CUIMC Update - May 10, 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.


Advice about Mental Health for Mothers from Primary Care Physician
Arthi Reddy, MD, discusses how primary care physicians can help women deal with anxiety and depression, which are on the rise even as COVID cases decline. Reddy is VP&S assistant professor of medicine at CUMC and an internist at Columbia’s Morningside primary care practice. Read more

VP&S Medical Students Raise Awareness of Anti-Asian Racism 
The leaders of the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association at VP&S mobilized recently to secure more support for Asian American students at CUIMC. Their efforts have led to candid discussions on campus and a boost in mental health resources for coping with recent events. Read more

“CUIMC Nurses: A Voice to Lead” Event Kicks Off National Nurses Week
May 6 marked the beginning of National Nurses Week. CUIMC and the School of Nursing hosted a virtual event honoring nurses at the medical center, “CUIMC Nurses: A Voice to Lead.” Read more and watch the event.

Mailman Study Finds Exposure to Air Pollution in Older Males May Impede Cognition; Aspirin Could Help
Exposure to air pollution, even over the course of just a few weeks, can impede mental performance, according to a new study in older white men conducted by Mailman researchers. Their findings also showed aspirin seems to be protective. Read more.

Follow the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion LinkedIn Page
CUIMC Human Resources has launched a new LinkedIn page to provide updates on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, as well as ongoing initiatives by the medical center’s employee resource groups. Follow the LinkedIn page.  

Washington Heights CSA Returns for a Third Season
The CUIMC community is invited to participate in the Washington Heights CSA, which partners with La Baraja Farm in Goshen, New York, to bring fresh, organic produce to upper Manhattan. The CSA’s summer season is June 6-Aug. 22; the fall season is Aug. 29-Nov. 14. To sign up, fill out the CSA contract. For more information, email and follow the CSA on Facebook and Instagram @WaHiCSA. 



Sandra Lee, PhD, Medical Humanities & Ethics, will receive $374,856 over four years from the National Cancer Institute for a subaward of “Leveraging Tumor Registries and Pathology Specimens to Facilitate Genetic Testing and Traceback for Ovarian Cancer.”

Rudolph Leibel, MD, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, will receive $1,924,969 over two years from Boehringer Ingelheim for “Columbia – Boehringer-Ingelheim Collaboration.”

Umrao Monani, PhD, Neurology, will receive $1,003,450 over two years from Sarepta Therapeutics for “A Novel lncRNA for the Treatment of Glut1 Deficiency Syndrome.”

Yueqing Peng, PhD, Institute for Genomic Medicine, will receive $445,500 over two years from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for “Basal Forebrain Cholinergic Dysfunction in Sleep-Related Epilepsy.”

Neil Shneider, MD, PhD, Neurology, will receive $424,172 over four years from the Target ALS Foundation for “Target ALS Post Mortem Tissue Core.”

Magdalena Sobieszczyk, MD, Medicine, will receive $12,039,741 over seven years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for “Columbia Collaborative HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit” and $903,324 over one year from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for a subaward of “CoVPN 5002 Protocol Funding (PF) - New York-Columbia P&S Clinical Research Site.”

Samuel Sternberg, PhD, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, will receive $2,430,000 over five years from the National Human Genome Research Institute for “Leveraging Programmable Integrases for Human Genome Engineering.”

Stavros Thomopoulos, PhD, Orthopedic Surgery, will receive $959,443 over five years from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for a subaward of “Multiscale Models of Fibrous Interface Mechanics.”

Badri Vardarajan, PhD, Sergievsky Center, will receive $925,870 over five years from the National Institute on Aging for a subaward of “Additional Sequencing for the Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP)” and $5,072,723 over four years from the National Institute on Aging for “Characterizing Complex Structural Variation in Alzheimer’s Disease.”


Lusine Poghosyan, PhD, RN, will receive $3,616,936 over five years from the National Institute on Aging for “Care for Persons with Dementia in Nurse Practitioner Practices and Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.”



Lydia Dugdale, MD, Medicine, won the Nautilus Book Gold Award for “The Lost Art of Dying.” Gold Awards are given to books that contribute to spiritual growth, green values and sustainability, responsible leadership and positive social change and social justice, and other fields.

Michael Gershon, MD, Pathology & Cell Biology, won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Federation of Societies of Neurogastroenterology and Motility.  

Peter Quinn, PhD, Ophthalmology, has received a 2021 NIH Outstanding Scholar in Neuroscience Award from the NIH.

The Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators has announced recipients of two awards and its newest members. Jean Marie Alves-Bradford, MD, Psychiatry, has been awarded the 2021-2022 Vanneck-Bailey Scholar award. Beth Barron, MD, Medicine, has been awarded the 2020-2021 Virginia Apgar Academy Education Research Grant. 

Apgar Academy new members: 
Gina M. Badalato, MD, Urology
Sumeet L. Banker, MD, Pediatrics
Rishi Goyal, MD, PhD, Emergency Medicine
David A. Gudis, MD, Otolaryngology
David Horowitz, MD, Radiation Oncology
Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, Medicine 
Dara Matseoane-Peterssen, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Sarah Shrager-Lusman, MD, Pediatrics
Jean F. Timmerberg, PT, PhD, Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine
Susan Vaughan, MD, Psychiatry
Jeffrey L. Zitsman, MD, Pediatrics


Sneha Bathina and Savannah King were honored for Best Student Poster at the Western Institute of Nursing conference.


National Academy of Medicine Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Report Release Webinar, May 11, 3 p.m., register online.  

“How did we get here? The past—and future—of COVID and Black Lives Matter,” May 11, 5 p.m., register here. 

University Life Forum: COVID-19 Update, Vaccines & Planning for Fall, May 13, 4 p.m., register online

ICAP Grand Rounds Webinars, May 18 and June 29 at 9 a.m.

AAPI Employee Resource Group Presents: Virtual Cooking Session with Joe's Shanghai Restaurant, May 14, 4 p.m., register online

AAPI Employee Resource Group Presents: Stop API Hate: Discussion on Mental Health, Self-Love, Solidarity and Diversity, May 24, 2:30 p.m., register online

Research Ethics and Compliance Film Discussion, "Miss Evers' Boys," June 9, 2 p.m., register here
For more events, visit the CUIMC Events listing.