CUIMC Update - Jan. 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.


CUIMC Celebrates Black History Month
CUIMC has planned a series of events to celebrate Black History Month in February. These events, sponsored by CUIMC HR and the African, Black, and Caribbean Employee Resource Group, will culminate with a virtual celebration of Black history and culture on Feb. 17. 

  • CUIMC Unplugged: Ashley Keiko Performs, Feb. 9, 12 p.m., register here
  • Racial Trauma and Resilience Workshop, Feb. 15, 12 p.m., register here
  • 2022 Book Club Author: Ibram X. Kendil, Feb. 16, 6 p.m., register here
  • CUIMC BHM Virtual Celebration, Feb. 17, 4 p.m., register here

Mitch Stripling, MPA, to Lead Pandemic Response Institute
Mitch Stripling, MPA, the new director of the New York City Pandemic Response Institute, led by the Mailman School of Public Health and ICAP, discusses his vision for the institute. Read more.

Barbara Pro, MD, Named Clinical Director of Lymphoma at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Barbara Pro, MD, a national leader in lymphoma research and care, has been named clinical director of the lymphoma program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Widely recognized for her expertise in drug development for Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas, Dr. Pro has played a major role in large international studies evaluating new therapies for patients with aggressive T-cell lymphomas, which have led to FDA approvals of novel agents. Read more.

Promising ALS Therapy Moves Closer to Clinic
An experimental drug first tried at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in an effort to help a 25-year-old woman with juvenile ALS is now being tested in ALS patients in a global, phase 3 clinical trial. The trial is based on promising results from a new study at Columbia led by Neil Shneider, MD, PhD, director of the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center at VP&S. Read more.

The Virtual World of Cancer
Even for cancer researchers, it can be difficult to look at experimental data and images and understand what’s going on. Some Columbia researchers are donning virtual reality headsets to get a more immersive view. Read more

Columbia Nursing Celebrates its 130th Anniversary
A look back and a look ahead as Columbia Nursing celebrates 130 years of excellence and leadership. Read more.

Managing Thyroid Cancer without Surgery
Thyroid cancer rates have risen dramatically in the past few decades, likely due to the explosion of imaging technology—the more you look, the more you find. The increase is being addressed by active surveillance, a new non-surgical option appropriate for low-risk cancers. Read more.

A Nuanced Portrait of Addiction
Carl Fisher, MD, knows addiction intimately, from his work as a psychiatrist and his own personal history. He is author of "The Urge: Our History of Addiction," a book that interweaves medicine, psychology, sociology, and philosophy with his own experience as a clinician, researcher, and alcoholic in recovery. Read more.

Can Nutrient Supplements Prevent Glaucoma?
To mark the final day of Glaucoma Awareness Month, we celebrate the achievements of past and present Columbia glaucoma researchers Laszlo Bito, PhD, and Simon John, PhD. Read Dr. John's thoughts on the future of glaucoma, including a promising clinical study showing that simple nutrient supplements—vitamin B3 and pyruvate—may prevent glaucoma. Read more



Kristin Baldwin, PhD, Genetics & Development, will receive $288,000 over three years from the Simons Foundation for a subaward of “Genetic Contribution to Autism.”

Amin Ghabrial, PhD, Pathology & Cell Biology, will receive $1,343,588 over four years from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for “Competition and morphogenesis in tip cell-mediated branching of tubular networks.”

Ali Gharavi, MD, Medicine, will receive $2,691,668 over four years from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for “Elucidating IgA nephropathy through Genetic Studies of IgA1 Glycosylation”; $806,972 over three years from the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for “Genetic Determinants of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis in Mouse and Humans”; and $266,181 over three years from the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for a subaward of “Determinants of Aneurysm Formation in Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease.”

Maria Kwok, MD, Emergency Medicine, will receive $259,933 over five years from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for a subaward of “PRagMatic Pediatric Trial of Balanced versus NOrmaL Saline FlUid in Sepsis (PRoMPT BOLUS).”


Goleen Samari, PhD, Population & Family Health, will receive $654,210 over five years from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for “Migration, Dynamic Social Environments, and Birth Outcomes” and 350,000 over five years from the Grant (William T.) Foundation for “Reducing Harm from Structural Xenophobia for Reproductive Equity.”



April Ancheta, BS, PhD candidate, was elected student chair of the American Public Health Association LGBTQ Health Caucus.

Veronica Barcelona, PhD, MSN, received the International Society of Nurses in Genetics Founders' Award, established in 1996 to honor individual ISONG members who have demonstrated excellence in genomic nursing education, research, or service. 

Billy Caceres, PhD, and Suzanne Bakken, PhD, won a Paper of the Year award from the American Journal of Health Promotion for their manuscript titled “Sexual Identity and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Awareness of Heart Attack and Stroke Symptoms: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey.”

Amanda Hessels, PhD, MPH, was one of seven New Jersey nurses inducted into the American Academy of Nursing as cited in the January 22, 2022, issue of New Jersey Nurse.

Clare Cardo McKegney, DNP, was named among the NJ Favorite Kids’ Docs 2021 by New Jersey Family magazine.

Komal Murali, PhD, received the 2022 Emerging Leaders Award from the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. Read more.


Salim Abdool Karim, PhD, and Quarraisha Abdool Karim, PhD, were honored in Vietnam as two of the inaugural recipients of a VinFuture Special Prize for their groundbreaking research on HIV prevention in South Africa. Read more.


Michael M. Shen, PhD, Medicine, Genetics & Development, Urology, and Systems Biology at VP&S, and Gary W. Miller, PhD, Environmental Health Sciences at Mailman and Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics at VP&S, were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society, for their contributions to science. Read more


Employee Appreciation Meals have been extended through Feb. 18. Learn more.

Columbia Nursing Information Session (All Programs), Feb. 9, 3 p.m., register here

Columbia Commons IPE Day: Call for Abstracts, by Feb. 11, view guidelines

What Pediatricians and Obstetricians Should Know About Prenatal Genetic Testing Today, Feb. 16, 6 p.m., register here

For more events, visit the CUIMC Events listing.