current job openings, which can be found on the Career Opportunities page of our website. We have some very interesting positions, including a one to two-year Research Fellowship in Translational Research and Precision Medicine created jointly with Weill Cornell Medicine’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. 

Thank you again for your hard work and dedication to our mission, it’s deeply appreciated.



Olivier Elemento