Dear Friend of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine,
Welcome to our final quarterly external newsletter of 2022!
It’s been a remarkably productive year, with staff winning numerous high-profile awards, participating in significant collaborative events, generating strong news media attention, and publishing impactful research on cancer, Covid-19, metabolic disease, cardiovascular research, Alzheimer’s and more. The hard work and dedication of our colleagues inspires me every day.
The work we do is always important to me, but it’s especially meaningful when we focus our attention and talents on areas of health, medicine, and science that have traditionally been overlooked. That’s why I was so impressed with the recent Precision Health Equity Symposium we hosted on October 27-28th with our friends from WCM’s Meyer Cancer Center (MCC) and NewYork-Presbyterian’s Dalio Center for Health Justice. I’d like to thank our friends at the MCC for partnering with us on a range of projects this year, including the joint MCC/EIPM summer 2022 internship program for STEM students! The students participated in sessions on cancer genomics, epidemiology, health disparities, and more. Thanks to all of our MCC/EIPM colleagues who volunteer their time to mentor and train the next generation of researchers.
This important work is only possible because of the financial support we receive from foundations, government agencies, corporate partners, and the individual donors who make all of these discoveries and breakthroughs possible. Twitter, Facebook and our main Instagram page for daily updates.I look forward to sharing new updates with you at the end of the first quarter of the new year. Until then, please follow us on
Thank you again for your interest in our work!
Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.
News Coverage & Awards
A $20 million gift from Andrew H. ’71 and Ann R. Tisch in December 2022 will foster engagement and collaboration between Cornell Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine, catalyzing new discoveries at the intersection of health and technology – ranging from precision, genomics-based medicine to the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve clinical care. The new department chair will collaborate with faculty from the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Cornell Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar. Cornell University’s Office of Academic Integration announced 14 new Multi-Investigator Seed Grants to foster multidisciplinary collaborations between Cornell’s Ithaca and New York City campuses – the latest in a series of efforts creating new opportunities for researchers to work together and leading to more than $64 million in federal funding over the past four years. The December 22nd announcement includes grants to Paraskevi Giannakakou, Iman Hajirasouliha, Shauna Houlihan and myself. Research by our EIPM colleague Dr. Steven M. Lipkin was featured in a Weill Cornell Newsroom article “To Trigger Crohn’s Disease, Pathogenic Bacteria Co-opt a Genetic Susceptibility,” on December 1st. I was honored to be interviewed for the article, “NIH Funds Research on Voice as a Biomarker for Detection of Disease,” about our recent Bridge2AI grant from the NIH with the University of South Florida and Owkin, in Oncology Times, on December 20th. Dr. Iman Hajirasouliha was interviewed for the article, “Artificial Intelligence Tool May Improve IVF Embryo Selection. An AI algorithm can help determine if an in vitro fertilized embryo has a normal or abnormal number of chromosomes with about 70 percent accuracy,” which appeared in Health IT Analytics on December 21st. A related article about Dr. Hajirasouliha’s Lancet Digital Health research (see below), “Harnessing artificial intelligence technology for IVF embryo selection,” was published in ScienceDaily on December 20th. Congratulations to our colleagues Drs. Steven M. Lipkin, Nasser Altorki, and Vivek Mittal, with Dr. Timothy McGraw, on their new a five-year $5.7 million 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. 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 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.
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. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Lisa A. Newman was interviewed for the article “Early Detection is Important in Breast Cancer Care,” by Weill Cornell Medicine’s Newsroom, October 5th. Dr. Newman also wrote the article, “All Types of Women Get Breast Cancer — So Why Do They Get Different Treatments?” on the Katie Couric Media website, October 14th.
