EIPM’s Winter 2021 Newsletter

EIPM’s Winter 2021 Newsletter

The following EIPM 2021 Fourth Quarter newsletter is sent to people who sign up on our website to receive it. Please click here to join our mailing list.


Winter 2021 Englander Institute Newsletter

December 31, 2021

Dear Friend of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine,

Welcome to our fourth quarterly newsletter of 2021! Thank you for signing-up on our website to receive this newsletter, we hope you enjoy learning more about the important progress we’ve made since September.

Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing global pandemic, we made significant advancements this year in medical research, speed new treatments to patients like Cheryl Bonder, generated impressive news media coverage, earned high-profile awards, lead scientific events and conferences, expanded engagement with our growing social media audiences, and published research in leading journals.None of these accomplishments would be possible without the remarkable efforts of our amazing staff, from young people like Jenna Moyer to more senior staff featured in our recent EIPM video branding campaign. Together, we made great strides in 2021 and are poised to do even more in the coming year. Thank you for your interest in our work and mission. I look forward to sharing more information with you at the end of the first quarter of 2022. 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!
Matt Wickersham is a former grad student in my lab who founded the WCM Wellness Qlinic, a student-run clinic focusing on #LGBTQ mental health care. I hope you enjoy learning more about Matt’s background, his interest in earning a computational PhD utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques on large health records to predict various outcomes!

Hui-Hsuan (Helen) Kuoa PhD Candidate in the Department of Pharmacology, who is being mentored by our Director Olivier Elemento, Ph.D. and our Ex Vivo Models Director M. Laura Martin, Ph.D.

Jenna Moyer is a Research Specialist on the EIPM organoid team, I invite you to read the interview and learn more about her!

In November we launched a fun video branding campaign to introduce our growing social media audiences to the people that make the EIPM such a special place. More than a dozen of our colleagues, who work tirelessly to advance science and speed new treatments to patients, have been highlighted in these videos.

News Coverage & Awards
Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Ross who was named president-elect of the American Neurological Association, a professional society of academic neurologists and neuroscientists, on December 6th. Dr. Ross was featured in an article, “Researchers Develop New Approach to Analyzing Complex Genetics Underlying Spina Bifida,” that originally appeared on the WCM Newsroom website on December 16th.

Dr. Iman Hajirasouliha received funding for postdoc positions to study deep learning, imaging, human genetics, cancer genomics, and precision medicine in collaboration with my lab and with Dr. Popic of the Broad Institute. Thank you in advance for sharing news of this opportunity within your professional networks.

I was honored to have a mentee, Dr. Veronica M. Rotemberg, now a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center faculty member, recently win a CTSC KL2 Scholar Award. Her research focuses on “Improving Clinician Melanoma Diagnostic Accuracy using Artificial Intelligence.”

Dr. Nasser Khaled Altorki was interviewed for the article, “Atezolizumab Provides Option for Patients With NSCLC at High Risk of Recurrence,” which appeared in OncLive on December 2nd.

Dr. Scott T. Tagawa was interviewed for the article, “Study investigates PSMA-targeted radionuclide therapy in men with mCRPC,” which appeared in Urology Times, on December 2nd, and the article “Dr. Tagawa discusses PSMA-targeted radionuclide therapy in men with mCRPC,” in Urology Times on December 10th.

Dr. Pinkal Desai, the EIPM Molecular Aging Institute’s Clinical Director, was interviewed for the article, “For leukemias, COVID-19 death risks tied to poor prognoses, ICU deferrals,” which appeared in MedEdge on December 11th, “COVID-19 more severe in patients with active acute leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome,” in Healio on December 13th; “Study Identifies Factors for Severe COVID-19 Illness Among Patients With Acute Leukemia or MDS,” in The Asco Post on December 12th.; and “Active Disease, ICU Deferral Linked With COVID-19–Related Mortality in AML, ALL, and MDS,” in OncLive on December 11th.

Dr. Richard R. Furman was interviewed for the article, “BTK Inhibitors in the Management of CLL,” in OncLive on December 8th.

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 UroTodayDr. 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 on October 15th. Dr. Sternberg also wrote a Beyond the Abstract article “Efficacy and Safety of Cabazitaxel Versus Abiraterone or Enzalutamide in Older Patients With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer in the CARD Study,” in UroToday/GU Onc Today on October 25th. While running the 2021 New York City Marathon on November 7th, our Director of Informatics and Computational Biology Dr. Andre 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!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.

Congratulations to Dr. Kristy A. Brown who was named Co Editor-in-Chief of the journal Endocrine and Metabolic Science on October 11th!Congratulations to Dr. Melissa B. Davis who has been invited to serve as Senior Editor for the Health Disparities and Outcomes Research section of AACR’s newest journal Cancer Research Communications!

I was honored to host a high-level French delegation on a tour of our facilities on December 4th. Joining us were: Frédérique Vidal, the French Minister of Higher Education, Research & Innovation; Jérémie Robert, the French Consul General in New York City; Philippe Etienne, the Ambassador of France to the USA; and Gilles Bloch, CEO of INSERM.

