Spring 2022 EIPM Newsletter

Spring 2022Dear Friend of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine,Welcome to our first quarterly newsletter of 2022!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 December.Already this year our staff has won numerous high-profile awards, participated in significant collaborative events, attracted strong news media attention, and published impactful research highlighted below. None of this could be possible, of course, without our tremendous team. Their hard work and dedication inspire me every day.Several members of our leadership team including Scientific Director Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli, Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg, and ourMolecular Aging Institute’s Clinical Director Dr. Pinkal Desai was featured in a Weill Cornell Medicine social media campaign recognizing National Doctor’s Day on March 30th. On March 8th we celebrated International Women’s Day and paid tribute (left) to some of the women who motivate us every day by showcasing them on our social media channels. And on the International Day of Women & Girls in Science on February 11th we ran our own a social media campaign highlighting the contribution our female staff are making towards advancing science and speeding new treatments to patients. Thank you for your interest in our work and mission. I look forward to sharing more information with you at the end of the second quarter. Until then, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for daily updates.Thank you again for your interest in our work!Sincerely,Olivier Elemento, Ph.D. EIPM DirectorMeet 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 research interests and background.We recently 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. BrownNiroshana Anandasabapathy, Cora N. Sternberg, and Melissa B. Davis. The videos are hosted on our YouTube channel, which I encourage you to explore. Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli is the new Scientific Director of the EIPM. With experience as Associate Director of Translational Research and Precision Medicine at Northwestern Medicine, Dr. Cristofanilli is an expert in the treatment of patients with inflammatory breast cancer and has led the development of novel diagnostic and prognostic markers in primary and metastatic breast cancer.

Dr. Pashtoon Kasi is the EIPM’s new Director for Liquid Biopsy Research. Dr. Kasi is an oncologist and researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital where he focuses on treating patients with gastrointestinal cancers and in the treatment of patients with novel drugs/early-phase clinical trials. He also serves as the Director for Colorectal Cancer Research at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Majd Al Assaad is a Research Fellow in Precision Medicine in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and a new Member of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine. He worked as an Oncology Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the American University of Beirut Medical Center before completing one year of pathology residency at the same institution. We recently posted an interview with Dr. Al Assaad on the News page of our website. We hope you enjoy learning more about his background and research interests.News Coverage & Awards Congratulations to our colleague Dr. Niroshana Anandasabapathy on a $3.6M research grant announced March 9th from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for a study entitled, “Interrogating unique DC adaptations to tissue to promote barrier immunity and tolerance.”Congratulations to Dr. Allyson Ocean for being named by Medika Life on March 15th to the “50 Most Influential Voices in Healthcare for 2022–The People with the Potential to Change Health for the Better, Globally.” Dr. Iman Hajirasouliha won a Starr Cancer Consortium award for the project “Weakly-supervised tumor purity prediction from H&E-stained slides,” which was announced on March 10th. Bloomberg News recently published a profile of our work in the article, “The Next Life-Saving Innovation in Medicine May Be Developed Only for You. Meet the physician-scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine combating disease with extreme precision,” interviewing Alex Sigaras, Dean Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, and myself on March 7th.Dr. Melissa B. Davis was interviewed for the article, “Black Americans Have the Highest Cancer Death Rates in the U.S.; Let’s Close the Gap in Cancer Care For Black History Month and Beyond,” which appeared in SurvivorNet on March 10th. Dr. Bishoy M. Faltas received the Young Physician-Scientist Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation. The award was announced on March 3rd. Dr. Faltas was also interviewed for The ASCO Post article, “Groundbreaking Developments in Urothelial, Prostate, and Renal Cell Cancers Pave the Way for Future Progress, which ran on March 18th. Dr. Shahin Raffi and colleagues received a $500,000 grant from JDRF to evaluate an innovative approach to islet cell transplantation, an experimental treatment for type 1 diabetes. Dr. Lisa Newman was interviewed for the article, “Black Women and Breast Cancer: Experts Discuss Shortcomings in Care,” which appeared in Clinical Oncology News on March 2nd. NewYork-Presbyterian published an article, “Novel Technique Provides Insights into Lung Pathology in COVID-19,” on their website quoting myself and our WCM colleagues Drs. Alain Borczuk and Robert E. Schwartz on March 11th. I was also interviewed for the article “Emerging Issues Regarding Artificial Intelligence in Cancer Research and Clinical Practice,” which ran in The ASCO Post on March 10th.  EventsDr. Melissa B. Davis presented a Pre-Cancer Atlas Seminar Series lecture before MD Anderson colleagues, “Disparities in Cancer – Filling in the Gaps,” on January 13th. EIPM’s Director for Liquid Biopsy Research Dr. Pashtoon Kasi spoke at the 6th Annual Liquid Biopsy for Precision Oncology Summit on February 11-12th.

