CUIMC Update - June 28, 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.


Reminder: 2021 VP&S State of the School 
Anil K. Rustgi, MD, Interim Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, will update the medical school's community on highlights of the 2020-2021 academic year at a virtual State of the School event on June 30 at 4 p.m. Register here

Streaming Online: PBS Docuseries Inspired by the Work of VP&S Psychiatry Chair 
"Mysteries of Mental Illness," a new PBS documentary inspired by the work of Jeffrey A. Lieberman, chair of the VP&S Department of Psychiatry, is available to stream online at The documentary explores mental illness in historical, scientific, and social contexts and also features VP&S and Mailman experts Angela Coombs, Sidney Hankerson, Ashwin Vasan, George Makari, and Ronald Bayer.

In addition, Dr. Lieberman will join other mental health experts and advocates in a live virtual panel discussion on June 28 at 7 p.m. to explore the topic of America’s stigma surrounding mental illness. Register online

Men’s Health Awareness Month: A New Type of Men's Health Program Opens 
Joseph Alukal, MD, Urology, is leading a new men’s health program at NYP that is making it easier for men in the New York area to get coordinated and personalized health care. Read more.

Disrupting the Effects of Racism Among VP&S Students 
VP&S psychiatrist Jean-Marie Alves-Bradford, MD, is helping medical students identify ways to disrupt racism in their lives and cope with racialized trauma. Read more.

Pride and Health Care: Why Welcoming Providers Are Essential for LGBTQ+ Health 
Finding a welcoming health care provider is not always easy for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming (LGBTQ+). Columbia health and medical professionals discuss services available at CUIMC and share health care tips for LGBTQ+ patients. Read more

Recap of CUIMC Employee Appreciation Week   
During Employee Appreciation Week June 21-25, CUIMC faculty and staff enjoyed a series of virtual events and experiences designed with wellness in mind after the challenging past year. Read more and watch the recordings (uni login required).

VP&S Research: Stress Does Turn Hair Gray (And It’s Reversible) 
A new study by VP&S researchers is the first to quantitatively link psychological stress to graying hair in people and find that the process is reversible. Read more.

Support the Medical Center Neighborhood Fund
The Medical Center Neighborhood Fund draws on voluntary donations made by employees of CUIMC, NewYork-Presbyterian, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute to distribute critical grants to local nonprofit organizations working to provide food, shelter, clothing, day care, afterschool programs, and recreational opportunities for people who would otherwise lack these essentials and services. Last year, more than 600 employees contributed to the Fund to raise more than $125,000 for food pantries in Washington Heights and Inwood. Employees who are interested in donating can learn more here.  

National Student Nurses’ Association and Columbia Nursing Partner for LGBTQ+ Health Mentorship Program 
A new mentorship program aims to increase knowledge of LGBTQ+ health among pre-licensure nursing students through one-on-one mentorship. Read more

Mailman Research: Heat, Humidity, UV Rays linked to COVID-19 Spread 
While physical proximity and the use of face masks are well-known protections to limit the spread of COVID-19, a new study by Mailman researchers links meteorological variables such as temperature, humidity, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation to the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Read more.



Mark Gorelik, MD, Pediatrics, will receive $827,280 over four years from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for “The Role of Follistatin Like Protein 1 in the Cardiac Inflammation of Kawasaki Disease.”

Wei Gu, PhD, Institute for Cancer Genetics, will receive $1,852,875 over four years from the National Cancer Institute for “Novel Small Molecule USP7 Inhibitors for p53 Activation and Cancer Therapy.”

Jared Kushner, MD, Medicine, will receive $827,280 over five years from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for “Regulators and Interactomes of CaV1.2 in Health and Disease.”

Eliza Miller, MD, Neurology, will receive $459,996 over two years from the National Institute on Aging for “Pregnancy Complications and the Development of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias in Women in the Adult Changes in Thought Study.”

Simone Sanna-Cherchi, MD, Medicine, will receive $1,936,870 over five years from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for a subaward of “Integrating Large Scale Genomics and Functional Studies to Accelerate FSGS/NS Discovery.”

Peter Yim, MD, Anesthesiology, will receive $826,880 over four years from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for “Mechanisms and Modulation of Opsin 3 Mediated Airway Smooth Muscle Relaxation.”


Jeffrey Shaman, PhD, Environmental Health Sciences, will receive $550,000 over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for “Inference, Forecasting and Optimal Control of Healthcare-Associated Infections.”



Eileen Connolly, MD, PhD, Radiation Oncology, has received the SWOG/Hope Foundation Career Engagement Award.

Fred Wu, MD, PhD, Radiation Oncology, has been awarded the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Scholar award. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation focuses on conquering childhood cancer by working with the leading pediatric oncologists in the country.


Silvia S. Martins, MD, PhD, Epidemiology, has been awarded the 2021 IAPHS Mentoring Award from the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science.


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

Global Health Nursing Speaker Series Presents: "Going Glocal Is..." by Dr. Pandora Hardtman, June 29, 1 p.m., register here

Return to Campus Update Forum, June 29, 4 p.m., register here.

Incorporating Sexual Orientation & Gender in Chile’s Public Health Policy, June 29, 5 p.m., register here

School of Nursing Masters Direct Entry Program Virtual Information Session, June 30, noon, register here

LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group Presents: The Trevor Project Pride Webinar, June 30, 1 p.m., register here

Virtual Meet & Greet: Meet Columbia Nursing Student Organizations, June 30, 6:30 p.m., register here

For more events, visit the CUIMC Events listing.