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Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Leads the Field


A string of high-profile research studies underscores the early successes of the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, where scientists are assiduously investigating the root causes of the disease. Now, with the official opening of its permanent laboratories, the Weill Cornell Medicine institute is poised to lead the way in advancing research to improve patient care.

Established nearly two years ago with a generous gift to Weill Cornell Medicine from longtime benefactor Jill Roberts, the institute uses a multidisciplinary approach to drive and then translate discoveries into new preventative and treatment strategies for IBD, a group of chronic inflammatory conditions of the intestine that affects an estimated 3.5 million people worldwide.

"We're in a very powerful position to accelerate basic discoveries and translate them to benefit patients," said Dr. David Artis, director of the institute and the Michael Kors Professor in Immunology at Weill Cornell Medicine. "That's really what all of this work revolves around: understanding these diseases so that we can treat and prevent them to improve the quality of life of the people who suffer from these diseases every day."

The institute and its five primary investigators have already made advances in describing the molecular underpinnings of IBD, exploring how host genetics, the immune system, the microbiota and pathways that control inflammation influence the disease's development and progression. In recent studies published in top-tier journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology and PNAS, scientists have shown how the intestines repair themselves after daily attacks from microbes and other environmental triggers; a defect in this repair system contributes to IBD. They've revealed how the immune system learns to ignore beneficial bacteria in the gut while recognizing, eliminating and remembering foreign and harmful microbes that invade our bodies. Investigators have also discovered that starving immune cells of key nutrients prevents them from causing inflammation and allergies.

The institute's newest recruit, Dr. Iliyan Iliev from Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, investigates the fungi that colonize the intestine and how it operates in both healthy and unhealthy intestines — findings that researchers hope they can ultimately leverage into new therapeutic targets.

 Jessica Bibliowicz, Jill Roberts, William Roberts and Dr. David Artis

Jessica Bibliowicz, center, shakes hands with Jill Roberts during the March 17 ribbon-cutting ceremony, while William Roberts and Dr. David Artis look on. Photo credit: Studio Brooke

The close collaboration between researchers at the Roberts Institute and clinicians at the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian is enabling the institute's scientists to "translate life to the laboratory," notes center Director Dr. Ellen Scherl, applying patients' experiences of disease to research questions — and eventually, "transforming laboratory discoveries back into patient lives."

Research at the institute, in conjunction with physicians in the Jill Roberts Center, is helping to personalize treatment for IBD patients. While patients have historically been sorted into two categories of IBD — Crohn's disease, which is characterized by inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, and ulcerative colitis, in which inflammation is localized to the colon — scientists are beginning to understand that many more subtypes of the disease may exist. They are recording and studying how each patient's immune system and microbiota is different, and how individual patients respond to treatments. The research will help to stratify patients into increasingly specific categories so that clinicians can deliver tailored, targeted and successful care. It will also enable physicians and scientists to capture changes in the disease and its manifestations —including joint and bone pain, and inflammation in skin, the eyes and liver — in individual patients over the course of their care.

"The gastrointestinal tract is the source of all inflammation in IBD, but there are many different manifestations that patients experience," said Dr. Scherl, who published a review article on Crohn's disease in the March issue of Current Gastroenterology Reports. "What makes our center and institute unique is that we can examine the systematic inflammation that our patients live with every day and investigate what makes their gut immune response different. We can do this cross- sectionally and longitudinally, characterizing our patients."

The institute and center are also building a new IBD patient live cell bank that will provide deeper insight into disease subtypes and how best to treat them. Consenting patients who receive care at the center provide samples of blood or tissue biopsies, from which researchers isolate and freeze immune cells they can later use to investigate the disease. The institute has so far collected 300 samples from adult IBD patients, and the establishment of a pediatric IBD live cell bank is well underway.

The research and clinical arms are also jointly embarking on a clinical trial, led by Drs. Carl Crawford and Vinita Jacob, that is testing fecal microbial transplants to treat ulcerative colitis. The goal is to replace unhealthy microbiota in colitis patients with microbiota from healthy patients to treat the disease. This approach is used successfully to treat Clostridium difficile colitis, a condition in which the aggressive bacteria C. difficile grows vigorously in the intestines and causes severe inflammation. The study, now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will begin yielding data later this year.

