Fall 2021 EIPM Newsletter

Fall 2021 Englander Institute Newsletter


October 2021

Dear Friend of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine,

Welcome to our third quarterly newsletter of 2021, we hope you enjoy learning more about the important progress we’ve made since June.

The work of our colleagues in advancing science and speeding new treatments to patients received some really outstanding attention recently (see below) when the story of AML patient Cheryl Bonder was featured on the cover of the WCM Magazine, in a new video, and became the central element of a $1.5 billion development campaign. I couldn’t be more proud of what we were able to accomplish as a team.

Over the past three months our team was interviewed for many interesting news stories, they earned highly-competitive awards, participated in a large number of prestigious events, and published important papers in leading journals like Nature Communications, New England Journal of Medicine, and Lancet Oncology, and some of this information is featured below.  

We’re debuting a new section of this newsletter called “Meet the Staff!” to introduce you to some of the amazing people on our team, I hope you enjoy learning about them as much as we enjoy working with them.

I look forward to sharing more information with you at the end of the year. Until then, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for daily updates.

Thank you again for your interest in our work!


Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.
EIPM Director


Meet the Staff!
We are pleased to introduce two new members of the EIPM team! Dr. Jason G. Mezey (left) is a Principal Investigator in the Cornell University Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology. And Peter Waltman, Ph.D., is a Research Associate in Bioinformatics working in the labs of Dr. Andrea Sboner and myself. I hope you enjoy learning more about their backgrounds and research interests!


News Coverage & Awards
The role of the EIPM and our colleagues Drs. Juan Miguel Mosquera and Monica Guzman in developing a targeted therapy for the treatment of Cheryl Bonder’s acute myelogenous leukemia was highlighted in the latest edition of Weill Cornell Medicine’s magazine, featured in a new WCM video, and has become a central component of WCM’s We’re Changing Medicine development campaign. The attention to their hard work and dedication is richly deserved.

Congratulations to Dr. Jan Krumsiek on his new $2.5 million R01 Award to study “TargetAD: A systems multi-omics approach to drug repositioning in Alzheimer’s disease,” with Dr. Matthias Arnold at Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen in Germany.

Congratulations to Dr. Melissa B. Davis whose work with The International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes received funding through an R13 grant from the National Cancer Institute Center for Global Health to support their annual meeting. DrsLisa A. Newman and Melissa B. Davis also earned a new NIH R01 Award for the “DARC Side Of Breast Cancer Disparities.”

A recent paper in Nature Cancer by Drs. Vivek Mittal (left), Nasser Altorki and colleagues was covered in a profile by the Weill Cornell Medicine Newsroom, “Scientists Find a New Way to Reverse Immune Suppression in Tumors,” on September 20th.

EIPM Clincal Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg presented the overview “State-of-the-art Lecture: First and Second Line Therapy in Advanced and Metastatic Bladder Cancer: A Changing Paradigm,” during the American Urologic Association plenary session and covered by UroToday on September 10th.

Alex Sigaras was interviewed for the article, “Meet you in the metaverse, maybe.” Alex shared how the mixed-reality headsets were piloted in I.C.U.s during the pandemic to bring additional expertise into the room without risking exposure to the virus. The New York Times, August 30th.

Dr. Scott T. Tagawa was featured in a new article, “New Treatment Option for Advanced Urothelial Cancer Patients Shows Promise in a Phase 2 Clinical Trial,” on the WCM Newsroom website on August 2nd. Dr. Tagawa was also interviewed for the article, “Dr. Tagawa on the Integration of PSMA-Targeted Agents in Prostate Cancer,” in OncLive on August 23rd.

Dr. Peter Martin was interviewed for “Who qualifies for a coronavirus booster shot? Why it’s still unclear. While people with immune-compromising conditions rejoice over the FDA decision, many questions remain unanswered,” in National Geographic magazine on August 13th.

Congratulations to Dr. Melissa B. Davis on her promotion to Associate Professor, and to Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi on being appointed Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Both promotions were announced on August 7th.

I was honored to be interviewed for the article, “Breast Cancer Genetic Risk Modified by Corticosteroid Use,” in Precision Oncology News on August 6th regarding research in the American Journal of Human Genetics, by myself and our colleagues that found that using corticosteroids increased breast cancer risk among some women who were already at increased genetic risk for the disease.

Dr. Lewis Cantley was interviewed for the article, “A Discussion with Cancer Discovery’s Editors-in-Chief,” by the American Association for Cancer Research on August 5th to mark the 10th anniversary of the AACR Journal Cancer Discovery.

Congratulations to Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi for being named the 1st Runner-Up in the Research Scientist category by the Immuno-Oncology Young Investigators’ Forum for his work evaluating immunological mechanisms of resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors in breast cancer on August 1st.

