January 2023 EIPM Director’s Memo

Dear Members of the Englander Institute,

As we begin the new year I’d like to thank everyone for their 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!

The EIPM received important support in December to fund collaborations across the Cornell campuses. A $20 million gift from the Tisch family was announced by Cornell University to foster engagement and collaboration between Cornell Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine to facilitate collaboration between the EIPM, Cornell Tech, and WCM-Qatar. And several of our colleagues, including Paraskevi Giannakakou, Iman Hajirasouliha, Shauna Houlihan and myself also received Multi-Investigator Seed Grants from Cornell University to foster collaborations between Cornell’s Ithaca and NYC campuses.

December also saw EIPM members playing leadership roles in major conferences, including the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, and a range of WCM events including the Meyer Cancer Center 360: Immunology and Cancer conference.

Several of our colleagues also published important new papers in December (see below), with our Director for Liquid Biopsy Research Dr. Pashtoon Kasi leading the way with three new impactful papers!

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


Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.

News Coverage & Awards
A $20 million gift from Andrew H. ’71 and Ann R. Tisch 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.

Dr. Scott T. Tagawa was interviewed for a number of articles recently including: “Society of Urologic Oncology 2022: Theranostics: The VISION Trial and Beyond,” which appeared in UroToday on December 1st; “Selectivity of patients, dosing play a role in the future evaluation of PSMA combinations in mCRPC,” which appeared in Urology Times on November 30th; “Dr. Tagawa on pivotal trials supporting use of 177Lu-PSMA-617 in prostate cancer,” in Urology Times on December 8th; and “Dr. Tagawa on next steps with PSMA-targeted therapies in prostate cancer,” in UrologyToday on December 7th. Dr. Tagawa was also recently interviewed by Targeted Oncology for the article “Radionuclide Approaches Gain Ground in Metastatic CRPC,” which ran on December 26th.

Dr. John P. Leonard was interviewed for the article, “Lenalidomide Plus Rituximab Improved PFS in 5-Year Follow-Up for R/R Indolent Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma,” which appeared in Cancer Network on December 10th.

Dr. Karsten Suhre was a guest on the Proteomics in Proximity podcast episode “Discussing the Proteome with Dr. Karsten Suhre,” on December 7th.

Dr. Bishoy Faltas provided UroToday with the Expert Commentary, “Urine Tests for Diagnosing Bladder Squamous Cell Carcinoma,” on December 2nd. Research by Dr. Faltas was also featured in the article, “A special enzyme may be a target for future cancer treatments. These mind-alerting findings will help future research to guide or restrict tumor evolution,” that appeared in Interesting Engineering on December 29th.

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.

Our Director for Liquid Biopsy Research Dr. Pashtoon Kasi was interviewed for the article, “Liquid biopsy continues its evolution in guiding cancer care,” that appeared in Healio on December 27th.

Dr. Ana Molina was interviewed for the article, “Investigators Expand Approaches in Adjuvant Renal Cell Carcinoma,” in Targeted Oncology on December 26th.

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.

The EIPM Molecular Aging Institute’s Clinical Director Dr. Pinkal Desai and our Associate Director for Precision Immunology Dr. Laura Santambrogio presented at the Meyer Cancer Center 360: Immunology and Cancer conference on December 5th.

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.

Dr. Shahin Rafii presented a Research Cores Seminar Series lecture, “Single-Cell Sequencing Technology, an Innovative Tool for Biology & Medicine,” on December 13th.

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.

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; “Colorectal Cancer Biosensor Using Vertically-Oriented Silicon Nanowires,” in IEEE XPlore Sensors on December 8th; and “Using Tumor-Informed Circulating Tumor DNA (ctDNA)-Based Testing for Patients with Anal Squamous Cell Carcinoma,” in The Oncologist on December 23rd.

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.

“The cytidine deaminase APOBEC3G contributes to cancer mutagenesis and clonal evolution in bladder cancer,” by our Director of Bladder Cancer Research Dr. Bishoy Morris Faltas, with Drs. Francesca Khani, Bhavneet Bhinder, Andrea Sboner from the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department and EIPM’s Director of Informatics and Computational Biology, myself and Ken Eng in Cancer Research on December 8th.

“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.

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