"This clinical trial is a cutting-edge intervention attempting to ascertain whether this could be a new approach to treating IBD," Dr. Artis said. "These types of joint approaches have benefited enormously from the partnership between the Roberts Institute and the Roberts Center. We have also joined forces with other outstanding institutional experts in digestive diseases housed in the Center for Advanced Digestive Care and The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health. Together, we are in the unique position of having strengths in basic research and clinical care across multiple digestive diseases, coupled with a large patient population, and we hope that these partnerships will be very fruitful moving forward."

To celebrate these accomplishments and future initiatives, the institute hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 17 to celebrate the opening of its permanent laboratory space on the seventh floor of the Belfer Research Building. Speakers including Jessica Bibliowicz, chairman of the Weill Cornell Medicine Board of Overseers, Dr. Augustine Choi, the Weill Chairman of the Weill Department of Medicine, and Drs. Artis and Scherl voiced their excitement about the institute and their deep gratitude for Jill Roberts' continued generosity towards IBD research and care.

"The institute's leadership in this field is forging a path to an understanding of IBD's molecular underpinnings in order to translate basic research breakthroughs into advanced therapies for our patients," Bibliowicz said. "There is so much that's going to change because of the work that's happening here. Jill's dedication and David's great leadership have empowered the institute's incredible work to spearhead these efforts and to transform treatment for the many patients who suffer from IBD."

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Awards and Honors Across Weill Cornell Medical College - Week of July 17 - July 24


Dr. Olaf Andersen, director of the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program and a professor of physiology and biophysics, was appointed to a three-year term as chair of the Biophysical Society's Publications Committee, effective Feb. 11. The Biophysical Society was founded in 1958 to encourage development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics through meetings, publications and committee outreach activities. The publications committee is responsible for overseeing society peer-reviewed publications and recommending editorial policies for each to ensure achievement of society goals.

Dr. Katherine Hajjar, associate dean (research), the Brine Family Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and a professor of pediatrics and pediatrics in medicine, received the 2015 George Papanicolaou Award from the Hellenic Medical Society on May 5 during the annual Dr. George N. Papanicolaou Award Symposium. Both the symposium and award are named in honor of the co-founder of the Greek-American Medical Fraternity, the organization that later grew into the Hellenic Medical Society. The society focuses on creating a network of Greek-American physicians, cultivating fraternal relationships among its members and promoting public health initiatives in conjunction with other medical societies.

Dr. Stephen B. Johnson, a professor of healthcare policy and research, was appointed in January to serve on the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management's Accreditation Council for Health Informatics. The commission is an independent accrediting organization dedicated to serving the public interest by establishing and enforcing quality accreditation standards for health informatics and health information management educational programs.

Dr. Ellen Scherl, director of the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Jill Roberts Professor of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and a professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell, gave the Paul Sherlock Distinguished Lecture during the New York Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy's annual dinner meeting on Feb. 4. The lecture is named in honor of Dr. Paul Sherlock, a founding member of the society and an internationally recognized gastroenterologist and leader in research on cancer of the gastrointestinal system. The society is comprised of more than 300 attending members and more than 200 fellows, making it the largest regional endoscopic society in the United States.

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New Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Established at Weill Cornell Medical College


NEW YORK (June 05, 2014) — Weill Cornell Medical College announced today that through the generosity of longstanding benefactor Jill Roberts and the Jill Roberts Charitable Foundation it is establishing the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Dr. David Artis, one of the world's leading immunologists, was recruited from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine to direct the institute, which is dedicated to understanding the molecular underpinnings of inflammatory bowel disease with the goal of translating basic research breakthroughs into the most advanced therapies for patients.

Mrs. Roberts' gift will also enable Dr. Artis to recruit a team of leading scientists to work at the institute and pursue innovative research to improve treatments and preventative therapies for patients who suffer from IBD and other chronic inflammatory diseases. The institute builds off the successes of Weill Cornell's already robust research and clinical care programs for IBD under the auspices of the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine and the Department of Surgery. It will be housed in the new Belfer Research Building and will collaborate closely with the center, which was established at Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in 2006 with a gift from Mrs. Roberts to treat patients with IBD.

