2021 Quarterly External Newsletter


Spring 2021 Newsletter


Dear friend of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine,

Welcome to our first quarterly newsletter of 2021! Thank you for signing-up on our website to receive this newsletter, we hope you enjoy learning more about our researchers and the breakthroughs they are creating to advance science and speed new treatments to patients.

I’m very proud of the contributions our team has made this past quarter, and to the collaborations our investigators initiated across the country and around the world to unlock the mysteries of Covid-19 over the past year.

Together, these efforts are helping us achieve our mission and overall goal: “The EIPM is a multidisciplinary effort to improve our ability to predict, diagnose, treat and prevent disease. And our goal is to bring personalized medicine to every patient.”

Beyond research, we are creating a culture of mentoring by engaging with young people to help develop the next generation of scientists. If you know of a college student, or high school junior/senior, interested in STEM, precision medicine, or cancer biology, please encourage them to apply for our 2021 Virtual Summer Program hosted by the Meyer Cancer Center. Applications due April 16th!

I look forward to sharing more information with you this summer. Until then, please follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for daily updates.

Thank you again for your interest in our work!


Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.
EIPM Director


Awards and Honors
Dr. Melissa B. Davis 
was featured in Weill Cornell Medicine’s celebration of Black History Month for her work in oncology research, highlighting her travel to Africa to conduct breast cancer research. Dr. Davis’ work was also highlighted last month by the Tigerlily Foundation.

Dr. Manish Shah earned a $230,000 award from the DeGregorio Family Foundation to transform patient care and leapfrog drug development for gastroesophageal cancers.

The Starr Cancer Consortium has awarded grant funding to Weill Cornell Medicine multi-institution teams headed by Drs. Bishoy Faltas and Lewis C. Cantley to advance their groundbreaking cancer research projects. The grants will support studies on mechanisms that drive lymphoma and urothelial cancers, and the effects of radiation therapy.

Drs. Nasser Altorki (right), Melissa B. Davis, Bishoy Faltas, Juan Miguel Mosquera, Lisa Newman, Cora N. Sternberg, and I received support for cancer genomics research projects focused on underserved populations from a range of donors including NYGC Board member Weslie Janeway, the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Family Foundation, The New York Community Trust, Donna and Ben Rosen, and with support from Illumina Inc. Funding of the first phase of the project was provided by The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research. Oncology Times.

Dr. Shahin Rafii received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for his work on an ambitious project to accelerate regenerative medicine.


News coverage 
It was an honor to be interviewed recently for the New York Times Magazine article “Unlocking the COVID Code,” that examined the role of genetic sequencers in unlocking the mysteries of the virus. It’s a fascinating article highlighting the potential of this technology, when coupled with pandemic “pre-emption” networks, to vastly improve the ability to detect novel pathogens and limit, or even prevent, future pandemics.

Dr. Lisa Newman discussed the importance of early detection in breast cancer, breast health issues within underserved populations, and how to close that gap in the latest Back to Health podcast.

Dr. Bishoy M. Faltas provided Urology Times with a video on “The Role of Genomic Testing in Bladder Cancer. Dr. Faltas was also interviewed for the article “Genomics of Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma,” in UroToday.

Dr. Laura Martin was interviewed (in Spanish) for a story “Los organoides son como avatares de los pacientes,” by radiocut.fm.

Dr. Allyson Ocean was profiled in the article, “Allyson Ocean, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. The leading voices in Healthcare. You’d have to go a long way to find a doctor that is more focused on her patients or who does more for her chosen field in terms of patient support and outreach.” MedikalLife.

Dr. Karsten Suhre’s recent paper in Nature Communications was covered by BioSpace in the article “European Genetic Variants are Poor Predictors of Disease in the Middle East.

Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg was interviewed by UroToday for the videos “A New Standard of Care in Treatment of Advanced Urothelial Carcinoma from JAVELIN Bladder 100;” “IPATential150 Trial in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer,” and PROSPER Trial Demonstrates the Relationship Between the Degree of PSA Decline and Survival Outcomes.

Alex Sigaras was interviewed by NBC News for a segment called “What Does the Future of Work Look Like,” that explored how virtual reality opens up possibilities for many industries, including healthcare, and how it is a powerful tool for analyzing patients’ genetic make-up and providing tailored treatment.


Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg co-authored “Adjuvant atezolizumab versus observation in muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma (IMvigor010): a multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase 3 trial,” in Lancet Oncology. Dr. Sternberg also co-authored, “Survival and New Prognosticators in Metastatic Seminoma: Results From the IGCCCG-Update Consortium,” in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Finally, Dr. Sternberg also published “Cabazitaxel versus abiraterone or enzalutamide in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer: post hoc analysis of the CARD study excluding chemohormonal therapy for castrate-naive disease,” in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology.