Drs. Juan Miguel Mosquera (near left) of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine department, and the EIPM, along with WCM’s Dr. Jones Nauseef, presented during the New York Genome Center’s “Polyethnic 1000 Consortium,” meeting on February 14th.Dr. Iman Hajirasouliha of the EIPM and MCC presented a WCMC ICB Research in Progress Seminar, “Deep Learning in Embryology, Pathology, and Genomics,” on Feb. 25th.Alex Sigaras presented a WCM Institute for Computational Biomedicine Research in Progress Seminar, “Metaverse: The Next Frontier in Medicine?” on March 18th. PublicationsClinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg and colleagues published, “Darolutamide and Survival in Metastatic, Hormone-Sensitive Prostate Cancer,” in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 17th. Dr. Sternberg and colleagues also published, “Primary results of STRONG: An open-label, multicenter, phase 3b study of fixed-dose durvalumab monotherapy in previously treated patients with urinary tract carcinoma,” in the March edition of the European Journal of CancerDr. Bishoy M. Faltas and colleagues Drs. Scott T. Tagawa, Ana M. Molina, Cora N. Sternberg, David M. Nanus, and I published “Serial ctDNA analysis predicts clinical progression in patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma,” in the British Journal of Cancer on January 19th. Current and former EIPM colleagues Drs. Brittany D. Lord, Rachel N. Martini and Melissa B. Davis collaborated on the publication, “Understanding how genetic ancestry may influence cancer development,” which appeared in Trends in Cancer on January 6th. Drs. André F Rendeiro, Jan Krumsiek, and I, along with several WCM investigators, published, “Metabolic and Immune Markers for Precise Monitoring of COVID-19 Severity and Treatment,” in Frontiers in Immunology on January 12th.EIPM Member Dr. Ana M. Molina, with WCM Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Professor and EIPM’s Director of Research Pathology Dr. Juan Miguel Mosquera, WCM Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Professor and EIPM’s Director of Informatics and Computational Biology Dr. Andrea Sboner, together with EIPM colleagues Johannes C. van der Mijn, Kenneth W. Eng, Pooja Chandra, Evan Fernandez, Sinan Ramazanoglu, Alexandros Sigaras, Drs. Scott T. Tagawa, David M. Nanus, Bishoy Faltas, former colleague Himisha Beltran, Cora N Sternberg, and myself published “The genomic landscape of metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma after systemic therapy,” in Molecular Oncology on March 1st. EIPM colleagues Drs. Scott Kulm, B. Eng, Lior Kofman and I collaborated on the publication, “Simple Linear Cancer Risk Prediction Models With Novel Features Outperform Complex Approaches,” which appeared in Clinical Cancer Informatics on March 3rd.

Dr. Dolores (Dorrie) Lamb and collages published, “Leptin secreted from testicular microenvironment modulates hedgehog signaling to augment the endogenous function of Leydig cells,” in Cell Death & Disease on March 4th. EIPM Scientific Director Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli and colleagues published “Modeling the Prognostic Impact of Circulating Tumor Cells Enumeration in Metastatic Breast Cancer for Clinical Trial Design Simulation,” in The Oncologist on MarchWCM Pathology and Laboratory Medicine’s Dr. Matija Snuderl; Pathology and Laboratory Medicine/EIPM Members Drs. Andrea Sboner, David J. Pisapia, Juan Miguel Mosquera and myself, with EIPM’s Dr. Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Prajwal Rajappa, Heng Pan, Tuo Zhang, with Kenneth Eng and Rohan Bareja, published “Utility of Multimodality Molecular Profiling for Pediatric Patients with Central Nervous System Tumors,” in Neuro-Oncology Advances, on March 10th. Dr. Allyson Ocean and colleagues published “Twitter Conversations About Pancreatic Cancer by Health Care Providers and the General Public: Thematic Analysis,” in JMIR Cancer on March 24th.Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi published the commentary, “BAX and BAK dynamics control mitochondrial DNA release during apoptosis,” in Cell Death and Differentiation on March 26th.

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