CUIMC Update - Jan. 18, 2021

January 18, 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.


Day of Service Honors Martin Luther King Jr.   
CUIMC faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to participate in a day of service today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to honor the legacy of Dr. King. Read about the 2021 Day of Service here. Read about the incredible connection between Dr. King and two surgeons who later became VP&S faculty members here

CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassadors  
Front-line workers and others who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are sharing their perspectives on vaccination to encourage their colleagues to be vaccinated when they qualify. Since the first vaccine doses arrived last month, more than 6,900 Columbia employees and students have been vaccinated. See some of their stories and photos here. To share your story, email Full vaccination information is available on the COVID-19 resources site.

Thursday: CUIMC Town Hall on COVID Vaccines, Pregnancy, and Fertility  
On Jan. 21 at 1:30 p.m., a CUIMC-wide town hall will share current information about the use of COVID vaccines in women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy, as well as what is known about how the vaccines affect fertility in both women and men. The town hall will include a Q&A session. Registration via the link above is required; you will receive a confirmation email before the event with instructions for joining.

VP&S Bioethicist: Racial Injustice in U.S. Health Care Calls for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission   
Maya Sabatello, LLB, PhD, associate professor of medical sciences in the Division of Ethics in the Department of Medical Humanities & Ethics and in the Department of Medicine at VP&S, says a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is needed to confront the structural racism in health care highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Columbia Nursing Celebrates 2021 White Coat Ceremony   
On Jan. 6, the School of Nursing celebrated an important milestone as DNP students received their white coats at this year’s Virtual White Coat Ceremony. View a recording of the ceremony

Data Analysis by VP&S Researchers Finds Cancer’s Key Vulnerabilities
A new analysis of almost 10,000 patients by VP&S researchers found that tumors could be stratified into 112 subtypes regardless of the cancer’s origin. The analysis has the potential to streamline and improve cancer treatment. Read more.

Mailman’s Early Warning System Fills in Gaps in Infectious Disease Surveillance 
Mailman researchers have developed an infectious disease early warning system that extends coverage to areas that lack health clinics participating in the national infectious disease surveillance network. Read more

VP&S Study Finds One in Five Brain Cancers Fueled by Overactive Mitochondria
A new VP&S study has found that up to 20% of aggressive brain cancers are fueled by overactive mitochondria. New drugs in development may be able to starve the cancers. Read more


Columbia Science and Health Equity Lecture Series, The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Framework, Jan. 26, 4:30 p.m., register online.

The 2020 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize Lecture, Tracing the Road from the Genetic Dissection of Auditory Molecular Mechanisms to Hearing Restoration, Jan. 28, 10 a.m., register online

African, Black & Caribbean Employee Resource Group Presents: Virtual Events in Celebration of Black History Month 2021, Keynote Address: Mental Health, Racism and Trauma on Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m., Southern Style Cooking with Chef Cooley on Feb. 12 at 4 p.m., and Zuzu African Acrobats Performance on Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.



Yuefeng Huang, PhD, Microbiology & Immunology, will receive $1,987,575 over five years from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for “Elucidation of the Regulation and Function of Innate Lymphoid Cells.”

Sharon Oberfield, MD, Pediatrics, will receive $1,205,311 over five years from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for “Training Grant in Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.”


Mary Beth Terry, PhD, Epidemiology, will receive $1,152,318 over four years from the Department of the Army for “Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and Breast Cancer Risk.”



Juan Arriaga, PhD, Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics, and Jessica Hawley, MD, Medicine, have been awarded 2020 Young Investigator Awards by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Ted Shortliffe, MD, PhD, and Vimla Patel, PhD, Biomedical Informatics, were keynote speakers for the 2020 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Medicine.