Dr. Artis is currently an associate professor in microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and program director of inflammation for the Penn Institute of Immunology. He is also an associate professor of pathobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. A distinguished investigator who is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, his research focuses on the body's immune system, how it fights infection and how its normal function can become dysregulated, leading to the development of chronic inflammatory diseases including psoriasis, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

"We are deeply grateful to Jill Roberts for her dedication and remarkable foresight, which have enabled Weill Cornell to assemble a world-class team and establish us as a leader in inflammatory bowel disease research and patient care," said Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "We are delighted to have preeminent scientist Dr. David Artis join us to lead the new Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. With the incidence of diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis on the rise, it is incumbent upon us to develop new therapies and ultimately a cure for these devastating diseases. Jill's vision and David's expertise will enable us to make transformative research breakthroughs, and I'm very excited about what we can accomplish together."

"With the development of innovative new approaches and technologies, we have the opportunity to revolutionize our thinking about the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases like inflammatory bowel disease," said Dr. Augustine Choi, the Sanford I. Weill Chairman of the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell. "I can think of no better person than Dr. Artis to spearhead these efforts and revolutionize patient treatment for the millions of people who suffer from IBD."

"It is vital that we find a cure, and I am certain that this new research institute, working in tandem with the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, will bring us closer to that goal," Mrs. Roberts said. "I am thrilled that Dr. Artis will lead our efforts to make great strides against these diseases."

"The opportunity to establish and lead the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease will allow us to develop innovative new approaches to understand how these diseases develop and identify how we can translate these findings into the clinic to better treat patients," Dr. Artis said. "Jill Roberts has a lifetime commitment to supporting basic and translational research in inflammatory bowel disease, and I am honored to have the opportunity to build a larger community of multidisciplinary researchers who are focused on inflammatory bowel disease and related inflammatory diseases."

Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of inflammatory conditions of the intestine that affects an estimated 1.4 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The main forms of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms include intestinal bleeding and severe abdominal pain and discomfort.

The mission of the research institute is to establish a multidisciplinary center of excellence that will accelerate new scientific discoveries, enabling personalized translational medicine to better prevent and treat inflammatory bowel disease in patients. Dr. Artis will recruit a team of top-flight investigators from multiple fields to focus on basic discovery efforts, translate findings into patient- based studies and train the next generation of researchers in this field.

As part of Weill Cornell's expansion in IBD research, it has recruited Dr. Gregory F. Sonnenberg, an immunologist and research associate in the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Sonnenberg's research focuses on why the immune system sometimes overreacts to good bacteria in the intestinal tract, potentially causing inflammatory bowel disease.

A multidisciplinary team of basic, clinical and translational scientists within the institute will investigate how these diseases are influenced by patient genetic factors, the body's immune system, beneficial microbial communities that live in the intestine, and other environmental factors. Their collaboration with the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Weill Cornell and NewYork- Presbyterian Hospital, led by Dr. Ellen Scherl, the Jill Roberts Professor of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell, will establish a new patient tissue biobank and employ patient-oriented basic research and clinical trials to investigate the factors that influence the development of inflammatory bowel disease. Using model systems to develop discovery efforts, coupled with patient-based clinical studies and trials, researchers hope to develop innovative translational treatments and therapies for inflammatory bowel disease.

"I look forward to leading the new institute at Weill Cornell and being on the frontlines of developing the next generation of innovative basic discoveries and translational clinical studies that will revolutionize our approaches to treat and prevent inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammatory diseases," Dr. Artis said.

Background Information on Dr. David Artis

Dr. Artis is a member of the American Association of Immunology and the British Society for Immunology. He has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and 40 review and book chapters. Dr. Artis serves as an ad hoc reviewer for multiple publications, including Nature, Science and Cell. He has also served as a consulting editor for the Journal of Clinical Investigation, an associate editor for Mucosal Immunology and sits on the International Journal for Parasitology Editorial Board. Dr. Artis has also reviewed for or served on several national and international study sections, including for the National Institutes of Health, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America Senior Investigator Panel, the Broad Foundation, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche in France, Cooperation Europeenne dans Ledomaine de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique in the European Union, and the Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the AAI-BD Biosciences Investigator Award (2013), the Stanley N. Cohen Biomedical Research Award (2012), the Lady Barbara Colyton Prize for Autoimmune Research (2011), Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases (2008), International Cytokine Society Junior Faculty Award (2007), AAI Junior Faculty Award (2006) and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America Young Investigator Award (2005).