A powerful natural immune-regulating molecule may lead to better treatments for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases & some cancers, revealed in a Nature Communications study by Dr. Laura Santambrogio and promoted in a Weill Cornell Medicine Newsroom article on July 30th and reposted on the EIPM website.

Dr. Pinkal Desai was interviewed for the article, “Effect of Myeloid Progenitor Cell Product on the Risk of Infection During Induction Chemotherapy for AML,” by the ASCO Post on July 1st. Dr. Desai was also interviewed for the article, “Therapy Can Prevent Infections in Immunocompromised Patients With Leukemia,” by AJMC News on July 16th.  

It was a pleasure to be interviewed for the article, “What you’ll find in medicine cabinets in 2030. By the 2030’s the drugs in our cabinets should be considerably more personalized than they are today,” in Gizmodo on July 12th.

Dr. Nasser K. Altorki was interviewed for the article “In early lung cancer, immunotherapy plus targeted radiation may up response rate,” by Reuters on July 6th. Dr. Altorki was also interviewed for “Neoadjuvant durvalumab plus SBRT safe, effective for lung cancer subset,” in Helio on July 2nd, and “Durvalumab with Radiotherapy Leads to Higher Response Rates in Early-Stage NSCLC,” in CancerNetwork on July 2nd.


The EIPM and the Meyer Cancer Center hosted a Metastasis Working Group Seminar on September 22nd with presentations by Dr. Elena Piskounova, “Noncanonical mechanisms of stress resistance in metastasis,” and our colleague Dr. Vivek Mittal, “Metabolic and epigenetic vulnerabilities in breast cancer metastasis.”

Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi presented “Harnessing radiotherapy to boost the efficacy of cancer (immune)therapy,” and participated in a Meet-The-Editor session during the 2021 ImmunoRad conference on Sept. 15th.

Dr. John Leonard co-presented a “Virtual Challenging Case Clinic: B-cell Lymphomas: Primary CNS Lymphoma,” hosted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center on September 15th.

EIPM & The Meyer Cancer Center Summer Program Pilots Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Educational Collaboration. This summer, 47 high school and college students participated in our six-week virtual summer program. Participants worked remotely with faculty to develop a research proposal and participate in weekly didactics on cancer biology and precision medicine. Additionally, students had the opportunity to participate in two pilot activities, designed by Francis Estrada from the Museum of Modern Art Education Department, on the impact of art on social issues, with a focus on addressing the socioeconomic factors that contribute to health disparities.

Drs. Melissa B. Davis and Lisa Newman, together with WCM colleagues, presented the Fifth Annual International Symposium, “Improving Breast & Gynecological Cancers Management & Outcomes in Low and Middle Countries,” on August 29-31st.  Dr. Melissa B. Davis was Keynote Speaker at the City of Hope Biomedical Research Graduate Student Symposium on August 27th.

The EIPM Molecular Aging Institute’s Clinical Director Dr. Pinkal Desai presented, “Population studies in clonal hematopoiesis: Hematologic malignancies,” during the AACR Virtual Meeting on Clonal Hematopoiesis on August 18th.

Dr. Bishoy Faltas and I presented at the 2021 Bladder Cancer Think Tank Meeting of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, which took place on August 6th. The meeting included a panel discussion featuring myself and our former colleague Dr. Pegah Khosravi. Dr. Faltas also participated in a Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network’s North Carolina Triangle breakout session on the BCG shortage on August 6th.


“Efficacy and Safety of Cabazitaxel Versus Abiraterone or Enzalutamide in Older Patients with Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer in the CARD Study,” was published by Dr. Cora N. Sternberg in European Urology on October 1st.

“OCT2 pre-positioning facilitates cell fate transition and chromatin architecture changes in humoral immunity,” was published by WCM’s Dr. Ari Melnick and myself, with co-author Dr. Ashley S. Doane in Nature Immunology on September 23rd.

“Cohesin Core Complex Gene Dosage Contributes to Germinal Center Derived Lymphoma Phenotypes and Outcomes,” co-authored by Dr. Bhavneet Bhinder and myself in Frontiers in Immunology on September 21st.

“Artificial intelligence in cancer research, diagnosis and therapy,” was published by myself and colleagues from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Karolinska Institutet, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Nature Reviews Cancer on September 17th.

“SGI: Automatic clinical subgroup identification in omics datasets,” was published by Dr. Jan Krumsiek with Dr. Karsten Suhrein Bioinformatics on September 16th.

“Metabolic and immune markers for precise monitoring of COVID-19 severity and treatment,” was published by Dr. André F. Rendeiro, with Drs. Jan Krumsiek, Giorgio Inghirami and myself in medRxiv on September 9th.

“Molecular Evaluation of Low-grade Low-stage Endometrial Cancer With and Without Recurrence,” by Dr. Kentaro Ohara, with co-authors Drs. Kenneth Wha Eng, Pooja Chandra, Andrea Sboner, Olivier Elemento, Lora Hedrick Ellenson, and Juan Miguel Mosquera, and Alex Sigaras in the International Journal of Gynecological Pathology on September 6th.

