CUIMC Update - January 10, 2024

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.


Steven Z. Miller Student Clinician’s Ceremony for VP&S Class of 2026
Second-year medical students in the Class of 2026 at VP&S celebrated their transition from classroom-based instruction to clinical education with the Steven Z. Miller Student Clinician’s Ceremony on Jan. 5, marking the beginning of the students’ Major Clinical Year.

Hope in Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
A clinical trial based on discoveries made by researchers in Columbia’s Pancreas Center is showing promising results for a combination therapy of cancer-fighting drugs. Jeff W., a patient enrolled in the clinical trial, says, “I was really lucky to be at Columbia at the right time in the right place to find these amazing doctors who care about curing pancreatic cancer.”

CUIMC's Top Instagram Posts for 2023
From bioengineered skin grafts to the White Coat ceremony to the CUIMC ice cream social, it was a busy year for @ColumbiaMed on Instagram! Take a look back at CUIMC's 10 most popular posts throughout the year. 

The Eight Vaccines You May Need
Adults can fall behind on their routine vaccinations because awareness for new vaccines is low and because many adults do not get regular checkups. Alexandra Brown, MD, a physician at Columbia Primary Care, discusses the vaccines recommended for adults and when to get them.

Look Out for Toxins in Your Neighborhood
From potentially toxic plants in parks to street vendors selling illegal pesticides, New York City is full of harmful substances, says Columbia toxicologist Adam Blumenberg, MD. Blumenberg shares more about poisons in our parks, medicine cabinets, and street corners as well as tips for prevention.

Masking Now Required For All Healthcare Personnel and Visitors
Following a sharp increase in respiratory illnesses and based on recommendations from the New York State Department of Health, all team members in inpatient and ambulatory clinical buildings are required to wear masks when interacting with patients and wherever team members gather in inpatient and outpatient areas. 



Mailman School of Public Health

  • Diana Hernandez, PhD, Sociomedical Sciences
    $352,657 over three years for a subaward from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for "Bronx Neighborhood Redevelopment and CVD in mid-life and older adults."
  • Manuela Orjuela, MD, Epidemiology
    $3,505,807 over four years from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for "Mental Health of Latino Adolescents Who Migrate without a Parent: Understanding Risk and Identifying Resilience and Coping Strategies."

Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

  • Robert Bauer, PhD, Medicine
    $298,956 over three years from the American Heart Association for "Genetic and Physiological Roles for C/EBPa in Hepatic Lipid Metabolism."
  • Henry Colecraft, PhD, Physiology & Cellular Biophysics, and Steven Marx, MD, Medicine
    $3,258,804 over four years from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for "L-type channel trafficking and modulation in heart."
  • David Ho, MD, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center
    $397,080 over one year from Enanta Pharmaceuticals for "SRA Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc."
  • John Mariani, MD, Psychiatry
    $511,845 over three years for a subaward from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for "Novel Adjuvanted Opioid Vaccine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder."
  • Anil Rustgi, MD, HICCC
    $1,842,910 over five years from the National Cancer Institute for "LIN28B promotes colorectal cancer differentiation and metastasis."
  • Kimara Targoff, MD, Pediatrics
    $2,561,989 over five years from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for "Mechanisms of myocardial regeneration mediated by Nkx2.5 in zebrafish."
  • Hynek Wichterle, PhD, Pathology & Cell Biology
    $1,196,160 over two years from Project A.L.S. for "Preclinical evaluation of genetic and pharmacological modulators of motor neuron vulnerability in ALS."


School of Nursing

Social Media Snapshot

Columbia University Irving Medical Center 

Lack of sleep in the teen years is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease later in life. Dr. Brooke Aggarwal and colleagues created an educational program called Reinforcing Essentials of Sleep for Teens (REST) program for high school students in Washington Heights and beyond.

In the News Highlights

  • JN.1 Now Accounts for Nearly Half of U.S. Covid Cases
    Dec 27, 2023
    The New York Times
    “For those who were recently infected or boosted, the cross-protection against JN.1 should be decent, based on our laboratory studies,” said Dr. David Ho, a virologist at Columbia University who led the research on JN.1 and Covid vaccines, which was released as a preprint paper in early December.
  • Meet the American Who Helped Save Millions of Newborn Babies, Dr. Virginia Apgar, Physician and Musician
    Jan 5, 2024
    Fox News Online
    Dr. Virginia Apgar is the namesake of a simple but powerful method of diagnosing the health of newborns one minute out of the womb. The Apgar score, known well to doctors and anxious parents, is credited with helping to save the lives of millions of babies in the United States and around the world. "She was a dynamic force and a leading woman in medicine who cut through problems like a hot knife through butter," Dr. John Truman, professor emeritus of pediatrics at Columbia University, told Fox News Digital in an interview.
    Apgar entered Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons on the eve of the Great Depression, one of only nine women in the class of 90. She blossomed professionally. Apgar became director of the new Division of Anesthesia at Presbyterian Hospital in 1938, the first woman to head a division at the hospital. She became full professor of anesthesiology back at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1949, the first woman there to hold the title.
  • 4 Simple Daily Health Resolutions That Matter More Than You Think
    Dec 31, 2023 
    CNN Online
    The good news is that a little effort to break up prolonged sitting with short bouts of standing and movement can make a big difference in your overall health. Standing and moving every hour for just five minutes is effective, according to a Columbia University study published in January that investigated the least amount of activity needed to counteract the negative health implications of excessive sitting.
  • The Columbia University study referenced here was led by Keith Diaz, the Florence Irving Associate Professor of Behavioral Medicine at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.