Dr. Artis received his B.Sc. degree in parasitology in 1995 from the University of Glasgow in Scotland and a Ph.D. in immunology in 1998 from the University of Manchester Medical School in England. After receiving the Wellcome Trust International Prize Traveling Research Fellowship in 2000, he completed his postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and earned a position on Penn's faculty in 2005.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Cornell University is the first in the U.S. to offer a M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with Houston Methodist. For more information, visit

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Immunologist Dr. David Artis to Lead Institute Designed to Rapidly Translate Research Discoveries in Inflammatory Bowel Disease from Bench to Bedside

Institute Made Possible Through Generosity of Jill Roberts and the Jill Roberts Charitable Foundation

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Awards and Honors Across Weill Cornell Medical College - Week of Aug. 30 - Sept. 6


Dr. Jessica G. Davis, associate professor of clinical pediatrics, received the 2013 Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education from the American Society of Human Genetics. This annual award recognizes one individual who has made exceptional contributions to genetics education. Typically, recipients have made contributions in multiple areas of genetic science, have contributions that are influential to individuals and/or organizations and have many years of experience in the field of genetic education. The society is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide.

Dr. Lorraine Gudas, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology, the Revlon Pharmaceutical Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, professor of pharmacology, professor of pharmacology in medicine, professor of pharmacology in urology and professor of pharmacology in complementary and integrative medicine, was appointed to a three-year term on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee beginning on July 24. The purpose of this committee is to analyze available data regarding the safety and efficacy of over-the-counter medications or any other nonprescription, FDA-regulated product. The committee advises the commissioner on conditions in which these medications are considered safe and effective, as well as suggesting new applications for existing drugs.

Dr. Ana C. Krieger, medical director of the Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine, associate professor of clinical medicine, associate professor of medicine in clinical neurology and associate professor of clinical genetic medicine, was elected to the American College of Chest Physicians' Sleep Medicine Network Steering Committee. The committee strives to promote sleep medicine as a specialty, provide educational and research opportunities and raise awareness of issues pertinent to the practice of sleep medicine. The college works toward prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all chest diseases with a network of nearly 19,000 members providing care in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Dr. Ellen Scherl, director of the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the Jill Roberts Professor of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and professor of clinical medicine, received the Jill Roberts Professorship of Clinical Medicine, which will allow her to extend her research and patient care efforts in the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The Jill Roberts Center is dedicated to the research and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr. Licia Selleri, associate professor of cell and developmental biology, will present the Special Distinguished ISDB-MOD Lecture at the International HOX and TALE Transcription Factors in Development and Disease Meeting, scheduled for October in the Netherlands. The lecture, titled "Making Faces with TALEs," is sponsored by the International Society of Developmental Biologists and Mechanisms of Development. The conference will bring together scientists from around the world to discuss the results of research into the regulatory landscape of the HOX genetic complex and of the TALE genes and the mechanistic basis underlying HOX-TALE-promoted diseases.

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Awards and Honors Across Weill Cornell Medical College - October 10, 2012


Dr. Emil Bogdanov, assistant professor of anesthesiology, was awarded a certificate for excellent case presentation and a fellows choice award at the Open Medical Institute's Salzburg Weill Cornell Medical College Seminar about severe bleeding management hosted July 15-July 21 in Salzburg, Austria. The Salzburg Medical Seminars, established in 1993, is a postgraduate medical education program founded by the American Austrian Foundation and physicians from Weill Medical College of Cornell University to bridge the knowledge gap between East and West, North and South.

The Craniofacial Program of the Department of Neurological Surgery was in August granted accreditation for the first time by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. The Craniofacial Program, co-directed by Dr. Robert Ward of pediatric otorhinolaryngology, takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating craniofacial disorders. The program is dedicated to ensuring a successful outcome for every child and family. This includes a thorough evaluation of the case, selecting the best option, and utilizing the most advanced technology.