“Autophagy in major human diseases,” was co-authored by Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi and Dr. Laura Santambrogio in The Embo Journal on August 30th.

“Comparison of Multiple Clinical Testing Modalities for Assessment of NPM1-Mutant AML,” by Dr. Michael J. Kluk with EIPM co-authors Drs. Giorgio Inghirami, Monica Guzman, Pinkal Desai and Wayne Tam and WCM colleagues, in Frontiers in Oncology on August 30th.

“Variant PNLDC1, Defective piRNA Processing, and Azoospermia,” was co-authored by Dr. Francesca Khani in the New England Journal of Medicine on August 19th.

“Serologic response to mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in lymphoma patients,” a correspondence by Drs. John P. Leonard, Richard Furman, and Peter Martin was published in the American Journal of Hematology on August 14th.

“Functional comparison of exome capture-based methods for transcriptomic profiling of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumors,” was published by Dr. Bishoy Faltas with our colleagues Drs. Kyrillus S. Shohdy, Rohan Bareja, Michael Sigouros, David C. Wilkes, Princesca Dorsaint, Jyothi Manohar, Daniel Bockelman, Jenny Z. Xiang, Rob Kim, Kentaro Ohara, Kenneth Eng, Juan Miguel Mosquera, Andrea Sboner, Alicia Alonso & myself in NPJ Genomic Medicine on August 12th.

“Kidney Allograft Function Is a Confounder of Urine Metabolite Profiles in Kidney Allograft Recipients,” was published by EIPM Member Dr. Karsten Suhre and WCM & NY-P colleagues in MDPI Metabolites on August 11th.

“A polygenic-score-based approach for identification of gene-drug interactions stratifying breast cancer risk,” was published by EIPM and WCM colleagues Drs. Andrew R. Marderstein, Scott Kulm, Rulla Tamimi, Andrew G. Clark & myself in AJHG on August 6th.

Dr. Cora N. Sternberg co-authored, “Ipatasertib plus abiraterone and prednisolone in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (IPATential150): a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, phase 3 trial,” in The Lancet, on July 10th. Dr. Sternberg also published “Efficacy and Safety of Cabazitaxel Versus Abiraterone or Enzalutamide in Older Patients with Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer in the CARD Study,” in European Urology on July 14th; “Differential Activity of PARP Inhibitors in BRCA1– Versus BRCA2-Altered Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer,” in JCO Precision Oncology, July 22nd; and “Safety and Efficacy of Atezolizumab in Understudied Populations with Pretreated Urinary Tract Carcinoma: Subgroup Analyses of the SAUL Study in Real-World Practice,” in the Journal of Urology on August 1st.

Dr. Akanksha Verma and myself, along with our recently retired colleague Dr. Andrew J. Dannenberg, collaborated on the accepted manuscript “Blood Biomarkers Reflect the Effects of Obesity and Inflammation on the Human Breast Transcriptome,” in Carcinogenesis, July 27th.

“MicroRNA-1205 Regulation of FRYL in Prostate Cancer,” was co-authored by our Director of Informatics and Computational Biology Dr. Andrea Sboner and Princesca Dorsaint,” in Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology on July 27th.

Dr. Laura Santambrogio published “3-hydroxy-L-kynurenamine is an immunomodulatory biogenic amine,” in Nature Communications on July 21st.

Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi and colleagues published “Targeting Serine in Cancer: Is Two Better Than One?” in Trends in Cancer on July 1st. Dr. Galluzzi also co-authored “Dendritic cell-based immunotherapy (DCVAC/OvCa) combined with second-line chemotherapy in platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer (SOV02): A randomized, open-label, phase 2 trial,” in Gynecologic Oncology, July 20th.

Drs. Melissa B. Davis and Lisa Newman published, “Oncologic Anthropology: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understand the Association Between Genetically Defined African Ancestry and TNBC Susceptibility,” in Current Breast Cancer Reports on July 19th.

Drs. Juan Miguel Mosquera and Wael Al Zoughbi published, along with co-authors Drs. Shaham Beg, Kentaro Ohara, David Wilkes, Scott Tagawa, Kevin Holcomb, Manish Shah, Nasser K Altorki, Andrea Sboner, David Nanus, Bishoy Faltas, Cora N Sternberg, Yariv Houvras, Ana M Molina, Olivier Elemento with Michael Sigouros, Troy Kane, Daniel Bockelman, Donna Nichol, Rohan Bareja, Jyothi Manohar, Noah Greco, and Kenneth Wha Eng the paper “Validation of a ctDNA-based next-generation sequencing assay in a cohort of solid tumor patients: a proposed solution for decentralized plasma testing,” in The Oncologist on July 19th.