CUIMC Update - June 14, 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.


Celebrate Employee Appreciation Week
In recognition of the efforts of CUIMC faculty and staff during the past year, a virtual Employee Appreciation Week will be held June 21-25. Events include jazz performances, acupressure and visualization for stress relief, and restorative yoga, among others. Please save the date for the 2021 employee appreciation lunch to be held in person on Sept. 30.

VP&S Announces Vagelos Precision Medicine Pilot Award Grantees
Five teams of VP&S researchers have received annual Vagelos Precision Medicine Pilot Grants. The grants are jointly awarded by the Columbia Precision Medicine Initiative, the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Read more.

Steven Rosenberg Returns to Columbia as Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology at VP&S
Steven Rosenberg, MD, an expert in strabismus and pediatric ophthalmology and a graduate of VP&S, joined Columbia on June 1 as director of pediatric ophthalmology in the Department of Ophthalmology and the Anne S. Cohen Endowed Professor of Pediatric Ophthalmology at VP&S. Read more

VP&S Medical Students Welcome Incoming MD Class with “In the Heights”-Inspired Performance
Columbia’s newest MD students in the incoming Class of 2025 received an extra special welcome this year: a video performance by fellow medical students that provides a lively introduction to the medical campus and its surrounding neighborhood. The video—directed, produced, and edited by members of the VP&S Class of 2024—is based on songs from the Broadway hit musical "In the Heights." A movie adaptation of the musical opened last week in movie theaters and is also streaming on HBO Max.

Academy of Community and Public Service Inducts Members
Eighteen CUIMC faculty members who work to improve community health in CUIMC’s surrounding neighborhoods were inducted into the Academy of Community and Public Service during a virtual ceremony. Read more.

Black Barbershops Are Highly Cost-Effective Sites for Blood Pressure Treatment, Finds VP&S Study
Programs that bring pharmacists into Black-owned barbershops could dramatically improve hypertension control and reduce heart disease disparities among Black men at a relatively modest cost, according to a study by VP&S researchers. Read more

New VP&S Research Examines Treatment Options for “Stage Zero” Breast Cancer 
Opinions vary about how to treat ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), also known as “stage zero” breast cancer, but a new study by VP&S researchers suggests the optimal treatment for most women with this non-invasive breast cancer is surgery plus radiation. Read more

Mailman Researchers Find COVID-19 Pandemic Has Had Significant Impact on the Mental Health of Adolescents 
A new Mailman study shows that isolation during the pandemic has been universal and global, and it is having a clinically important, negative impact on young people who have not been in school during the pandemic. Read more



Sally Amundson, ScD, Center for Radiological Research, will receive $2,600,825 over four years from the National Cancer Institute for “Linear Energy Transfer (LET) Dependencies for Understanding Pancreatic Tumor Control and Relevant Molecular Endpoints in Support of RBE-Based Heavy-Ion Radiotherapy.”

Adam Brickman, PhD, Taub Institute, will receive $701,772 over three years for a subaward of “Novel Cognitive and Functional Measures for Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Trials: Sensitivity to Biomarkers” and $349,742 over one year for a subaward of “Ultrascale Machine Learning to Empower Discovery in Alzheimer’s Disease Biobanks.” Both awards are from the National Institute on Aging.

Philip De Jager, MD, PhD, Neurology, will receive $6,213,164 over four years from the National Institute on Aging for “Discovery and Validation of Genetic Variants Affecting Microglial Activation in Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Noemie Elhadad, PhD, Biomedical Informatics, will receive $500,000 over two years from Johnson & Johnson for “Development of Observational Studies for Medical Conditions/Indications to Highlight Differences in the Health Care of Women.”

Joseph Lee, DrPH, Sergievsky Center, will receive $10,057,379 over five years from the National Institutes of Health for a subaward of “Alzheimer’s Biomarker Consortium – Down Syndrome (ABC-DS).”

Maria Kwok, MD, Emergency Medicine, will receive $396,635 over five years from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for a subaward of "AZithromycin Therapy in Preschoolers with a Severe Wheezing Episode Diagnosed at the Emergency Department (AZ-SWED)."

Muredach Reilly, MBBCh, vice dean for research, will receive $8,000,000 over three years from the Office of the NIH Director for “Creation of an Institutional Biobanking Facility.”



Conquer Cancer and the American Society of Clinical Oncology Foundation have recognized seven young investigators for their research. Read more.

Career Development Award: 

  • Alexander Melamed, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Young Investigator Award: 

  • Rohan Maniar, MD, Medicine
  • Julia McGuinness, MD, Medicine
  • Yoanna Pumpalova, MD, Medicine 
  • Winston Wong, MD, Medicine

ASCO Merit Award:

  • Morgan Lichtenstein, MD, Medicine 
  • Julia McGuinness, MD, Medicine
  • Jay Oza, MD, PhD, Medicine
  • Yoanna Pumpalova, MD, Medicine 

Larry Abbott, PhD, Neuroscience, has been chosen to co-lead the Kavli Institute for Brain Science. Read more


CUIMC Disability Employee Resource Group Presents: Best Practices for Disability Inclusion & Awareness, June 15, 1 p.m., register here

Return to Campus Update Forum, June 15, 4 p.m., register here

Designing Anti-Racist Case Studies: A Two-Part Workshop Series, June 16, 8:30-11:30 a.m., register here.

CUIMC Women Employee Resource Group Presents: Roundtable Conversation on the Art of Salary Negotiation, June 16, noon, register here

School of Nursing Office of Scholarship & Research, Reach for Research Excellence (REX) Seminar: Dr. Hyochol Brian Ahn, June 16, noon, register here

CUIMC’s African, Black & Caribbean, Asian Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups Present: Upstander & Allyship Workshop on Addressing Hate and Violence, June 16, 2 p.m., register here

Columbia Nursing PhD Virtual Information Session, June 17, 4 p.m., register here.  

Friday Webinar Series on Leadership: International Nurses Day 2021, June 18, 25, 10 a.m., register here

ICAP Grand Rounds Webinar: Addressing Cancer in LMICs – Progress and Plans at the US National Cancer Institute, June 29, 9 a.m., register here

For more events, visit the CUIMC Events listing.