Dr. Matthew Cunningham, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery; Dr. Aaron Daluiski, assistant professor of clinical orthopaedic surgery; Dr. Emily Dodwell, instructor in orthopaedic surgery; Dr. Lawrence Gulott, instructor in orthopaedic surgery; Dr. Stavros Memtsoudis, clinical associate professor of anesthesiology and clinical associate professor of public health of anesthesiology; and Dr. Jessica Gordon, instructor in medicine, received the 2012 Clinician-Scientist Career Development Program Awards in August from Hospital for Special Surgery as part of a new program creating a cohort of clinician scientists who will establish research careers and become future leaders in academic orthopedics, rheumatology and musculoskeletal specialties.

Dr. Joseph Fins, chief of the Division of Medical Ethics, the E. William Davis, Jr., MD Professor of Medical Ethics, professor of medicine, professor of public health and professor of medicine in psychiatry, was the featured guest on a Center of Practical Bioethics virtual town hall meeting in August on the Affordable Care Act, the future of health care reform and brain injuries. The Center for Practical Bioethics is a nonprofit, free-standing and independent organization nationally recognized for its work in practical bioethics. Since 1984, the Center has helped patients and their families, healthcare professionals, policymakers and corporate leaders grapple with ethically complex issues in medicine and research.

Dr. Steven A. Kaplan, the E. Darracott Vaughan Jr., Professor of Urology, was chair of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Review Committee of lower urinary tract grants. In addition, he was a visiting professor to Singapore Hospital.

Dr. Robert Kelly, assistant professor of psychiatry, was reappointed as chairperson of the American Psychiatric Association's Elections Committee for a one year term that commenced in May. The Association's mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives. The elections committee is responsible for the conduct of elections by voting members of the association, determines the results of such elections, investigates complaints about Association elections and certifies the outcomes of elections to the board of directors and council.

Dr. Ahmed N. Khan, lecturer of anatomy in cell and developmental biology, was appointed in August to the editorial board of the Journal of Cell and Developmental Biology.

Dr. Geri Kreitzer, associate professor of cell and developmental biology, will serve as a member of the National Institutes of Health's study section "Kidney Molecular Biology and Genitourinary Organ Development," where she will review grant applications in October. The study section reviews grant applications involving basic and applied aspects of normal and abnormal renal physiology, cell biology, transport biology, including osmoregulation and osmosensing, hormone action and signal transduction, vascular biology, genetic disorders, cell-matrix interactions, biophysics, and bioenergetics and basic processes underlying upper and lower genitourinary organ development.

Dr. Philip S. Li, associate research professor of urology, associate research professor of reproductive medicine and director of the microsurgical research and training program at the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Microsurgery at the Weill Cornell Institute for Reproductive Medicine, was co-chairman and keynote speaker at the 2012 International Adolescent and Adult Shang Ring Circumcision Symposium hosted July 30-31 in Kunming, the capital of Yannan Province in China.

Dr. Kate Elizabeth McCarn, assistant professor of otolaryngology, was named on June 19 to the educational committee of the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. The Academy is the world's largest organization representing specialists who treat the ear, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck. It represents more than 12,000 otolaryngologist — head and neck surgeons who diagnose and treat disorders of those areas. Additionally, Dr. McCarn was invited July 17 to be on the American Board of Otolaryngology's task force for new materials. The Board's mission is to assures that, at the time of certification and recertification, diplomates certified by the Board have met its professional standards of training and knowledge in otolaryngology — head and neck surgery.

Dr. Joseph Montano, associate professor of audiology in clinical otolaryngology, received a service recognition award from the Hearing Loss Association of America at its annual meeting in June in Providence, R.I. The Hearing Loss Association of America is the nation's leading organization representing people with hearing loss. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 36 million — or 17 percent — American have some degree of hearing loss making it a public health issue third in line after heart disease and arthritis.

