February 2020 EIPM Director’s Memo

February 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We created this monthly Director’s Memo a year ago to keep you better informed about the events, news, publications, and the expanding team we have put together at the EIPM. I invited our staff this month to take a couple of minutes and provide me with feedback to make these memos even more impactful, and I thank them in advance for their help!


There is a lot of buzz about the fast-approaching Fourth Annual NYC AI Health Hackathon (right), which aims to foster innovative multidisciplinary team science using artificial intelligence and machine learning. We need your help to make this the most exciting and relevant Hackathon yet, so I invite you and 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, and NYP.

I’m honored to have been invited to deliver one of the five opening Plenary Session talks at April’s American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, and I look forward to presenting the latest news on our work to advance the science of precision medicine and speed new treatments to patients.

I’m also really excited about an upcoming New York Academy of Sciences webinar “Computational Approaches to Clinical Medicine,” on May 26th that I’ll be speaking at along with Franziska Michor, Ph.D., from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, who utilizes theoretical evolutionary biology, applied mathematics, statistics, and computational biology to improve tumor diagnostics and anti-cancer treatment options.




Doctoral student Matthew Mosquera (seated, right) was recently profiled in an article in Cornell’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Magazine, highlighting his work with Cornell Bioengineering faculty and EIPM Member Ankur Singh, Ph.D., and our colleagues to study how to engineer devices that reconstruct the complex components of prostate cancer tumor organoids.

EIPM’s Director of Ex Vivo Models Laura Martin, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Abraham, Ph.D. from Corning Life Sciences recently published “Next-Generation Organoids,” in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

Bishoy Faltas, M.D. recently shared his insights on the challenges and opportunities of landing a hematology/oncology Fellowship in an Opinion article “First Year of Fellowship: Acclimating to the Work,” published by Oncology Times.

Iman Hajirasouliha, Ph.D.

Iman Hajirasouliha, Ph.D. (left) and I were recently the subject of an article in the Winter 2020 edition of Weill Cornell Magazine. “A Keen Eye,” explored the work of a range of WCM investigators including Zev Rosenwaks, M.D. and Nikica Zaninovic, Ph.D. to create an IVF breakthrough using artificial intelligence to help identify the embryos most likely to lead to successful pregnancies.

The Molecular Aging Initiative, now lead by Dr. Pinkal Desai, includes an extensive Question and Answer section about clonal hematopoiesis that’s worth checking out.

The EIPM, Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University and Memorial Sloan Kettering will again participate in the Tri-I PhD Program’s 2020 Computational Biology Summer Program! The application portal (https://sam.mskcc.org) is also now open, please share widely.

Allyson Ocean, M.D. (right) was recently interviewed by OncLive TV regarding the PRODIGE clinical trial, which she calls a “game-changer” for people with pancreatic cancer.

Paraskevi Giannakakou, Ph.D., myself and our former colleague Neel Madhukar, Ph.D., were recently profiled about our work to develop a machine-learning algorithm capable of predicting biological targets of prospective drug molecules by the Weill Cornell Medicine Newsroom for their article, “AI Algorithm Predicts Drug Targets, Leads to Promising Results for Experimental Cancer Treatment.”


Dr. Cora Sternberg

EIPM Clinical Director Cora N. Sternberg, M.D. (left) and colleagues recently collaborated on “A randomised phase II trial of three dosing regimens of radium-223 in patients with bone metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer,” in Annals of Oncology.

You may have missed it during the holiday season, but Dr. Sternberg and colleagues also published a practice-changing paper on the CARD study, “Cabazitaxel versus Abiraterone or Enzalutamide in Metastatic Prostate Cancer,” in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Vivek Mittal, Ph.D., Kristy A. Brown, Ph.D., Eleni Andreopoulou, M.D., Giorgio Inghirami, M.D., myself and our colleague Akanksha Verma published “Inhibition of EZH2 Catalytic Activity Selectively Targets a Metastatic Subpopulation in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer,” in CellReports.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently published “Artificial Intelligence in Health Care: Benefits and Challenges of Machine Learning in Drug Development,” that found machine learning could reduce the time and cost of drug development by finding new insights in large biomedical or health-related data sets. I was honored to be part of the Expert Panel which met in Boston last year to share insights reflected in the report.

Lorenzo Galluzzi, Ph.D. (right) published “Methods in Enzymology: Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy,” by ScienceDirect, with participation by myself and Niroshana Anandasabapathy, M.D.

Dr. Galluzzi and colleagues also published “Trial watch: chemotherapy-induced immunogenic cell death in immuno-oncology,” in OncoImmunology.

Andrea Sboner, Ph.D., Jenny Xiang, M.D., and I recently collaborated with our former colleague Misha Beltran, M.D., on “ABEMUS: platform specific and data informed detection of somatic SNVs in cfDNA,” in Bioinformatics.

Lisa Newman, M.D., Melissa B. Davis, Ph.D., and their former graduate student Brittany D. Jenkins and colleagues published “Racial Differences in the Association between Luminal Master Regulator Gene Expression Levels and Breast Cancer Survival,” in Clinical Cancer Research.

Monica Guzman, Ph.D. (left) and colleagues published an Analysis, “The therapeutic landscape for cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors,” in Nature Biotechnology.

Bhavneet Bhinder and I just published “Computational methods in tumor immunology,” in ScienceDirect.

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 Laura Martin, Ph.D., and Melissa Davis, Ph.D.

Thanks again for all your hard work and dedication to our mission and for providing feedback on how we can improve the content of this monthly Memo.



Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.