December 2022 EIPM Director’s Memo

Dear Members of the Englander Institute,

As we begin the last month of the year I’d like to thank all of you for your hard work, productivity, and dedication to our mission. It’s a great pleasure to work along side you, and I can hardly wait to see what the new year brings for us!

This month’s EIPM Director’s Memo highlights new grants from the NIH, NCI, and the CTSC, impressive news media coverage of our work, speaking events at major conferences, and exciting publications in leading journals.

We are still looking to fill several exciting new career opportunities at the EIPM, please share this information within your professional networks so we can quickly staff-up. The Krumsiek Lab is also looking for two PostDocs with experience in omics data analysis who are interested in driving collaborations in the context of Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Thank you again for your hard work and contributions to another successful year.


Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.

News Coverage & Awards
Congratulations to our colleagues Drs. Steven M. Lipkin, Nasser Altorki, and Vivek Mittal, with Dr. Timothy McGraw, on their new grant from the National Cancer Institute to fund the development of mRNA vaccines to prevent cancer in at-risk groups!

On November 14th the EIPM, along with our partners from the University of South Florida, received a $14 million grant from the NIH’s Bridge2AI Program that will help researchers identify vocal biomarkers using machine learning and data science.

The EIPM’s Director of Bladder Cancer Research Dr. Bishoy Faltas shared a CTSC Pilot Award with an MSK colleague, Dr. Jonathan Rosenberg, for their proposal: “Reinterpreting the pathogenicity of VUS in UC patients from diverse ancestries.” The EIPM’s Associate Director of Liver Research Dr. Shauna L. Houlihan and Dr. Emily Slotkin from MSK also shared a WCM Clinical and Translational Science Center Pilot Award on November 4th for their proposal “Identifying Therapeutic Vulnerabilities in Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor.”

Dr. Faltas wrote several Expert Commentary articles for UroToday in November, including: “Real-World Data to Derive Biomarkers of Response to Therapy in Patients with Metastatic Urothelial Cancer,” on November 8th; “First-Line Sequential Gemcitabine and Docetaxel Treatment for High-Risk Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer,” on November 9th; “Randomized Comparison Between Photodynamic Diagnosis and White Light-Guided TURBT in Patients with Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer,” on November 10th; “Association Between T Cell Exhaustion, Urinary Tumor DNA Levels, and BCG Failure in Bladder Cancer,” on November 15th; “Immune Response Mediates the Antitumor Activity of EZH2 Inhibition in Bladder Cancer,” on November 16th; “A Phase II Open-label Randomized Controlled Trial of Adjuvant Chemohyperthermia in Patients with Bladder Cancer,” on November 18th; and “The Efficacy of Chemoradiotherapy for Organ Preservation in Patients with Localized Bladder Cancer,” on November 21st. 

Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi was named a 2022 Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate in 3 distinct fields, an honor shared with only 31 other scientists worldwide! I was also humbled to once again be recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher, along with our colleague Dr. Richard Furman, on November 15th.

Our Molecular Aging Institute’s Clinical Director Dr. Pinkal Desai was interviewed for the article, “Innovations Are Poised to Lead MPN/MDS Treatment Landscape in a Positive Direction,” in OncLive on November 9th.

I was interviewed, along with Dr. André Rendeiro and grad student Junbum Kim, for several articles related to our new paper in Nature Methods, including: “New computational method maps architecture of human tissues in unprecedented detail,” in Science Advisory Board on November 1st; The Cornell Chronicle published “New Computational Method Builds Detailed Maps of Human Tissues on October 31st; and “Novel computational method maps the architecture of human tissues in unprecedented detail,” in Medical Life Sciences News on November 1st. I participated in a UroToday webcast with colleagues from Memorial Sloan Kettering and the University of Texas, “Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Identify and Diagnose Bladder Cancer,” on November 18th. I was also interviewed for the article “Did Anton the AI find a new treatment for a deadly cancer?” which appeared in Leaps on November 22nd.

Our Director of Health Equity Dr. Melissa B. Davis and Rachel Martini, a Postdoctoral Associate in Surgery at WCM, were interviewed for the article, “The Link Between African Ancestry & Triple-Negative Breast Cancer,” which appeared in Oncology Times on November 20th. Dr. Davis was also interviewed for the article, “CRISPR’s ‘ancestry problem’ misses cancer targets in those of African descent,” which appeared in Science on November 21st.

EIPM’s Hui-Hsuan (Helen) Kuo, a Ph.D. student, was interviewed for the article “Transforming cancer research with Corning’s bioprinter,” which appeared in The Corning Progress Report on November 17th.