Dr. Mark Rubin, professor of pathology in urology, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and the Homer T. Hirst Professor of Oncology in Pathology, was selected Aug. 1 as this year's winner of the Huggins Award by the Society of Urologic Oncology in recognition of his contribution to the understanding of the genomics of castration-resistant prostate cancer. Dr. Rubin will give the Huggins Lecture at the Society's winter meeting Nov. 28-30 in Bethesda, Md. The Society of Urologic Oncology was created in 1984 to enable qualified members primarily interested in the care of patients with malignant genitourinary diseases to meet for the purpose of discussion, development, and implementation of ideas to improve care.

The laboratory of Dr. Scott Rodeo, professor of orthopaedic surgery, was presented with the Cabaud Award at the annual American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine meeting July 14 for best presented research paper concerning hard or soft tissue biology, in-vitro research, laboratory or "bench-type" research, or in-vivo animal research. The paper suggests that the current rehabilitation used for patients undergoing tendon-bone repairs such as rotator cuff repair may be partially to blame for the high rates of failed healing after surgery. Experiments in a rat model of this injury suggest that immobilizing the limb for four to six weeks after surgery, rather than quickly starting physical therapy, improves healing. Additionally, Dr. Rodeo was selected as a team physician for the U.S.A. Olympic Swimming Team for the London Olympics.

Dr. Joseph Safdieh, associate professor of neurology, has been selected as the neurologic education topic chair for the Scientific Program abstract review process for the 2013 American Academy of Neurology annual meeting slated for San Diego, Calif., next March. As topic chair, he will prioritize and coordinate the Neurologic Education abstracts for the annual meeting.

Dr. Ellen Scherl, the Jill Roberts Associate Professor of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and associate professor of clinical medicine will be recognized in November as a physician mentor by the American Medical Association Women Physicians Congress at the 2012 interim meeting of the American Medical Association's House of Delegates in Honolulu.

Dr. Anthony Tortolani, professor of clinical surgery and professor of clinical cardiothoracic surgery, was honored June 9 by the Nassau Physicians' Foundation at its seventh annual fundraising event for his ongoing dedication and contribution to both breast cancer survivors and their families. The Nassau Physicians' Foundation provides a stimulating environment for physicians, partners with the community by donating time and expertise to educational and charitable endeavors pledges to be proactive to pertinent and current health issues.

Dr. Henry Wei, clinical instructor in medicine, was named in August to Aetna Inc.'s Presidential Innovation Fellows program. Dr. Wei, also senior medical director of clinical innovation at Aetna, is one of 18 Fellows selected from a group of nearly 700 applicants. Dr. Wei will be on sabbatical from Aetna for six months as a member of the three-person team working on the Blue Button for America project. Blue Button for America will spread the ability for millions of Americans to easily and securely download their own health information electronically, empowering them to take that information with them should they change insurer or provider and share it with their loved ones or doctors if they choose, all while fueling the emergence of time-saving, money-saving, and even life-saving products and the businesses and jobs that those products will support.

Dianne E. Young, international electives coordinator in the Office of Global Health Education at Weill Cornell and alumni of the University of the West Indies in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, awarded a $1,000 scholarship award to an outstanding student learning at the university. The award was presented Feb. 15 to Karine Dookeeram, who is an aspiring pediatrician.

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Awards and Honors Across Weill Cornell Medical College - August 9, 2012


Dr. Cerchietti Receives Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Award for Study of B-Cell Lymphoma

Dr. Leandro Cerchietti

Dr. Leandro Cerchietti, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Research Scholar and assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell

Dr. Leandro Cerchietti, based in the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, received the prestigious Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award to find new ways to detect lymphomas before they become an incurable and improve current therapies.

Dr. Cherchietti, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Research Scholar and assistant professor of medicine, was one of only a dozen researchers to receive this annual award. The Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award provides support and protected time for mentored research to junior faculty members working in any disease area as they begin their careers as independent clinical researchers.

Dr. Chercietti will receive $150,000 a year for three years to research the role of metabolism in determining the clinical behaviors of tumors. He will use metabolic profiling for the study of B-cell lymphoma.

"We will harness the power of metabolomic profiling to detect certain biological processes in patients; to ascertain whether drugs are hitting their targets in vivo; and to predict clinical outcomes in patients," Dr. Cerchietti said. "I think this work has the potential to make important scientific and translational contributions to the diagnosis and treatment of B-cell lymphomas."

