CUIMC Update - August 31, 2022

CUIMC Update is a weekly e-newsletter featuring medical center news and the accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and trainees. Please send your news, honors, and awards to Grants are provided by the Sponsored Projects Administration office.


ICYMI: Dean Armstrong and Tonya Richards Present Employee Storytelling Series
In recognition and celebration of diversity at CUIMC, Katrina Armstrong, MD, chief executive officer of CUIMC and dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, discusses translating CUIMC’s DEI initiatives into action with Tonya Richards, chief DEI officer for staff at CUIMC. Listen to their conversation and watch videos here of six CUIMC employees sharing how they take advantage of DEI resources at CUIMC. 

College of Dental Medicine Welcomes Class of 2026 at White Coat Ceremony 
The College of Dental Medicine welcomed 84 members of the Class of 2026 into the Columbia family and the dental profession at a White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 8. It is the most diverse class that CDM has ever enrolled, with 28.6% of students from groups underrepresented in dentistry. Read more. 

Polio Q&A with Vincent Racaniello
More than 90% of Americans have been immunized against polio, but the news that polio has been identified in patients and wastewater has many wondering if they’re at risk of becoming infected. Vincent Racaniello, PhD, a poliovirus expert at VP&S, answers common questions and explains what the presence of the virus right now means for public health. Read more.  

The Next Revolution in Gene Editing 
New findings may help Columbia researchers develop a gene editing tool that can make more precise edits than the original technology, CRISPR-Cas9. Read more.

The 7 Vaccines Adults May Need
The coming COVID boosters aren't the only vaccines adults should consider. Many adults can fall behind on their vaccinations because some vaccines are relatively new and awareness is low and because many adults do not get regular medical checkups. Alexandra Brown, MD, a primary care physician at Columbia Primary Care, discusses the vaccines all adults need and when to get them. Read more.


TISSUE TALKS: George Daley, Harvard Medical School
Sept. 7, 3 p.m., online
Register here.

Public Safety Security Awareness Day
Sept. 9, 10 a.m., Hammer Health Sciences Center
Read more.

Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day
Sept. 14, 9 a.m., Washington, D.C.
Deadline extended: The deadline to register has been extended to Sept. 7. 
Register here.

The Biology of Aging Special Seminar Series Presents Dr. Amita Sehgal
Sept. 14, 12 p.m., online
Register here.

New Frontiers in Cancer Research and Care: The Next 50 Years
Sept. 15, 1:30 p.m., Vagelos Education Center
Read more.

Back to School Webinar: Spotlight on Sports Medicine for Kids 
Sept. 20, 6 p.m., online
Read more.

For more events, visit the CUIMC Events listing.



Uttiya Basu, PhD, Microbiology & Immunology: $3,949,144 over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for “Role of ncRNA Surveillance Complex "RNA Exosome" in Class Switch Recombination and Somatic Hypermutation.” 

Adolfo Ferrando, MD, PhD, and Raul Rabadan, PhD, Institute for Cancer Genetics: $2,500,000 over five years from the National Institute on Aging for “The role of PHF6 in the control of hematopoietic stem cell aging.” 

Ari Shechter, PhD, and Bernard Chang, MD, PhD, Medicine: $3,845,860 over five years from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for “Psychological symptoms in healthcare workers following the COVID-19 pandemic and relationship to long-term cardiovascular risk.” 


Anne Nigra, PhD, Environmental Health Sciences: $2,025,000 over five years from the Office of the NIH Director for “Public Drinking Water Contaminants and Infant Health: Advancing Environmental Justice.” 

Charles Branas, PhD, Epidemiology: $1,961,579 over three years from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for “A Nationwide Case-Control Study of Firearm Violence Prevention Tactics and Policies in K-12 Schools.” 

Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, ICAP: $1,594,500 over two years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for a subaward of “Co VPN 3008: Multi-Center, Randomized, Efficacy Study of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine in Regions with SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern.” 

Yen Pottinger, PhD, ICAP: $800,000 over one year from the Foundation of Innovative New Diagnostics for “Implementation of COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test in South Sudan.” 

Jeremy Kane, PhD, Epidemiology: $373,578 over five years from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for a subaward of “Zambia Alabama HIV Alcohol Comorbidities Program (ZAMBAMA).” 

Miriam Rabkin, MD, ICAP: $1,100,386 over one year from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for “Long Term Technical Service Providers for HIV Differentiated Service Delivery Strategic Initiative.” 

Suzue Saito, PhD, ICAP: $5,483,912 over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief for “Enhancing Global Health Security: Strengthening Public Health Surveillance Systems and Preparedness Globally.” 



Three CUIMC faculty are among the 86 individuals named by Crain's as 2022 Notable Health Care Leaders: Linda Fried, MD, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health; Judy Honig, EdD, DNP, vice dean of academics and dean of students at the School of Nursing; and Jordan Orange, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at VP&S.

Katrina Armstrong, MD, chief executive officer of CUIMC and dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Steven Corwin, MD, president and chief executive officer of NewYork-Presbyterian, were recognized on City and State’s 2022 Manhattan Power 100 list. 


Screenshot of a post from Columbia Medicine's Instagram account


Opinion: Is There a Gender Gap When it Comes to Loneliness? This Public Health Expert Thinks So.
Aug 19, 2022 - This epidemic is global and growing, with women 65 and older experiencing increased isolation and a more acute sense of relational loneliness – the lack of quality friendships and family connections – than their male counterparts. 

Editor's Note: Linda Fried, the author of this opinion piece, is dean of the Mailman School of Public Health.

The Wall Street Journal
What to Know About Polio Symptoms, Vaccines, and the Virus’s Spread in New York
Aug 22, 2022 - The inactivated polio vaccine used in the U.S. prevents vaccinated people from developing paralysis but not from getting infected and potentially spreading the virus. That means it is possible that the poliovirus detected in wastewater samples could come from either vaccinated or unvaccinated people, said Vincent Racaniello, a microbiology and immunology professor at Columbia University who studies the poliovirus. 

US News and World Report
LSD Is Making a Comeback Among Young Americans
Aug 23, 2022 - "According to our results, hallucinogen use is a growing public health concern, warranting prevention strategies given the growing risk of unsupervised use," said lead researcher Dr. Ofir Livne. He's a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.