Dr. Melissa B. Davis joined a panel discussion on Trust in Science and Healthcare-Diversity in Clinical Trials during the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on December 7th. Dr. Davis also 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 opened the AACR Virtual Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, and delivered the meeting’s Closing Remarks on October 6th. Dr. Davis also presented during the Scientists Making a Difference session of a program hosted by Touch: The Black Breast Cancer Alliance and BlackDoctor.org on October 17th.

I co-lead an “Artificial Intelligence for Genomics Workshop,” hosted by our friends at the NY Genome Center, and featuring presentations by our colleagues Drs. Ekta Khurana and Iman Hajirasouliha on the afternoon of December 3rd.

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. Jan Krumsiek presented  “Alzheimers Disease – a Metabolomics Perspective,” during WCM Radiology’s BHII Science Friday event on Oct. 22nd.Last summer the EIPM, The Meyer Cancer Center, and the Museum of Modern Art teamed-up to provide dozens of local high school & college students with a rich and rewarding 6-week virtual summer program. Learn more about last summer’s program, and please help spread the word about the 2022 summer program.

Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg published several papers in the past quarter, including: “Decrease of Pro-Angiogenic Monocytes Predicts Clinical Response to Anti-Angiogenic Treatment in Patients with Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma,” in Cells on December 22nd; “Avelumab maintenance in advanced urothelial carcinoma: biomarker analysis of the phase 3 JAVELIN Bladder 100 trial,” in Nature Medicine on December 10th; “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; and “Response to Rucaparib in BRCA-Mutant Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Identified by Genomic Testing in the TRITON2 Study,” in Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Oct 1.

Dr. Jonathan Zippin published “A Randomized Trial of Wearable UV dosimeter for Skin Cancer Prevention,” in medRxiv on December 1st. Dr. Zippin also published “A nuclear cAMP microdomain suppresses tumor growth by Hippo pathway inactivation,” in bioRxiv on November 16th.

Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi published “Using epigenetic modifiers to target cancer stem cell immunoevasion,” in Cancer Cell on December 13th, and will publish “MDSCs sneak Cancer stem cells (CSCs) out of (immuno)surveillance. CSCs are known for their superior tumor-initiating and tumor-repopulating potential, partly reflecting their pronounced ability to evade immune recognition.” Trends in Immunology Spotlight, January 01, 2022. Dr. Galluzzi also published “Radiotherapy as a tool to elicit clinically actionable signalling pathways in cancer,” with Drs. Lew Cantley and Laura Santambrogio in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology on November 24th; Multimodal immunostimulation to control BRCA1-defective ovarian carcinoma,” in Trends in Cancer on November 25th; “Control of host mitochondria by bacterial pathogens,” in Trends in Microbiology on October 13th; and “Immunological configuration of ovarian carcinoma: features and impact on disease outcome,” in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer on October 13th.

EIPM Members Drs. Paraskevi Giannakakou, Manish Shah, also of the Meyer Cancer Center, and I collaborated on a new paper in Developmental Cell that was featured on the WCM News Room, “Protein Variant Identified that Renders Chemotherapy Ineffective in Gastric Cancer,” website and repurposed on the EIPM website on December 6th. Drs. Shah, Giannakakou and I also collaborated on “CLIP-170S is a microtubule +TIP variant that confers resistance to taxanes by impairing drug-target engagement,” in Developmental Cell on October 20th.

Our former colleague Dr. Akanksha Verma, doctoral candidate Yajas Shah, and I collaborated on a new paper in Cell Reports on December 7th that was also featured on the WCM News Room, “Researchers Identify Significant Differences in Tumor Characteristics Between Younger and Older Cancer Patients,” website and repurposed on the EIPM website on December 7th.

Dr. Dolores J. Lamb co-authored an editorial under the headline, “Are worldwide sperm counts declining?,” in the journal Fertility and Sterility on December 1st.

Dr. Bishoy Faltas published the following Expert Commentary in UroToday: “Results of Bevacizumab-Chemotherapy Combinations for Patients with Advanced Urothelial Cancer,” on December 14th; “Immune Checkpoint Blockade and Targeted Agent Combos in Advanced Urothelial Cancer,” in UroToday on December 20th.

Dr. Vivek Mittal published “Copper depletion modulates mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to impair triple negative breast cancer metastasis,” in Nature Communications on December 15th.
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. Dr. Francesca Demichelis also co-authored “Charting differentially methylated regions in cancer with Rocker-meth,” in Nature Communications Biology, 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. Our former colleague Dr. Ankur Singh and I, together with a range of WCM colleagues, co-authored, “Extracellular Matrix in Synthetic Hydrogel-based Prostate Cancer Organoids Regulate Therapeutic Response to EZH2 and DRD2 inhibitors,” in Advanced Materials on October 22nd.

Joonghoon Auh, Michael Sigouros, and I co-authored, “Detecting neuroendocrine prostate cancer through tissue-informed cell-free DNA methylation analysis,” in Clinical Cancer Research on December 10th.

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