Metabolism refers to all the biochemical processes of an organ, tumor or cell that sustain life. These processes allow cells to grow, reproduce, maintain their structures and respond to environmental changes. Dr. Cerchietti's study will reveal how — and what — the lymphoma "eats" to survive. It will also explore how these pathways can be manipulated in order to "starve them to death." The goal is to ultimately launch the development of a new class of specific and non-toxic drugs and treatments that could benefit patients with lymphomas.

The metabolomic tools that Dr. Cerchietti utilizes are known as high-throughput technologies which allow researchers to distinguish metabolic pathways unique to a certain disease. In this case, B-cell lymphoma.

"We want to detect lymphomas using a drop of blood that we will process to separate thousands of chemical components," said Dr. Cerchietti. "By applying computational and mathematical algorithms, we will be able to detect and differentiate compounds from lymphoma, versus normal organs. We will then follow it through the disease evolution."

Because the lymphoma-specific chemical signature comes from only a few lymphoma cells, Dr. Cerchietti and team will be able to detect the presence of lymphoma cells when the tumors are still undetectable clinically. For patients already diagnosed with a lymphoma, the chemical blood drop analysis will allow for determination of how aggressive the lymphoma is and the right moment to administer treatment.

"The purpose of our study," Dr. Cerchietti said, "is to find new ways to detect lymphomas before they become an incurable and aggressive disease and to find new cures by improving currently available treatment. This will allow doctors to follow the treatment and to detect treatment failures much earlier and in a more gentle way for the patient (no biopsy or surgery involved) than current techniques."

Department of Medicine Presents Awards to Faculty, Fellows and Residents

The 21st Annual Department of Medicine Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Michael Wolk Heart Foundation

The 2012 Department of Medicine Investigator Award is presented to members of the Department of Medicine, below the rank of professor, who perform on an outstanding level in the areas of clinical and/or basic biomedical research. The finalists, listed below, delivered their talks during Grand Rounds May 22.

Dr. Himisha Beltran, assistant professor of medicine
Hematology & Medical Oncology
"Understanding Disease Heterogeneity in Advanced Prostate Cancer and Identification of New Drug Targets Using Next Generation DNA Sequencing"

The 2012 Fellows Research Award

Initiated in 2002, the Fellows Research Award is presented annually to fellows within the Department of Medicine who have presented outstanding research. This year's winners were announced at Medicine Grand Rounds May 29 and marked the 10-year anniversary for the award.

Dr. Selin Somersan-Karakaya

The 2012 Rogers Award

Established in 1995, the David E. Rogers Memorial Research Award encourages medical residents to continue their investigative research in internal medicine. Each year, senior medical residents submit research abstracts, and four finalists are chosen to present their work during medical grand rounds. The award was founded and is chaired by Dr. Holly S. Andersen, director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute and associate professor of clinical medicine. The grant, received by all four finalists, was made possible through an endowment by the education division of Marion Merril Dow in honor of David E. Rogers, a scholar dedicated to the education and training of young physicians for nearly 50 years.

Dr. Aaron Viny, "MICA Polymorphism Identified by Whole Genome Array Associated with NKG2D-Mediated Cytotoxicity in T-Cell Large Granular Lymphocyte Leukemia"

Visit the Department of Medicine's Awards and Honors page for a full list of honorees.

Additional awards and honors:

Dr. Phyllis August, the Ralph A. Baer Professor of Medical Research, professor of medicine, professor of public health and professor of medicine in obstetrics and gynecology, gave the first Norton Luger Professor of Obstetric Medicine endowed lecture for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell in April. Dr. August was also a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Treatment of Hypertension in Pregnancy Task Force, whose findings will be incorporated into future guidance on best practices for the management of preclampsia and chronic hypertension. In addition, she was an invited speaker at American Society of Hypertension annual meeting in May about the treatment of preeclampsia . The Society is the largest organization of hypertension researchers and health care providers in the United States committed to preventing and treating hypertension and its consequences.

Dr. Brian Bosworth, the Anne and Ken Estabrook Clinical Scholar in Gastroenterology and assistant professor of medicine, became a fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology, which provides more than 12,000 physicians from 82 countries with the most accurate and up-to-date scientific information on digestive health and the etiology, symptomatology and treatment for GI disorders. Additionally, Dr. Bosworth was admitted to American Gastroenterological Association's Academy of Educators. The Association includes 17,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology.

