CUIMC Update - January 3, 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.


Columbia Students Build Life-Improving Devices for Kids with Disabilities
VP&S students in the occupational and physical therapy programs designed and built low-cost adaptive devices to improve the lives of local children. For Faith, a 10-year-old born with achondroplasia, students created a lightweight step stool to give her more independence.

In Memoriam: Remembering Our Colleagues
CUIMC extends sympathy to the families and colleagues of community members who died in 2023.

Is Your Body Ready to Hit the Gym?
Your new year's resolution might involve getting in shape, but if you aren't a regular gym visitor, you should follow the steps outlined by Columbia primary care doctor Adam Makkawi, DO, to determine if you’re ready. 

VP&S Students Host the Latino Medical Student Association
The Black and Latino Student Organization at VP&S hosted the Latino Medical Student Association’s Fall House of Delegates conference for the first time in LMSA’s 50-year history, bringing more than 95 medical students from across the Northeast to our campus.

The Impact of Good Sleep Hygiene On Heart Health for Teens
More than 70% of U.S. teenagers do not get enough sleep, and research shows that lack of sleep is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease later in life. Brooke Aggarwal, EdD, a clinical health education specialist at VP&S, discusses her team's efforts to develop an educational program for high school students in Washington Heights and beyond to raise awareness of the need for sleep during the teenage years. 



Mailman School of Public Health

  • Jamie Daw, PhD, and Heidi Allen, PhD, Health Policy & Management
    $3,394,421 over four years from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for "The Postpartum Assessment of Women Survey (PAWS): Informing Medicaid Policies to Improve Health in the 'Fourth Trimester.'"
  • Nischay Mishra, PhD, Center for Infection and Immunity
    $568,141 over two years for a subaward from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for "Diagnosing and predicting risk in children with SARS-CoV-2 related illness."

Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

  • Jason Adelman, MD, Medicine
    $574,166 over two years for a subaward from the New York State Department of Health for "Using Health IT to Identify and Prevent Patient Safety Hazards."
  • Howard Andrews, PhD, Psychiatry
    $257,000 over two years from the National Institute on Aging for "Vitamin E Trial in Persons with Down Syndrome: Sharing Data with the Research Community."
  • Saptarshi Biswas, PhD, Neurology
    $267,916 over two years from the National Eye Institute for "The role of neuronal activity on retinal angiogenesis and blood retina barrier (BRB) maturation."
  • Judith Korner, MD, PhD, Medicine
    $3,137,517 over four years from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for "Association of genetic variation near the dopamine D2 receptor gene and other polymorphisms that modulate dopaminergic and opioid signaling on the weight loss response to naltrexone/bupropion." 
  • Uma Reddy, MD, and Noelia Zork, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology
    $2,487,180 over seven years from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for "Columbia University Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network Clinical Center."
  • Lorraine Symington, PhD, Microbiology & Immunology
    $3,476,950 over five years from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for "Mechanism and regulation of DNA double-strand break repair."
  • Masahiro Yamashita, PhD, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center
    $2,745,138 over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for "Evolutionary potential of HIV-1 capsid: mechanisms and consequences."


Social Media Snapshot

Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Congratulations to two #ColumbiaMed researchers who were elected this month to the National Academy of Inventors.

Henry Colecraft, PhD, the John C. Dalton Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, is a nationally recognized leader in the field of biophysics who studies how ion channels in cells function and how mutations in ion channels cause disease. He co-founded a company, Stablix, that is developing therapeutics based on his invention to treat a wide range of diseases.

Helen H. Lu, PhD, the Percy K. and Vida L.W. Hudson Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and professor of dental and craniofacial engineering in Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, is a leading researcher in regenerative materials and tissue engineering who has invented new devices for the treatment of periodontal diseases, ACL injuries, articular cartilage degeneration, and tendon repair.

Learn more:

In the News Highlights

  • Dry January tips, health benefits and terms to know — whether you're a gray-area drinker or just sober curious
    Jan. 1, 2024
    CBS News
    As the sober curious movement gains traction, with more people reassessing their relationship to alcohol, experts say they expect to see even more participants this January. "This year, it's actually becoming even more popular for people to engage in (Dry January) — people are thinking about taking a break from drinking either before or after the holidays," says Dr. Aimee Chiligiris, a clinical psychologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
  • With puberty starting earlier than ever, doctors urge greater awareness and care
    Dec 25, 2023
    NBC News
    Studies suggest early puberty may be linked to depression and anxiety. It may also increase the likelihood of developing eating disorders. Surprisingly, it can also keep children from growing to their full height because growth plates normally close toward the end of puberty. “Sometimes when kids go through puberty early, their bone age advances very quickly,” said Dr. Aviva Sopher, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
  • JN.1 Now Accounts for Nearly Half of U.S. Covid Cases
    Dec 27, 2023
    The New York Times
    Preliminary research shows that the updated Covid vaccines released in September produce antibodies effective against JN.1, which is distantly related to the XBB.1.5 variant that the vaccines were designed to target. “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.