CUIMC Update - Feb. 16, 2021

February 16, 2021

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.


Spirit of Volunteerism on Display at Armory Vaccination Site        
More than 1,700 members of the Columbia community volunteered to help staff the Armory vaccination site within a week after a request for volunteers was announced. Since then, Columbians have helped vaccinate thousands of eligible health care workers and community members. Read about the experience of volunteers working at the site, including one volunteer’s description of the experience as “one of the most rewarding things that I have done in a long, long time.”

What Do We Know about the COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy?    
Pregnant women face greater risks to their health from COVID-19 than the general population and should be offered a vaccine if eligible, say VP&S experts. Read more

Mailman Professor Contributes to Lancet Report on Health Harms of the Trump Era
Merlin Chowkwanyun, PhD, the Donald H. Gemson Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Mailman, is among the contributors to The Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era, a new report that assesses the many negative repercussions of President Trump’s policies on the health of people living in the United States and beyond while suggesting that the renewed energy of contemporary social movements may presage a more progressive future. Read more

VP&S Study: Critical Flaw Found in Lab Models of the Human Blood-Brain Barrier  
Cells used to study the human blood-brain barrier in the lab are not what they seem, a new study by VP&S researchers has found, throwing nearly a decade’s worth of research into question. Read more

Mailman Study Finds Allergy Seasons Worsening and Climate Change Playing a Significant Role
If allergy season seems extra long, it's not your imagination. Human-caused climate change is responsible for longer pollen seasons since 1990, according to a new Mailman study. Read more


Nurses Belong on the Hill: A Conversation with U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood, today, 2 p.m., register online

School of Nursing General Virtual Information Session, Feb. 17, 3 p.m., register online.

2021 Symposium on Vaccines and Global Health, Feb. 22-26, register online

Columbia Synapse Spring 2021 Conference: The Social Brain, March 13-14, register online.



Michael Boland, PhD, Institute for Genomic Medicine, will receive $758,461 over three years from the Simons Foundation for “Development of Genetic Therapies for STXBP1 Haploinsufficiency.”

Scott Small, MD, Taub Institute, will receive $250,000 over one year from the Simons Foundation for “SPI Rubin: Understanding How Blood-Borne Factors Improve the Function of the Aging Brain.”


Harriet Nuwagaba-Biribonwoha, MD, PhD, ICAP, will receive $6,788,761 over five years from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for “Strengthening National Epidemiologic and Research Capacity to Track the HIV/TB Epidemic and Improve Health Outcomes in the Kingdom of Eswatini under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).”


Cindy Veldhuis, PhD, will receive $315,569 over two years from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for “A Mixed-Methods Approach to Understanding Stress and Hazardous Drinking Among Same-Sex Female Couples.”



The Department of Neurology has presented Professionalism, Respect, Initiative, Dedication and Excellence (PRIDE) awards for Q2 to Barbara Almeida, Clinical Operations, James Caicedo, Research, and Qaiser Malik, Administration. 

Aaron Viny, MD, Medicine, has been awarded a prestigious Scholar Award from the American Society of Hematology. Read more.