A new paper in Nature last week, “The spatial landscape of lung pathology during COVID-19 progression,” by a range of WCM staff, including EIPM’s Hiranmayi Ravichandran and myself, used advanced technology and analytics to map, at single-cell resolution, the cellular landscape of diseased lung tissue in severe COVID-19 and other infectious lung diseases.

Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi and WCM colleagues co-authored “Radiotherapy delivered before CDK4/6 inhibitors mediates superior therapeutic effects in ER+ breast cancer,” in Clinical Cancer ResearchDr. Galluzzi and colleagues published “Immunogenic Therapies Drive CAR T Cells towards Superior Efficacy,” in Trends in CancerDr. Lorenzo Galluzzi and colleagues published “Immune checkpoint inhibitor–associated myocarditis: manifestations and mechanisms,” in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Drs. Lorenzo Galluzzi, Jan Krumsiek, Akanksha Verma, Andrew Dannenberg, and I co-authored “Exogenous and endogenous sources of serine contribute to colon cancer metabolism, growth, and resistance to 5-fluorouracil,” in AACR’s Cancer ResearchDr. Galluzzi and colleagues published “Intratumoral heterogeneity in cancer progression and response to immunotherapy,” in Nature Medicine.

A range of external colleagues and I published “Building Biorepositories in the Midst of a Pandemic,” in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.

Dr. Dolores J. (Dorrie) Lamb and colleagues published “E2F1 regulates testicular descent and controls spermatogenesis by influencing WNT4 signaling,” in Development.

Drs. Jenny Xiang, Howard A. Fine, and Shahin Rafii co-authored “Pluripotent stem cell-derived epithelium misidentified as brain microvascular endothelium requires ETS factors to acquire vascular fate,” in PNAS.

Dr. Andrea Sboner, Ken Eng, and colleagues co-authored
“Molecular medicine tumor board: whole-genome sequencing to inform on personalized medicine for a man with advanced prostate cancer,” in Nature’s Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases.

A range of EIPM investigators including Rohan Bareja, Michael Sigouros, Rob Kim, Princesca Dorsaint, Jyothi Manohar, Daniel Bockelman, and Drs. Jenny Z. Xiang, David C. Wilkes, Juan Miguel Mosquera, Olivier Elemento, Andrea Sboner, Alicia Alonso, and Bishoy M. Faltas published “Functional Comparison of Different Exome Capture-based Methods for Transcriptomic Profiling of Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded Tumor Samples,” in medRxiv.

EIPM Members led by Drs. Pegah Khosravi, Camir Ricketts, Brian Robinson, Andrea Sboner, Iman Hajirasouliha, along with Dmitry Meleshko MS, Pantelis Zisimopoulos MS, Alexandros Sigaras MS, Josue Barnes MS, and Olivier Elemento collaborated on “A Deep Learning Approach to Diagnostic Classification of Prostate Cancer Using Pathology–Radiology Fusion,” published in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Dr. Jonathan Zippin and colleagues published “Measurement of Melanin Metabolism in Live Cells by [U-13C]-L-Tyrosine Fate Tracing Using Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry,” in the Journal of Investigative DermatologyDr. Zippin also published “Chemical and biochemical control of skin pigmentation with special emphasis on mixed melanogenesis,” in Pigment Cell& Melanoma Research.

Drs. M. Elizabeth (Betsy) Ross, Karsten Suhre, and Olivier Elemento published “Genome-wide investigation identifies a rare copy-number variant burden associated with human spina bifida,” in Genetics in Medicine.

Dr. Karsten Suhre published “Whole genome sequencing in the Middle Eastern Qatari population identifies genetic associations with 45 clinically relevant traits,” in Nature Communications.

Graduate students Scott Kulm and Andrew Marderstein, Dr. Jason Mezey, and I published the preprint “A systematic framework for assessing the clinical impact of polygenic risk scores,” in medRxiv.

I published “The road from Rous sarcoma virus to precision medicine,” in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Drs. Hanna Rennert and Marcin Imielinski, along with co-author Dr. Iman Hajirasouliha and a range of WCM colleagues, published “Shotgun transcriptome, spatial omics, and isothermal profiling of SARS-CoV-2 infection reveals unique host responses, viral diversification, and drug interactions,” in Nature Communications.

Dr. Laura Santambrogio published, along with co-author Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi published “Pleiotropic consequences of metabolic stress for the major histocompatibility complex class II molecule antigen processing and presentation machinery,” in Immunity.