Our Scientific Director Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli presented a number of posters during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium from December 6-10th. Dr. Eleni Andreopoulou was involved with important research presented at the same meeting, detailing results from a phase 3 adjuvant Clinical Trial combining everolimus with endocrine therapy for HR+/HER2- Breast Cancer patients. Our Grad Student Dylan McNally presented “The Single-Cell Pathology Landscape of Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma,” during the 64th ASH Annual Meeting on December 10th. Dr. Monica Guzman also presented, and was an abstract reviewer, at the 64th ASH Annual Meeting. Our colleague Dr. Jyotishman Pathak presented a Weill Cornell Medicine Special Seminar, “Biomedical Informatics at Weill Cornell – 2023 and Beyond,” on December 8th. Dr. Rachel Martini presented a paper, “African ancestry influence on the triple negative breast cancer tumor microenvironment from the Duffy-null allele,” with our Director of Health Equity Dr. Melissa B. Davis, Dr. Lisa A. Newman, and colleagues at the American Association for Cancer Research and Japanese Cancer Association 12th AACR-JCA Joint Conference on December 14th. 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! 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. Dr. Lisa A. Newman participated in “The Best of the Breast: Top Doctors Have a Candid Conversation About Cancer,” with Katie Couric on October 11th. The EIPM’s AI-XR Lab team, led by Alexandros Sigaras, presented their latest work at the 2022 Cornell XR Retreat on October 14th. The AI-XR Lab works with students, researchers, and faculty on a variety of AR/VR projects and courses. Mr. Sigaras also discussed using artificial intelligence and extended reality opportunities in clinical education and care delivery at WCM’s Center for Virtual Care’s VHC Symposium on October 21st. Several executives from Illumina and NewYork-Presbyterian toured our facilities on October 24th and met with our colleagues. A fun new Instagram account highlights many recent visitors to our facilities! Dr. Juan Miguel Mosquera from the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine department, and the EIPM, along with colleagues, are proud to share a record number of eighteen (18!) abstracts accepted at @USCAP2023! Publications
Our Director for Liquid Biopsy Research Dr. Pashtoon Kasi published a number of articles in December, including: “Genetic features and therapeutic relevance of emergent circulating tumor DNA alterations in refractory non-colorectal gastrointestinal cancers,” in Nature Communications on December 3rd. Dr. Kasi also published “Using Tumor-Informed Circulating Tumor DNA (ctDNA)-Based Testing for Patients with Anal Squamous Cell Carcinoma,” in The Oncologist on December 23rd.
“Management of Patients with Advanced Prostate Cancer. Part I: Intermediate-/High-risk and Locally Advanced Disease, Biochemical Relapse, and Side Effects of Hormonal Treatment: Report of the Advanced Prostate Cancer Consensus Conference 2022,” by Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg in European Urology on December 6th. The commentary “A Deep Learning method to map tissue architecture,” was published in Nature Reviews Genetics on December 9th in response to the paper, “Unsupervised discovery of tissue architecture in multiplexed imaging,” by EIPM’s June (Junbum) Kim, our former colleague Dr. André Rendeiro and myself. “Application of Deep Learning on Single-cell RNA Sequencing Data Analysis: A Review,” by myself and WCM colleagues in Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics, on December 14th. “A non-invasive artificial intelligence approach for the prediction of human blastocyst ploidy: a retrospective model development and validation study,” by Dr. Iman Hajirasouliha, Pantelis Zisimopoulos, Alexandros Sigaras, Dr. Pegah Khosravi, myself and WCM colleagues in The Lancet Digital Health on December 31st. “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-self–immunopeptidome,” 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. “Multi-Omic analyses characterize the ceramide/sphingomyelin pathway as a therapeutic target in Alzheimer’s disease,” in Nature Communications Biology, co-authored by Dr. Karsten Suhre on October 8th. “Host protein kinases required for SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid phosphorylation and viral replication,” in Science Signaling by Drs. Tomer M. Yaron, Alexander Kerelsky, Harel Weinstein, former colleague Danielle K. Bulaon, and myself with Meyer Cancer Center colleagues, et al, on October 25th. “Unsupervised discovery of tissue architecture in multiplexed imaging,” in Nature Methods by EIPM’s Dr. André F. Rendeiro, Dr. Juan Miguel Mosquera from the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine department, and the EIPM, and myself with additional WCM colleagues, on October 31st.
“Cooperative ETS transcription factors enforce adult endothelial cell fate and cardiovascular homeostasis,” by Dr. Shahin Rafii in Nature Cardiovascular Research on October 6th and covered by the Weill Cornell Medicine Newsroom.
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