EIPM’s Q2 2020 External Newsletter

The EIPM’s second quarter 2020 external newsletter, sent to people who signed up on our website to receive it, was distributed on July 6, 2020. We hope you enjoy learning more about our important work. 


July 2020,

Dear Friends of the EIPM,

Thank you for signing up on our website to receive this quarterly newsletter, I’m thrilled to share news about the important advances we’re making in research and efforts to bring more effective treatments to patients during these extraordinary times.

We are leading important COVID-19 research initiatives at Weill Cornell Medicine, and working collaboratively with colleagues across the country and around the world to better understand the pandemic. Our COVID-19 Risk Survey has been tracking the spread of the virus for more than two months, and has been  highlighted in the New York Times and leading scientific journals. Please help us generate even more data by submitting your own survey today and every day.

Our work will accelerate now that we’re moving back into our offices and labs, and I look forward to sharing our progress with you through this quarterly communication at the end of the summer. Until then, I invite you to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more frequent updates.

Thank you again for your interest in our work, and we hope you & your loved ones stay safe and healthy during these challenging times.


Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.

EIPM Director

Lisa Newman, M.D.
(right) was featured in an article, “Doctors Explain Why COVID-19 May Be More Dangerous for African Americans,” in Time magazine. The African American community is facing systemic forces that make them particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Lew Cantley, Ph.D. recently spoke with journalist Katie Couric for an article in Medium on his work exploring how sugar feeds cancer cells, “With Cancer, Eating Sugar is a ‘Double Danger.’ ”

Melissa B. Davis, Ph.D., (near right) was profiled in “Biomedical engineer designs technologies for fighting female cancers,” that appeared in Diversity in Action.  The article explores her work with Lisa Newman, M.D. to find genes originating in Africa that might explain why Black women may have worse breast cancer outcomes.

Two interns from Macauley Honors College, working under the supervision of Alex Sigaras, began working on our COVID-19 Risk Survey. Seniors Tanja Miketic of City College and William Zeng of Baruch College (left) will remotely assist in the development of mobile friendly tools and AI Voice Assistant skills for the Risk Survey.

The EIPM is a great place to begin or advance your career. We recently featured Bioinformatics Analyst Princesca Dorsaint (left) on the News page of our website. I hope you take a few minutes to learn more about her background and research interests and how she’s staying healthy during the pandemic. I encourage you to share information about our current career opportunities with your professional contacts.

Two of our research technicians have just been accepted into medical school. Anna Tsomides was accepted into the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) program, and Daniel Bockelman was accepted into the M.D. program at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. We are very proud of them and wish them much success.

Ravi Sharaf, M.D. (left) was profiled on the News page of the EIPM website on June 3rd about his work on hereditary cancer syndromes, his interest in genomic medicine, and how the global pandemic has affected his personal and professional life.

A chance meeting during last fall’s EIPM Precision Medicine Research Symposium between Jan Krumsiek, Ph.D. (right) and Dr. Marta Castelhano, director of the Cornell Veterinary Biobank, led them to study a type of lymphoma that occurs frequently in humans and dogs. They’re looking not at the tumor’s DNA, but at its metabolism. Their partnership is highlighted in “Banking on a new understanding of canine and human lymphomas.”

Allyson Ocean, M.D., was interviewed by Katie Couric for an article, “Oncologists Are Struggling to Treat Cancer Patients Amid the Pandemic,” in Medium. Dr. Ocean was also interviewed by Oncology Nursing News about the higher risk that cancer patients have for contracting COVID19.

Melissa B. Davis, Ph.D.
(right) was awarded a $100,000 Weill Cornell Medicine COVID-19 research grant on June 12th to investigate genetic mechanisms that result in worse COVID19 outcomes in African Americans.

Iman Hajirasouliha, Ph.D. and our colleagues earned second prize in the 2020 WCM $100,000 Biomedical Business Plan Challenge Pitch Night for the pitch “STORK.ai: Developing a unique patent-pending software using an artificial intelligence approach to reliably assess embryo quality.”

Juan Miguel Mosquera, M.D. (left) for earning the Dean’s 2020 Diversity and Healthcare Disparity Research Award. The $50,000 grant seeks improve the health of underrepresented minorities.

Lisa Newman, M.D. was also recognized with the 2020 AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship award on June 17th.

EIPM Clinical Director Cora N. Sternberg, M.D. 
and colleagues published “Enzalutamide and Survival in Nonmetastatic, Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer,” in The New England Journal of Medicine. Enzalutamide plus androgen-deprivation therapy resulted in longer median overall survival than placebo plus androgen-deprivation therapy among men with nonmetastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer and a rapidly rising PSA level.

Drs. Melissa Davis, Rachel Martini, Lisa Newman, Akanksha Verma, Andrea Sboner, and I collaborated on “Identification of Distinct Heterogenic Subtypes and Molecular Signatures Associated with African Ancestry in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Using Quantified Genetic Ancestry Models in Admixed Race Populations,” in Cancers.

Iman A Hajirasouliha, Ph.D., Marcin Imielinski, M.D., Ph.D., and Hanna Rennert, Ph.D., co-authored “Host, Viral, and Environmental Transcriptome Profiles of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),” a preprint in BioRxiv.

Iman Hajirasouliha, Ph.D. contributed to “A robust benchmark for detection of germline large deletions and insertions,” in Nature Biotechnology, on June 15th.

Nasser Altorki, M.D. and Giorgio Inghirami, M.D. co-authored “Genome-wide cell-free DNA mutational integration enables ultra-sensitive cancer monitoring,” in Nature Medicine on June 1st.

Rohan Bareja, Yang Hu, Ph.D., Bishoy M. Faltas, M.D., and I co-authored (right), “Epithelial plasticity can generate multi-lineage phenotypes in human and murine bladder cancers,” in Nature Communications.

More than a dozen EIPM and WCM staff including Matthew Mosquera, Rohan Bareja, Jacob Bernheim, Muhammad Asada’s, Cynthia Cheung, Michael Sigouros, Laura Martin, Juan Miguel Mosquera, myself and lead author Ankur Singh, Ph.D. contributed to the preprint, “Extracellular Microenvironment in Patient-derived Hydrogel Organoids of Prostate Cancer Regulates Therapeutic Response,” in MedRxiv.

Howard A. Fine, M.D. and I were profiled in the article, “Mini Brain” Models Show Promise as a Way to Study Incurable Glioblastoma Brain Tumors and Test Treatments,” on the Weill Cornell Medicine Newsroom website on June 22nd.

Akanksha Varma and I co-authored, “The aging skin microenvironment dictates stem cell behavior,” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

David J. Pisapia, M.D., Howard A. Fine, M.D., and I published “Tumor microenvironment is critical for the maintenance of cellular states found in primary glioblastomas,” in Cancer Discovery.

Jan Krumsiek, Ph.D. and colleagues co-authored, “Sex and APOE ε4 genotype modify the Alzheimer’s disease serum metabolome,” in Nature Communications.

Lorenzo Galluzzi, Ph.D. published a Review article, “Consensus guidelines for the definition, detection and interpretation of immunogenic cell death,” in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.

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