CUIMC Update - February 22, 2023

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.


Featured Columbia Voices: Black History Month
Black History Month offers an opportunity to reflect on the Black experience as part of American history and to pause and acknowledge the work that is yet to be done. Hear from CUIMC faculty members about what Black History Month means to them. Read more and visit the ColumbiaMed Instagram account to see related videos.

Dental Students Care for Community Through Columbia-Harlem Homeless Medical Partnership
Through the Columbia-Harlem Homeless Medical Partnership, students at the Columbia College of Dental Medicine join other students to provide free care to the unhoused, underinsured, and underserved population of New York City’s West Harlem neighborhood. The program operates out of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at 126th Street and, more recently, through CDM’s new dental van. Read more.

VP&S Anti-Racism Coalition Holds Kickoff Meeting
More than 80 students, staff, and faculty members attended the kickoff meeting of the VP&S Anti-Racism Coalition, which introduced the goals of the coalition and the three sub-committees that will work to transform CUIMC’s serving and learning environment toward racial justice. Read more.

Teenage Patient Gives Back to Columbia Hematology/Oncology Clinic
For his bar mitzvah project, 14-year-old Hudson chose to give back to the team at Columbia who took care of him as a baby, donating funds as well as his artwork to the children’s hematology and oncology clinic. The clinic has created a waiting room activity based on Hudson’s artwork, encouraging patients and their families to color and use glitter and stickers to bring the drawings to life. Read more.

Why it's Important to Brush Baby Teeth, and More Tips for Tiny Teeth from a Columbia Dentist
They may be tiny, but baby teeth still need care. Most children do not have the dexterity to brush properly until about age 6 years, so parents and caregivers are primarily responsible for children's oral health. Columbia pediatric dentist Richard Yoon, DDS, answers questions adult caregivers and kids ask him about baby teeth. Read more.


Columbia University 7th Annual Engineering in Medicine Symposium
Feb. 23, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., online
Register here.

Demystifying Publishing and Promoting Medical Activism with The Lancet
Feb. 23, 3 p.m., Vagelos Education Center, 104 Haven Avenue, Clyde and Helen Wu Auditorium
Register here.

Patterns & Determinants of Racialized Inequities in Health & Aging
Feb. 27, 11:30 a.m., online
Register here.

Current Landscape: Treatment and Screening of HPV-mediated Disorders
Feb. 27, 5:30 p.m., online
Register here.

Reimagining the VP&S Curriculum Retreat
Feb. 28, 1 p.m., Vagelos Education Center, 104 Haven Avenue, Room 401
Register here.

Ethics Grand Rounds: Improving Equity, Transparency, and Accountability in Research in the Age of Mass Incarceration
March 1, 12 p.m., online
Register here.

Tissue Talks: Rashid Bashir, University of Illinois at U-C
March 1, 3 p.m., online
Register here.

Sundeep Khosla, MD, to present the Cartwright Lecture
March 1, 4:30 p.m., Black Building, 650 W. 168 St., Alumni Auditorium and Schaefer Awards Gallery
Register here.

Pediatric Obesity: An Expert Review of the New AAP Guidelines
March 1, 6 p.m., online
Register here.



Allison Aiello, PhD, Epidemiology: $289,651 over three years for a subaward from the National Institute on Aging for "The Microbiome and Biological Aging in the Add Health Study."

Adana Llanos, PhD, Epidemiology: $1,549,760 over four years from the National Cancer Institute for "Impact of Allostatic Load and Neighborhood Contextual Factors on Breast Cancer in the Women’s Health Initiative."

Suzue Saito, PhD, ICAP: $1,985,268 over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for "Strengthening the SI Capacity of MOH HIV/AIDS Prevention C&T in DRC."


Jean-Marie Bruzzese, PhD: $3,165,885 over four years from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for "The Efficacy of CAMP Air, a Web-based Asthma Intervention, Among Urban Adolescents with Uncontrolled Asthma."


Dritan Agalliu, PhD, Neurology: $441,853 over two years from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for "Elucidating the role of RXRA in the myeloid lineage in post-infectious basal ganglia encephalitis."

Kate Fitzgerald, MD, Psychiatry: $1,647,148 over one year from the National Institute of Mental Health for "Neurally targeted group intervention to reduce early childhood anxiety."

Benjamin Izar, Medicine: $2,036,353 over five years from the National Cancer Institute for "The role of the CD58:CD2 axis in cancer immune evasion and resistance to immunotherapy."

Chao Lu, PhD, Genetics & Development: $1,215,310 over five years for a subaward from the National Cancer Institute for "Molecular basis for aberrant de novo DNA methylation in cancer."

Alison Taylor, PhD, Pathology & Cell Biology: $2,037,930 over five years from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for "Functional Understanding of Chromosome Arm Aneuploidies."

Timothy Cragin Wang, MD, Medicine: $300,000 over two years from the Torrey Foundation for "Targeting Myeloid Cells to Enhance Immunotherapy Targeting T cells."



Penelope Buschman has received the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award.


Maria Diaz, MD, Neurology; Joel Gabre, MD, Medicine; Jerard Z. Kneifati-Hayek, MD, Medicine; Ryan Moy, MD, PhD, Medicine; Benjamin Ranard, MD, postdoctoral fellow; and Deborah A. Theodore, MD, Medicine, received Clinical Trialist Early Career Development Scholars Awards from the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

Churl-Su Kwon, MD, Neurology; Nadia Liyanage-Don, MD, Medicine; and Meghan Reading Turchioe, PhD, Nursing, are among the first cohort of Health Equity Scholars selected by the COMMUNITY Center Investigator Development Core Program.

David Fidock, PhD, Microbiology & Immunology, has been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology.

Aleksandar Obradovic, MD/PhD candidate, was awarded the 2023 Michelson Philanthropies & Science Prize.

Anil K. Rustgi, MD, Medicine, was awarded the William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology from the American Gastroenterological Association.

Bo Shen, MD, Medicine, was awarded the Distinguished Clinician Award in Academic Practice from the American Gastroenterological Association.



The New York Times
Many Personal Care Products Contain Harmful Chemicals. Here’s What to Do About It.
Feb 15, 2023 - “One approach is to reduce the things that you’re putting directly on your skin and that stay there for long periods of time,” said Ami Zota, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

USA Today
Why a Pipeline Project in Houston Is Raising Concerns Over Environmental Racism
Feb 14, 2023 - The “genesis of environmental justice research was in Houston," said Joan Casey, an environmental epidemiologist at the University of Washington and at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

TODAY Online
New Study Reveals Pancreatic Cancer Rates Are Rising Fastest in Young Women. It’s Unclear Why
Feb 14, 2023 - The trend of rising rates of early onset cancer is important, “and it’s not just pancreatic cancer,” Dr. Fay Kastrinos, director of the Muzzi Mirza Pancreatic Cancer Prevention and Genetics Program at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, tells