Awards and Honors Across Weill Cornell Medicine - January 27, 2017

Samie Jaffrey

Dr. Samie Jaffrey Wins John J. Abel Award


Dr. Samie Jaffrey, the Greenberg-Starr Professor and a professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine, has received the 2017 John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

The Abel Award is named after John J. Abel, who founded the society in 1946 to encourage young investigators to conduct fundamental research in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. The society recognized Dr. Jaffrey for his innovative research and development of new technologies that have fostered discoveries into how Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is regulated to control gene expression in health and disease. 

Dr. Jaffrey will accept the Abel Award during the society’s annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2017 on April 22 in Chicago, and will deliver the John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology Lecture titled “The Dynamic Epitranscriptome: Encoding the Fate and Function of mRNA with Reversible Nucleotide Modifications.”

“I am honored to receive this award, which would not have been possible without the truly outstanding Weill Cornell Medicine postdocs and graduate students who I have had the pleasure to work with,” Dr. Jaffrey said.

Dr. Jaffrey’s work has fundamentally advanced scientists’ understanding of RNA biology and gene regulation. Most recently, he has helped to launch the field of “epitranscriptomics,” which has revealed that mRNA contains diverse nucleotide modifications that affect its fate and function in cells. As a result of Dr. Jaffrey’s studies, epitranscriptomics is a rapidly developing area of molecular biology that is transforming the understanding of gene regulation in normal and disease states.

The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics is a 5,000 member scientific society whose members conduct basic and clinical pharmacological research within the academic, industrial and government sectors. Its members strive to discover and develop new medicines and therapeutic agents that fight existing and emerging diseases. 

Additional Awards and Honors


Dr. Frank Chervenak, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Given Foundation Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology,  was on Oct. 27 accepted as a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Elected by the RAS General Assembly, foreign members are considered the most prominent foreign scientists recognized by the international scientific community. The RAS is a civil, self-governed, non-commercial organization that aims to obtain further knowledge of the natural, social and human development principles that promote technological, economic, social and cultural development in Russia.

Dr. Bishoy Faltas, an instructor in medicine, was in December named a NextGen Star of the American Association for Cancer Research. Dr. Faltas will accept the NextGen Star, awarded to support the professional development and advancement of an early-career scientist in cancer research, at the association’s annual meeting April 1-5 in Washington, D.C. The association fosters research in cancer and related biomedical science, accelerates the dissemination of new research findings, promotes science education and training, and advances the understanding of cancer etiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. 

Dr. Roger Hartl, a professor of neurological surgery, was on Dec. 12 named the AOSpine Regional Educator of the Year for his international leadership role in educating neurosurgeons in minimally invasive spinal surgery techniques. The Regional Educator of the Year Award recognizes a highly respected member of the AOSpine Community who has demonstrated sustained and significant contribution to educational excellence. Dr. Hartl received his award at the annual meeting of AOSpine in Davos, Switzerland.

Dr. Peter Schlegel, chairman of the Department of Urology, the James J. Colt Professor of Urology, and a professor of urology and of reproductive medicine, was elected vice president of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. The society is a nonprofit organization that aims to inform, educate and advocate as a leader in the field of reproductive medicine. Dr. Schlegel was elected at the society’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dr. Fei Wang, an assistant professor of healthcare policy and research, won the Michael J. Fox Foundation Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative Data Challenge. The foundation, which sponsors the landmark biomarkers PPMI study, asked data analysts to provide a model of either Parkinson's disease subtypes or baseline predictors of progression using PPMI data. Dr. Wang, who will receive $25,000 furnished by MJFF and supported in part by GE Healthcare, has outlined three Parkinson’s subgroups that may help physicians to better characterize patients based on their clinical symptoms. 

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