The EIPM was cited in the article “Enabling Precision Therapy in Oncology: Liquid Biopsy Complements Tissue Testing for Comprehensive Genomic Profiling,” in LabCorp Oncology on November 20th.

Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg participated in a CancerNetwork panel discussion, “The Expanding Treatment Paradigm for Urothelial Carcinoma,” on November 19th.

Research by medical student Tomer Yaron was the focus of an article, “The N Protein, A New Target For Anti-Covid Drugs,” in Forbes on November 29th.

I was happy to present “Reverse-engineering the tumor microenvironment using single-cell resolution imaging, machine learning and tumor organoids,” before the Yale School of Medicine on November 1st. I also spoke at the WCM Biotech Club’s “Catalyzing Biotech,” Inaugural Event on November 11th.

Our Director of Health Equity Dr. Melissa B. Davis spoke at the People v. Cancer Summit hosted by The Atlantic on November 3rd. Dr. Davis also delivered the Black In Immuno Week ’22 Closing Keynote, “Resolving Race vs. Ancestry in Cancer Disparities Research,” on November 18th.

Alexandros Sigaras presented a poster “Building the Healthcare Metaverse: Leveraging Mixed Reality Guides to augment Standard Operating Procedures in a Precision Medicine Laboratory,” at #AMPath22 on November 5th.

Dr. Andrea Sboner from the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department, and our Director of Informatics and Computational Biology, participated in another NYC Marathon and, together with WCM and NY-P colleagues raised more than $29,000 for men’s health awareness and prostate cancer research!

Dr. Jonathan Hale Zippin presented a WCM Department of Pharmacology Seminar Series lecture, “cAMPing out on the dark side of melanoma,” on Nov. 15th.

Our Associate Director for Precision Immunology Dr. Laura Santambrogio was invited to present “Lymph Physiological and Immunological Role,” at the Gordon Research Conference on Lymphatics on November 3rd.

Our Director for Liquid Biopsy Research Dr. Pashtoon Kasi participated in two panel discussions during the Liquid Biopsy Surveillance and Early Detection Summit in Boston on November 16-17.

EIPM Members Drs. Pashtoon Kasi, Pinkal Desai, Richard Furman, Ana M. Molina, and Scott Tagawa spoke at the 40th Annual Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium in New York from November 9-11.

Our colleague Dr. John Leonard presented an “Update on Enterprise Innovation,” at WCM Enterprise Innovation’s Sixth Annual Symposium on Entrepreneurship and Academic Drug Development on Monday, November 14th.

“FORT-1: Phase II/III Study of Rogaratinib Versus Chemotherapy in Patients With Locally Advanced or Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma Selected Based on FGFR1/3 mRNA Expression,” published by Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on November 18th.

“Circulating tumour DNA characterisation of invasive lobular carcinoma in patients with metastatic breast cancer,” by  eBioMedicine, by our Scientific Director Massimo Cristofanilli December 2022.

“NK cells and solid tumors: Therapeutic potential and persisting obstacles,” co-authored by Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi in Molecular Cancer, November 2nd.

“African Ancestry–Associated Gene Expression Profiles in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Underlie Altered Tumor Biology and Clinical Outcome in Women of African Descent,” in Cancer Discovery on November 1st by our Director of Health Equity Dr. Melissa B. Davis, with Drs. Rachel Martini and Brittany Lord from WCM’s Dept. of Surgery; Drs. Esther Cheng, Paula Ginter, Syed Hoda, Andrea Sboner from WCM’s Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department; and the EIPM’s Princesca Delpe, Dr. Akanksha Verma, Lisa Newman, and myself. This paper provided inspiration for the journal’s cover art!

“The yin/yang balance of the MHC-selfimmunopeptidome,” by our Associate Director for Precision Immunology Dr. Laura Santambrogio in Frontiers in Immunology on November 2nd. Dr. Santambrogio also co-authoered the editorial “The broad spectrum of pathogenic autoreactivity,” in Nature Reviews Immunology on November 23rd.

“Identification of PCSK9-like human gene knockouts using metabolomics, proteomics, and whole-genome sequencing in a consanguineous population,” by Dr. Karsten Suhre in Cell Genomics on November 15th. Dr. Suhre also co-authored, “Metabolic and proteomic signatures of type 2 diabetes subtypes in an Arab population,” which appeared in Nature Communications on November 19th.

“Persistent alveolar type 2 dysfunction and lung structural derangement in post-acute COVID-19,” by our former colleague André F. Rendeiro, Hiranmayi Ravichandran, myself and current and former WCM colleagues in the preprint medRxiv, November 29th.

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