January 2020 EIPM Director’s Memo

January 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season! As we begin a new year, and a new decade, I look forward to the exciting challenges ahead of us. I look forward to establishing new collaborations across Cornell campuses and beyond. And I look forward to working with you to harness the power of our intellectual curiosity to advance the science of precision medicine and bring new treatments and therapies to our patients.

Events
Interested in AI and health? If so, you won’t want to miss next month’s Fourth Annual NYC AI Health Hackathon, which aims to foster innovative multidisciplinary team science using artificial intelligence and machine learning. But we need your help to make this the most exciting and relevant Hackathon yet, so please submit a challenge idea and be sure to encourage your friends and colleagues to register for this fun and engaging event that offers cash prizes for winning teams. The AI Health Hackathon is open to students, faculty, and researchers from the EIPM, Cornell Tech, Hospital for Special Surgery, MSKCC, Hunter, NYP, and other leading institutions. Information about Mentors will be added to the registration page soon, so check back often!

Applications are now being accepted (https://sam.mskcc.org) for the Tri-I Ph.D. program’s 2020 Computational Biology Summer Program, and I encourage you to spread the news about this important opportunity.

News
Congratulations to EIPM Member Nasser Altorki, M.D., (left) for leading a team of WCM colleagues who recently received a prestigious $4.2 million Cancer Moonshot grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Immuno-Oncology Translational Network to explore the mechanisms that allow slow-growing lung cancer lesions to progress into aggressive malignancies and identify new therapeutic strategies to intercept the transition. Vivek Mittal, Ph.D. and I will be PIs on the grant, along with WCM investigators Dr. Timothy McGraw and Dr. Alain Borczuk, and EIPM Members Niroshana Anandasabapathy, M.D., Ph.D. and Karla V. Ballman, Ph.D. will be co-investigators.

I’m very pleased to announce that Lorenzo Galluzzi, Ph.D. (right), an Assistant Professor of Cell Biology in Radiation Oncology within the Department of Radiation Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College, is the newest member of the EIPM team. Dr. Galluzzi is an expert in cancer immunotherapy, and has authored more than 400 peer reviewed papers. His latest review article, “Immunological impact of cell death signaling driven by radiation on the tumor microenvironment,” appears in Nature Immunology.

EIPM Member Lisa A. Newman, M.D., Chief, Section of Breast Surgery at WCM was elected Second Vice-President at the American College of Surgeons.

Cornell Engineering grad student Eti Singha (left) presented her first poster as a Ph.D. student during last month’s American Society of Hematology annual meeting. She collaborated on “Immune Sculpting of Clonal Hematopoiesis in Advanced and Metastatic Solid Tumors,” with EIPM colleagues Drs. Bhavneet Bhinder, Pinkal Desai and myself.

Thanks to everyone who gave so generously of their time during the most recent visit to the EIPM and WCM by New York City high school students from the World Science Academy. This group of very talented students learned about the field of precision medicine, took part in hands-on experiments, and interacted with a wide range of our colleagues. “I was quite surprised by the level of engagement and knowledge demonstrated by the students,” said Andrea Sboner, Ph.D. “The lively discussions I had with them showed their interest in science and medicine, and I hope some of them will come back for a summer internship with us or even as medical students in the future. Precision medicine needs motivated young people like these to bring science and technology closer to patient care.”

Publications 
Our colleagues Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D. and Lorenzo Galluzzi, Ph.D. were designated Highly Cited Researchers by the Web of Science Group, and our former colleague Misha Beltran, M.D. and I also made the prestigious annual list, along with more than 40 Cornell investigators.

I recently partnered with former colleague Neel S. Madhukar, Ph.D. (right) from OneThree Biotech and others to publish “A Bayesian machine learning approach for drug target identification using diverse data types,” in Nature Communications.

EIPM Clinical Director Cora N. Sternberg, M.D. and colleagues published “Association Between New Unconfirmed Bone Lesions and Outcomes in Men with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Treated with Enzalutamide: Secondary Analysis of the PREVAIL and AFFIRM Randomized Clinical Trials,” in JAMA Oncology.

Lorenzo Galluzzi, Ph.D.published “Targeting Mutant KRAS for Immunogenic Cell Death Induction,” in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. 

Ankur Singh, Ph.D. published a News & Views paper “Materials Modulate Immunity and Gut Microbiome,” in Nature Materials.

Elizabeth Ross, M.D., Ph.D. (middle of front row, right) and colleagues discovered a genetic cause of a mysterious ‘mosaic’ disorder and published “Postzygotic inactivating mutations of RHOA cause a mosaic neuroectodermal syndrome,” in Nature Genetics.

Pegah Khosravi, Ph.D., and a range of EIPM, Weill Cornell Medicine and outside colleagues recently published the preprint “Biopsy-free prediction of prostate cancer aggressiveness using deep learning and radiology imaging,” in MedRXiv.

Career Opportunities
Please help spread the news about our available Career Opportunities, we currently have nearly a dozen positions we are looking to fill as soon as possible, including opportunities to work with leading members of our team including Melissa Davis, Ph.D., and Laura Martin, Ph.D.

Thanks again for all your hard work and dedication to our mission last year. I look forward to working closely with you for an even more productive and impactful 2020.

Sincerely,

 

Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.