December 2021 EIPM Director’s Memo

December 2021 EIPM Director’s Memo

Dear Members of the Englander Institute,

It’s always a pleasure to share the important work and contributions of our colleagues, especially those who are just beginning their careers. Over the next month we will feature interviews with several of our team members on the News page of our website (see below). I hope you enjoy learning more about their backgrounds and research interests.

I’m very happy to share the news that our former colleague, Dr. Akanksha Verma, has been selected as a 2021 STAT Wunderkind! For the past five years STAT has been celebrating “the next generation of scientific superstars, impressive doctors and researchers on the cusp of launching their careers and blazing new trails as they attempt to answer some of the biggest questions in science and medicine.”  Drs. Lew Cantley and Lorenzo Galluzzi were just named to Clarivate’s competitive 2021 Highly Cited Researchers list as “…true pioneers in their fields over the last decade, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year.”

In November we launched a fun video branding campaign on our Twitter and Facebook pages to introduce our growing social media audiences to the people who make the EIPM such a special place. More than a dozen of our colleagues have been highlighted in these videos including, Drs. Kristy A. Brown, Andrea Sboner, and our Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg. The videos are hosted on our YouTube channel, which I encourage you to explore.

We have some exciting new Career Opportunities, including open positions for a Senior Bioinformatics Analyst and a Clinical Research Fellowship in Precision Medicine. I’d appreciate it if you could share these opportunities within your professional networks so we can fill these positions as soon as possible.

I hope you enjoy reading about our team’s news coverage, awards, events, and publications as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.


Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.


Meet the Staff!
We recently published an interview on our website with our colleague Jenna Moyer, a Research Specialist on the EIPM organoid team, and invite you to read the interview and learn more about her!


News Coverage & Awards
Dr. Scott Tagawa was interviewed for the article “Scott Tagawa, MD, on Data Regarding Treatment Patterns and Survival for Metastatic Castration-Sensitive Prostate Cancer,” in Cancer Network on November 1st. Dr. Tagawa was interviewed for the article “Tagawa Breaks Down FGFR Testing and the Use of Erdafitinib in Bladder Cancer,” in OncLive on November 8th. Dr. Tagawa was also interviewed for the article “Testing for FGFR Mutations in Metastatic Urothelial Cancer,” in OncLive on November 10th.

Dr. Allyson Ocean was interviewed for the article “Using Genetic Predispositions to Determine the Likelihood of Being Diagnosed With Pancreatic Cancer,” in Cancer Network on November 1st.

Dr. Bishoy M. Faltas published the Expert Commentary articles, “Comparing Preoperative Chemotherapy Regimens in Patients with Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer,” on November 3rd, and “The Role of RAF1 Amplifications as Drivers of a Subset of Bladder Cancers,” on November 10th.

Dr. Laura Santambrogio’s paper in Immunity earlier this year, “Pleiotropic consequences of metabolic stress for the major histocompatibility complex class II molecule antigen processing and presentation machinery,” was profiled in the Weill Cornell Medicine Magazine on November 11th.

Our Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg was interviewed for the article “Therapy Resistance Identified in Circulating Tumor Cell Morphologic Sub-Types Present Prior to Treatment in the CARD Trial,” in UroToday.

While running the 2021 New York City Marathon, our Director of Informatics and Computational Biology Dr. Andrea Sboner encountered a fellow runner in distress and helped him finish the race. This inspiring story generated news across the country and around the world. Thank you Andrea!

I was quoted in the article “It’s going to set the bar pretty high’: A path forward for trusted AI in breast cancer risk prediction,” in STAT Plus News (paywall), on November 16th.

Our new Director of Liquid Biopsy Research Dr. Pashtoon Kasi was interviewed for the story “Detecting cancer with a simple blood draw could soon be a reality. One experimental test can detect 50 different cancers,” by ABC News on November 24th.

Our former colleague Dr. Ankur Singh and I were quoted in the article “Prostate Cancer Organoids Open Path to Precision Oncology,” from Newswise on November 24th.


Dr. Geoffrey S. Pitt presented a WCM Department of Pharmacology Seminar Series lecture, “FGF13: Novel Functions for a Non-Growth Factor,” on Nov 2nd.

