CUIMC Update - Sept. 13, 2021

September 13, 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.


Columbia Awarded $61.7 Million to Accelerate Development of New Medical Treatments
The five-year, $61.7 million grant to VP&S from the NIH will help medical researchers speed the application of scientific discoveries, so that new treatments can be delivered to patients faster. The grant is one of the largest ever to the medical school and will support the work of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Read more

Columbia and Pfizer Establish Clinical Trials Diversity Initiative
CUIMC, the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Pfizer Inc. have established the Columbia-Pfizer Clinical Trials Diversity Initiative, with a goal to reduce health disparities by increasing participation of underrepresented minorities in clinical trials and enhancing diversity of clinical researchers. Pfizer will provide a three-year, $10 million grant to Columbia to help establish and expand the Initiative. Read more.

Tuesday: Return to Campus Update 
Columbia will host a Return to Campus Update Forum for faculty, researchers, and staff tomorrow, Sept. 14, at 4 p.m. on Zoom. The update will focus on the latest COVID-19 information and the fall 2021 term. Email the Columbia COVID Task Force Forum at in advance with up to two questions. Register here

Join Velocity, Columbia's Ride to End Cancer 
Velocity is your chance to support the patients, doctors, nurses, and researchers at Columbia's Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Anyone, anywhere, can participate in this year's event by cycling, walking, running, or completing a challenge of their choice on or before Oct. 3, Velocity Day. All funds raised support clinical care and research at Columbia's cancer center. Read more.

National Physician Suicide Awareness Day
In observance of National Physician Suicide Awareness Day, CUIMC will host Srijan Sen, MD, PhD, director of the Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg and Family Depression Center at the University of Michigan, for a special seminar, “Stress and Depression among Training Physicians: Insights from the Intern Health Study.” The event on Wednesday, Sept. 15, from noon to 1 p.m., includes remarks from Columbia Interim EVP and Dean Anil Rustgi and Weill Cornell Medicine Dean Augustine Choi. Attendees are welcome to submit questions in advance to, and questions will be accepted during the event's Q&A period. Register now

Columbia Nursing Launches DNP in Nurse Anesthesia 
The School of Nursing will admit the first cohort of approximately 20 nurse anesthesia residents to its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Nurse Anesthesia Program in 2022. Read more

Celebrate 100 Years of the Mailman School of Public Health 
What began as the DeLamar Institute of Public Health in 1922 is now the Mailman School of Public Health, an internationally recognized leader in educating the next generation of trailblazing scientists, researchers, and public health practitioners. On the milestone of Mailman’s 100th year, CUIMC celebrates the school and its students, faculty, and staff for their efforts to protect our collective health. Read more

Friday: Bike to Work and Shred Fest  
CUIMC employees and local community members are invited to join Columbia Public Safety in Haven Plaza on Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Bike to Campus and Shred Fest events. Attendees can gather resources for safe city biking, protect their electronic equipment from theft, safely dispose of sensitive papers and hard drives, and recycle old computers. Read more



Jan Claassen, MD, Neurology, will receive $450,000 over three years from the James S. McDonnell Foundation for a subaward of “COVID-19 Consortium for Recovery of Consciousness.”

Wassim Elyaman, PhD, and Neil Shneider, MD, PhD, Neurology, will receive $486,000 over two years from the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for “Analysis of Adaptive and Innate Immune Response in FUS-ALS Patients Treated with Antisense Therapy.”

Daniel Javitt, MD, Psychiatry, will receive $531,733 over five years from the National Institute of Mental Health for a subaward of “Glutamatergic Mechanisms of Psychosis and Target Engagement.”


Rafal Tokarz, PhD, Center for Infection & Immunity, will receive $445,500 over two years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for “Identification of the Agent of Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness.”



Evan Kennedy, CCC-SLP, Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, has received the Distinguished Early Career Professional Award from the American Speech and Hearing Association.

Harry Reyes, PhD student in Biomedical Informatics, has been chosen as one of 11 students in the world awarded a Computational and Data Science Fellowship from the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing.

Harris Wang, PhD, Systems Biology, has received a 2022 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science for his development of synthetic biology tools. The prize is awarded annually by the Vilcek Foundation to immigrants whose work demonstrates exceptional insight or innovation. Read more.


Maura Abbott, NP, was selected by the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching and Learning to be a Provost’s Senior Faculty Teaching Scholar.


The Future of American Healthcare Conference presented by the Financial Times featuring School of Nursing Dean Lorraine Frazier, PhD, RN, Sept. 14, 9 a.m., register here.

CUIMC Celebrates Rosh Hashanah with Honey Distribution on Campus, Sept. 14, 11 a.m., view event

CUIMC Women Roundtable Discussion on Mentorship/Sponsorship, Sept. 14, 1 p.m., register here

School of Nursing General Virtual Information Session, Sept. 15, noon, register here

Therapeutic Advances for Endometrial Cancer, Sept. 15, 5 p.m., register here

Anti-Racism Speaker Series: Waverly Duck, PhD, Sept. 16, 10 a.m., register here

School of Nursing White Coat Ceremony, Sept. 17, 3 p.m., register here

13th Annual Babies Heart Fund Golf Classic, Sept. 20, 11:30 a.m., register here.

Next Generation Tissue Engineering, Sept. 21-23, 10 a.m., register here.

Columbia Science and Health Equity Lecture Series: “The Art, Science, and Rewards of Community Engagement,” Sept. 21, 4 p.m., register here.

Perioperative Care: Preparing Children for Surgery, Sept. 21, 6 p.m., register here

HICCC Distinguished Speaker, Sept. 22, 4 p.m., register here.

Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series in the Humanities presented by Farah Jasmine Griffin, PhD, Sept. 22, 4:30 p.m., register here.

Ethics Grand Rounds Series on Race and Biomedicine with Alondra Nelson, PhD, Sept. 23, 4 p.m., register here

9th Annual Challenges in Hypertension, Sept. 24, 8:25 a.m., register here.

BME Seminar: Juergen Hahn, PhD, BME Department Head, RPI, Sept. 24, 11 a.m., register here.

VP&S New Faculty Orientation, Sept. 28, 8 a.m., register here.  

Women at VP&S: Courageous Past, Flourishing Present, Future Challenges with Anne Taylor, MD, Sept. 28, 4 p.m., register here. 

Annual HIPAA & Security Briefing for faculty, researchers, and management staff, Sept. 29, 2 p.m., register here.

Bold Conversations for Healing & Reshaping Our Community #2, Oct. 7, 3 p.m., register here

For more events, visit the CUIMC Events listing.