CUIMC Update - May 3, 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.


Microbiology & Immunology Chair Sankar Ghosh Elected to National Academy of Sciences
Sankar Ghosh, PhD, the Silverstein and Hutt Family Professor of Microbiology and chair of the VP&S Department of Microbiology & Immunology, is among the 120 newly elected members of the National Academy of Sciences recognized for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Ghosh’s research examines the connection between the immune system and various diseases. Read more

Columbia Begins Vision Screening Program for NYC Public Housing Residents
A CDC-funded study led by Lisa Hark, PhD, RD, VP&S professor of ophthalmic sciences at CUMC, offers free on-site vision screening and eye exams to residents of NYC public housing in Washington Heights and East Harlem. The program aims to prevent vision loss among some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. Read more

CUIMC Graduation Ceremonies
CUIMC and Columbia University are hosting virtual ceremonies this spring to mark the graduation of members of the Class of 2021 and celebrate their achievements. Read about last week's ceremonies and other ceremonies coming up later this month.

CUIMC Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are delighted to share profiles of AAPI faculty and staff members who are achieving excellence in research, education, and patient care. Read more

VP&S Department of Surgery Recognizes Three with Employee Excellence Award
The VP&S Department of Surgery celebrated its annual Employee Appreciation Week in April, including the announcement of three winners for this year's Employee Excellence Awards. "There are so many hardworking people in this department," one winner says. "It's so overwhelming to know that people felt this way about me.” Read more.

VP&S Receives NIH Grant to Expand Training for Underrepresented Students
NIH funding will expand VP&S’s efforts to increase diversity in medical science. The new grant will help fund Cardiovascular Summer Program for Underrepresented Students (CSPURS), a program that expands upon the foundation set by Columbia’s Summer Program for Underrepresented Students (SPURS). Read more.

Broadway Haven Players Stage First Online Theatrical Performance
The CUIMC community is invited to live online performances of the show, "Enron," by the Broadway Haven Players, formerly known as the Bard Hall Players, on May 6-8. This is the first time the medical center's theatrical company has staged an online show. Read more



Claudia Doege, MD, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, will receive $724,137 over four years from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for a subaward of “Resilience to Obesity in Carriers of Monogenic Obesity Mutations – A Study on the Underlying Mechanisms.”

Donald Edmondson, PhD, Medicine, will receive $6,088,607 over five years from the National Institute on Aging for “Columbia University Science of Behavior Change Resource and Coordinating Center.”

Tal Korem, PhD, Systems Biology, will receive $307,136 over five years from the National Institute of Nursing Research for a subaward of “The Role of Host-Microbial Interactions in Altering Preterm Birth Risk Among Black Women.”

Louise Kuhn, PhD, Sergievsky Center, will receive $2,572,620 over five years from the National Cancer Institute for “Automated Digital Imaging for Cervical Cancer Screening” and $311,916 over two years from the Penta Foundation for “Early Treated Perinatally HIV Infected Individuals: Improving Children's Actual Life (EPIICAL).”

Alice Medalia, PhD, Psychiatry, will receive $2,000,777 over four years from the National Institute of Mental Health for “Efficacy of Personalizing Cognitive Remediation for Schizophrenia by Targeting Impairments in Early Auditory Processing.”

Soojin Park, MD, Neurology, will receive $445,500 over two years from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for “Machine Learning to Optimize Management of Acute Hydrocephalus Patients.”

Anil Rustgi, MD, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, will receive $26,960,558 over five years from the National Cancer Institute for “Cancer Center Support Grant.”

Lawrence Schwartz, MD, Radiology, will receive $1,871,475 over two years from the Project Data Sphere for “Automation of RECIST Assessment in Solid Malignant Tumors.”


Ian Lipkin, MD, Center for Infection & Immunity, will receive $3,000,000 over one year from the Skoll Foundation for “Columbia Convalescent Plasma Trial.”

Martina Pavlicova, PhD, Biostatistics, will receive $252,182 over three years from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for a subaward of “Methadone in the Time Of COVID: A Natural Experiment on the Impact of Relaxed Methadone Regulations on Treatment Outcome.”



Jeffrey Birk, PhD, Medicine, was selected to receive the Rising Star designation from the Association for Psychological Science. This award honors psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their post-PhD research careers for contributions to psychological research. 

Benjamin Izar, MD, PhD, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, has received a Young Investigator Award from the Melanoma Research Alliance.


School of Nursing Transgender/Gender Non-Binary Healthcare Program Virtual Session, May 3, 7 p.m., register here

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

School of Nursing Master’s Direct Entry Virtual Information Session, May 5, noon, register here

Webinar for Managers, “Heading Back to the Workplace: Strategies for a Successful Transition,” May 5, noon, register here

CUIMC HR and Employee Resource Groups Present: A Conversation on Mental Health, Equity, and Resilience, May 5, 1:30 p.m., register here

School of Nursing Center for Improving Palliative Care for Vulnerable Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions, Poster Session and Conference, May 6, noon, register here

The Latinx, Working Parents, and CUIMC Women Employee Resource Groups Present: Virtual Yoga and a Facial Experience, May 6, 5 p.m., register here

Office of Work/Life Event on Grandparenting: A Conversation about its Joys and Challenges, May 10, noon, register here

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

Research Ethics and Compliance Film Discussion, "Miss Evers' Boys," June 9, 2 p.m., register here

For more events, visit the CUIMC Events listing.