Dr. Brenna Farmer, assistant professor of medicine, was accepted into the American Hospital Association-National Patient Safety Foundation Comprehensive Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship program. The program, now entering its 11th year, is a transformative learning experience dedicated to preparing the next generation of patient safety, quality, and performance improvement leaders. The Fellowship consists of four in-person learning sessions, periodic teleconferences, various self and organizational assessments and individual coaching. The year-long program culminates with the completion of an Action Learning Project demonstrating the Fellow's ability to apply the concepts learned.

Dr. Yariv Houvras, assistant professor of medicine in surgery, assistant professor of cell and developmental biology and assistant professor of medicine, was elected to the International Thyroid Oncology Group's Board of Directors. The nonprofit organization engages leading researchers on five continents in the first interdisciplinary consortium focused on developing clinical trials for thyroid cancer.

Dr. Teresa Milner, professor of neuroscience, was awarded the "Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award" at the Weill Cornell Graduate School Convocation in May.

Dr. Allyson Ocean, the Anne Moore M.D. Clinical Scholar in Hematology-Oncology and assistant professor of clinical medicine, was elected as chairperson of the medical advisory board and board of directors for Michael's Mission, Inc., a non-profit foundation that she co-founded focused on improving the quality of life and treatment options for those suffering from colorectal cancer through education, research and patient support. In addition, Dr. Ocean was elected to the Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation's Medical Advisory Board and the Pancreatic Cancer National Advisory Board in June. The Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation sends cancer-affected families on vacations to help take their minds off their troubles and create lasting family memories.

Dr. Pallavi Patri and Dr. John Lee, fellows, received the New York Society of Nephrology Fellow Research Award in May.

Dr. Kane O. Pryor, assistant professor of clinical anesthesiology and assistant professor of anesthesiology in clinical psychiatry, gave an invited lecture titled "Anesthetic Amnesia" at the International Science Symposium at the annual meeting of the International Anesthesia Research Society hosted in Boston in May.

Dr. Joseph Scandura, assistant professor of clinical medicine, was an invited speaker at the Special Hematology Grand Rounds at Cork University Hospital in Cork, Ireland. In addition, he participated in the Visiting Scholar Seminar at the Cork Cancer Center.

Dr. Ellen Scherl, the Jill Roberts Associate Professor of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and associate professor of clinical medicine, received the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America Woman of Distinction Award in Medicine in May. Additionally, Dr. Scherl now serves on the advisory boards for Janssen Services LLC North American Round Table Advisory Board; Hospira Biosimilars Advisory Board; Salix Research and Development Crohn's Advisory Board; Janssen Biotech Inc. Post DDW 2012 Eastern Regional Virtual Advisory Board; NPS Pharmaceuticals Advisory Board; and Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc. Advisory Board. Lastly, Dr. Scherl gave the keynote address at the "First Intestinal Immune Based Inflammatory Diseases Symposium," hosted at the Jill Roberts IBD Center at Weill Cornell Medical College and Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

Dr. Dikoma Shungu, professor of physics in radiology, was appointed chair of the American Society of Neuroradiology Research Scientist Committee for the 2013-2015 term. The American Society of Neuroradiology is a professional membership society comprised of 3,000 physicians specializing in the field of neuroradiology. In addition, Dr. Shungu is also a chartered member of the National Institutes of Health's Neural Basis of Psychopathology, Additions and Sleep Disorders Study Section for 2012-2015. The Neural Basis of Psychopathology, Addictions and Sleep Disorders Study Section addresses the neurobiological bases and treatment of psychotic, behavioral, cognitive, emotional, addictive, sleep and eating disorders.

Dr. Manikkam Suthanthiran, the Stanton Griffis Distinguished Professor of Medicine, professor of medicine in surgery, professor of biochemistry and chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, was invited to speak at the State-of-the-Art Symposia of the 24th International Congress of The Transplantation Society hosted last month in Berlin, Germany. Lastly, he was invited to chair the American Society of Nephrology Program Committee for the 2012 Annual Meeting.

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