CUIMC Update - June 7, 2023

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.


What Wildfire Smoke Does to Our Bodies, According to Columbia Physicians
Smoke from Canadian wildfires has caused air quality in New York City to deteriorate, reaching levels that may seriously impact those with respiratory and heart conditions and causing uncomfortable symptoms even for those without underlying conditions. Columbia emergency medicine physician Christopher Tedeschi, MD, and pediatric pulmonologist Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, MD, share what you should know about the potential adverse effects from wildfire smoke. Read more.

Event Today: Honoring Lee Goldman at the Innovation in Biological and Medical Sciences Lecture
Join the CUIMC community at 4:30 p.m for a lecture and reception in Alumni Auditorium honoring Dean Emeritus Lee Goldman, MD, and featuring speaker Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, the Lee Goldman, MD, Endowed Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Bibbins-Domingo will present the Innovation in Biological and Medical Sciences Lecture, “Opportunities and Threats to Trust in Medical and Scientific Publishing: a view from JAMA and the JAMA Network." Register here.

Columbia Stem Cell Labs Open Doors to Next Generation of Scientists
Columbia stem cell researchers opened up their labs in May to dozens of 8th to 10th grade girls to inspire the next generation of female scientists. Event co-hosts Barbara Corneo, PhD, director of the Columbia Stem Cell Core, and rehabilitation medicine specialist Joanna Smeeton, PhD, say they hoped to get students excited about careers in science. “We want them to know we were here not only on that day, but anytime they will need us in the future," Corneo said. Read more.

Fixing the Gender Imbalances in Interventional Cardiology
Only 4% of interventional cardiologists in the United States are women, which could be a contributing factor in women's underrepresentation in clinical trials for interventional procedures. Margaret McEntegart, MD, PhD, director of Columbia's Complex Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Program, has been leading efforts to improve outcomes for female heart patients and achieve more balance in the field. Read more.

Columbia Gastroenterologist Talks Gut Health and Probiotics
Many people take probiotics as a means to restore gut health, but Columbia gastroenterologist Daniel Freedberg, MD, says it’s not so straightforward. Probiotics help for certain health issues, but not all probiotics are right for all illnesses and diseases. Read more.


ColumbiaDoctors Primary Care Outreach
June 13, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Haven Plaza, Haven Avenue between Fort Washington Avenue and 169 Street
Register here.

Juneteenth Outdoor Fest
June 13, 12 p.m., Haven Plaza, Haven Avenue between Fort Washington Avenue and 169 Street
Register here.

Dinner & Movie Night: Nurse Unseen
June 13, 6 p.m., School of Nursing, 560 W. 168 St., Room 115
Register here.

2nd CUIMC Symposium on the Biology of Aging
June 14, 9 a.m., Irving Cancer Research Center, 1130 St. Nicholas Ave., 1st Floor Auditorium
Register here.

Tissue Talks: Jason Burdick, CU Boulder
June 14, 3 p.m., online
Register here.

Why Are Your Patients Angry and Fearful, and What Can You Do About It?
June 14, 8 p.m., online
Register here.

From Childcare to Elder Care: The Sandwich Generation
June 15, 11 a.m., online
Register here.

Community Research Forum on Cancer
June 20, 6 p.m., Irving Cancer Research Center, 1130 St. Nicholas Ave., 1st Floor Auditorium
Register here.

ChatGPT, Knowledge, and Misinformation: Technology and Its Many Impacts on Health, Wellness, and Society
June 21, 12 p.m., online
Register here.



Virginia Rauh, ScD, Population and Family Health: $997,680 over four years for a subaward from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for "Environmental Contributions to Disparities in Learning Disabilities: The Columbia Psychiatry, Psychology, and Public Health Collaborative Learning Disabilities Innovation."


Elizabeth Murphy Fitelson, MD, Psychiatry: $540,100 over one year for a subaward from the New York State Office of Mental Health for "Project TEACH."

Wesley Grueber, PhD, Neuroscience: $1,302,652 over four years from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for "CADRE Program for Postbaccalaureate Training in the Neurosciences."

Minah Kim, PhD, Pathology & Cell Biology: $792,000 over three years from the American Cancer Society for "Regulation of liver metastasis and anti-VEGF therapy resistance in PNETs."

Sandra Barral Rodriguez, PhD, Sergievsky Center: $708,325 over five years for a subaward from the National Institute on Aging for "Recruitment and Retention for Alzheimer’s Disease Diversity Genetic Cohorts in the ADSP (READD – ADSP) Core C."

Harris Wang, PhD, Systems Biology: $2,854,235 over four years from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for "IMPEDE: Inhibiting Molds with Probiotic Ensembles from Diverse Environments."

Ronald Wapner, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology: $262,715 over five years for a subaward from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for "Pregnancy Outcomes and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease Study."

Masayuki Yazawa, PhD, Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine: $410,837 over one year from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for "Novel Therapeutics for Long QT Syndrome."



Veronica Barcelona, PhD, has been awarded the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Dean’s Award for Outstanding Nurse Researcher.

Ashley Graham-Perel, EdD, has been accepted into the 2023 National League of Nursing Walden Leadership Academy.


Eddy Albarran, PhD, and Isabel Low, PhD, Neuroscience, have been named 2023 Junior Fellows in the Simons Society of Fellows.

James Auran, MD, Ophthalmology, received the Kuhn Award at the annual meeting for the American Society of Ophthalmic Trauma.

Ben Izar, MD, PhD, Medicine, has been awarded the 2023 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research.

Samantha Salem, MD, Psychiatry, received the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's 2023 Marilyn B. Benoit, MD, Child Maltreatment Mentorship Award.



The Washington Post
A Catatonic Woman Awakened After 20 Years. Her Story May Change Psychiatry.
Jun 1, 2023 - “She was the first person I ever saw as a patient,” said Sander Markx, director of precision psychiatry at Columbia University, who was still a medical student in 2000 when he first encountered April. “She is, to this day, the sickest patient I’ve ever seen.”

The cases of April and Devine also helped inspire the development of the SNF Center for Precision Psychiatry and Mental Health at Columbia, which was named for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which awarded it a $75 million grant in April. The goal of the center is to develop new treatments based on specific genetic and autoimmune causes of psychiatric illness, said Joseph Gogos, co-director of the SNF Center.

CNN Online
Cocoa Flavanols May Boost Memory, but Don’t Start Buying Chocolate
May 29, 2023 - At the end of the first year, people in the study who took the daily 500-milligram pill and who had tested in the bottom tier of flavanols “normalized” their levels of flavanols, said study co-author Dr. Scott Small, professor of neurology and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Columbia University in New York City. In those people, the flavanols also “restored” their age-related mental decline to levels similar to people who “had high flavanols at baseline,” he said.

Crain's New York Business (Requires a subscription)
Columbia Researchers Receive $12M to Study Potential Heart Failure Drugs
Jun 2, 2023 - The National Institutes of Health awarded more than $12 million to researchers from Columbia University Irving Medical Center to study and develop potential treatments for heart failure and arrhythmias, the institution announced. Heart failure and arrhythmia are leading causes of death in the U.S., said Dr. Henry Colecraft, professor of physiology and cellular biophysics at the medical center and principal investigator on the grant.