Dr. John P. Leonard presented “Update on Weill Cornell Medicine Enterprise Innovation,” during the WCM Dean’s Fifth Annual Symposium on Entrepreneurship and Academic Drug Development on Nov. 8th.

Dr. Melissa B. Davis participated in the Aortic 2021 Cancer in Africa: Approaches, Collaborations and Impact virtual conference from November 5-10 to share her collaborative clinical and translational work in breast cancer disparities, findings and challenges. Dr. Davis also gave Hem/Onc Grand Rounds (virtually) at @NYPBrooklyn on November 29th.

Our colleague Manuele Simi participated in the “Optimizing Bioinformatics and Data Workflows in the Azure Cloud,” webinar with partners from SeqeraLabs and MicroSoft on November 30th.

Dr. Allyson Ocean spoke at the Elvin Howard, Sr. Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Foundation Pathway To A Cure virtual fundraiser addressing how negative social determinants of health contribute to misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment, & early death due to Pancreatic Cancer on November 12th.

Dr. John Leonard participated in a Virtual Challenging Case Clinic, “B-cell Lymphomas: DLBCL” on November 10th.

Dr. Cora N. Sternberg participated in the New Frontiers in Uro-Oncology webinar,  presenting “Advanced Urothelial Carcinoma: Integrating Immunotherapy into our Therapeutic Algorithm,” on Nov. 17th.

Our latest Precision Medicine conference was presented on November 18th by EIPM Research Fellow Dr. Majd Al Assaad, with CME Series Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg.

The next EIPM and Meyer Cancer Center Metastasis Working Group Seminar will feature Dr. Mikala Egeblad from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and WMC’s Dr. Xiaojing Ma on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

On December 3rd, I’ll co-lead a New York Genome Center Scientific Collaboration Committee workshop, “Artificial Intelligence for Genomics,” with speakers including Drs. Iman Hajirasouliha and Ekta Khurana.

Dr. Bishoy M. Faltas will deliver the keynote lecture at the ‘Genomics: Translating into Clinical Practice’ bladder cancer session at the Society of Urologic Oncology 22nd Annual Meeting November 30–December 3rd.


David A. Kolin and Scott Kulm published, and I co-authored, “Prediction of primary venous thromboembolism based on clinical and genetic factors within the U.K. Biobank,” in Nature Scientific Reports on November 1st.

Dr. Scott Tagawa co-authored “Treatment patterns and survival in metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer in the US Veterans Health Administration,” in Cancer Medicine on November 2nd.

I was co-author on a new paper by Dr. Francesca Demichelis, “Allele-specific genomic data elucidate the role of somatic gain and copy-number neutral loss of heterozygosity in cancer,” in Cell Systems on November 2nd.

EIPM Research Technician Jonathan E. Pauwels and our former colleague Dr. Mark A. Rubin co-authored “A Functional Precision Oncology Approach to Identify Treatment Strategies for Myxofibrosarcoma Patients,” in Molecular Cancer Research on November 2nd.

Dr. Francesca Demichelis co-authored “Charting differentially methylated regions in cancer with Rocker-meth,” in Nature Communications Biology, November 2nd.

WCM GS Ph.D. student Matthew Brendel published, with EIPM co-authors, “Weakly-Supervised Tumor Purity Prediction from Frozen H&E Stained Slides,” in bioRxiv, November 11th.

Dr. Cora N. Sternberg published “Consistent survival benefit of enzalutamide plus androgen deprivation therapy in men with nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer: PROSPER subgroup analysis by age and region,” in the European Journal of Cancer on November 13th.

Dr. Jonathan Zippin published “A nuclear cAMP microdomain suppresses tumor growth by Hippo pathway inactivation,” with Dr. Ashley S. Doane, Rohan Bareja, Dr. Akansha Verma, and myself in bioRxiv on November 16th.

Dr. Kentaro Ohara published “The evolution of genomic, transcriptomic, and single-cell protein markers of metastatic upper tract urothelial carcinoma,” in bioRxiv on November 19th.

Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi published “Radiotherapy as a tool to elicit clinically actionable signalling pathways in cancer,” with DrLaura Santambrogio in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology on November 24th.

Dr. Galluzzi published “Multimodal immunostimulation to control BRCA1-defective ovarian carcinoma,” in Trends in Cancer on November 25th.

# # #