Graduate School of Medical Sciences
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Thesis Defenses

To view the full WCGS thesis defense calendar, click here.

May 2024

Ruth Silimon
Cell and Developmental Biology
“Age and Tumor Related Disease Results in Loss of Muscle Maintenance and Reduces Neuromuscular Junction Stability in Drosophila”
Friday, May 10, 2024 – 2:00 pm
Location: RRL-116, Rockefeller Research Laboratory Building, 430 E. 67th Street

Zechuan Zhao
Cell and Developmental Biology
“Intracellular Trafficking of Transferrin Dictates Ferroptosis Execution”
Monday, May 20, 2024 – 10:00 am
Location: A-250, Weill Cornell Medicine, 1300 York Ave

June 2024

Sarah Hanif (MD-PhD)
Cell and Developmental Biology
Tuesday, June 18, 2024 – 9:00 am
Location: WGC-A, WGC-B (2nd Floor), Weill Greenberg Center, 1305 York Ave

Jill Zimmerman
Cell and Developmental Biology
“Tumor-selective WNT Suppression Through TNKS2 Inhibition”
Tuesday, June 18, 2024 – 3:00 pm
Location: WGC-C (2nd Floor), Weill Greenberg Center, 1305 York Ave

Yilun Ma (MD-PhD)
Cell and Developmental Biology
“In Vivo Characterization of Keratinocytes in the Melanoma Microenvironment”
Thursday, June 27, 2024 – 10:00 am
Location: A-250, Weill Cornell Medicine, 1300 York Avenue


Student Publications

Squeezed between hours at the bench, early mornings in online classes and the lecture hall, and conferences both near and far, BCMB students have still managed to put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) and publish several fascinating articles in the past few years. Just a few of the more recent papers co-authored by BCMB students include:


  • Wang C, Jacewicz A, Delgado BD, Baradaran R, Long SB. Structures reveal gatekeeping of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter by MICU1-MICU2. Elife. 2020 Jul 15;9:e59991. doi: 10.7554/eLife.59991. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32667285
  • Abreu N, Levitz J. Optogenetic Techniques for Manipulating and Sensing G Protein-Coupled Receptor Signaling. Methods Mol Biol. 2020;2173:21-51. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0755-8_2. PMID: 32651908
  • Sam J, Mercer EJ, Torregroza I, Banks KM, Evans T. Specificity, redundancy and dosage thresholds among gata4/5/6 genes during zebrafish cardiogenesis. Biol Open. 2020 Jun 24;9(6):bio053611. doi: 10.1242/bio.053611. PMID: 32580940; PMCID: PMC7327998
  • Ngo B, Kim E, Osorio-Vasquez V, et al. Limited Environmental Serine and Glycine Confer Brain Metastasis Sensitivity to PHGDH Inhibition [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 22]. Cancer Discov. 2020;CD-19-1228. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-19-1228. PMID: 32571778
  • Han T, Goswami S, Hu Y, et al. Lineage reversion drives WNT independence in intestinal cancer [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 16]. Cancer Discov. 2020;CD-19-1536. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-19-1536. PMID: 32546576
  • Wu W, Bhowmick R, Vogel I, Özer Ö, Ghisays F, Thakur RS, Sanchez de Leon E, Richter PH, Ren L, Petrini JH, Hickson ID, Liu Y. RTEL1 suppresses G-quadruplex-associated R-loops at difficult-to-replicate loci in the human genome. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2020 May;27(5):424-437. doi: 10.1038/s41594-020-0408-6. Epub 2020 May 11. PMID: 32398827
  • Hulton CH, Costa EA, Shah NS, Quintanal-Villalonga A, Heller G, de Stanchina E, et al. Direct genome editing of patient-derived xenografts using CRISPR-Cas9 enables rapid in vivo functional genomics. Nature Cancer. 2020;1(3):359-69. doi: 10.1038/s43018-020-0040-8
  • Christopher H. Hulton, Emily A. Costa, Nisargbhai S. Shah, Alvaro Quintanal-Villalonga, Glenn Heller, Elisa de Stanchina, Charles M. Rudin & John T. Poirier. Direct genome editing of patient-derived xenografts using CRISPR-Cas9 enables rapid in vivo functional genomics. Nature. 2020 Mar 9.
  • Li X, Kim H, Litke JL, Wu J, Jaffrey SR. Fluorophore-Promoted RNA Folding and Photostability Enables Imaging of Single Broccoli-Tagged mRNAs in Live Mammalian Cells.  Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2020 Mar 9. PMID:31850609. 
  • Katti A, Foronda M, Zimmerman J, Diaz B, Zafra MP, Goswami S, Dow LE. GO: a functional reporter system to identify and enrich base editing activity. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Apr 6. PMID: 32112097
  • Acosta-Ruiz A, Gutzeit VA, Skelly MJ, Meadows S, Lee J, Parekh P, Orr AG, Liston C, Pleil KE, Broichhagen J, Levitz J. Branched Photoswitchable Tethered Ligands Enable Ultra-efficient Optical Control and Detection of G Protein-Coupled Receptors In Vivo. Neuron. 2020 Feb 5;105(3):446-463.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.10.036. Epub 2019 Nov 26. PMID: 31784287; PMCID: PMC7216301  


  • Allwein B, Kelly C, Kammoonah S, Mayor T, Cameron DM. Prion-dependent proteome remodeling in response to environmental stress is modulated by prion variant and genetic background. Prion. 2019 Jan 13. PMID: 30773982

  • Li X, Kim H, Litke JL, Wu J, Jaffrey SR. Fluorophore-Promoted RNA Folding and Photostability Enables Imaging of Single Broccoli-Tagged mRNAs in Live Mammalian Cells.  Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2020 Mar 9. PMID:31850609.
  • Kim H1, Jaffrey SR2.A Fluorogenic RNA-Based Sensor Activated by Metabolite-Induced RNA Dimerization. Cell Chem Biol. 2019 Dec 19. PMID: 31631009 PMCID: PMC6939632.

  • Jiahui Wu, Sara Zaccara, Deepak Khuperkar, Hyaeyeong Kim, Marvin E. Tanenbaum & Samie R. Jaffrey. Live imaging of mRNA using RNA-stabilized fluorogenic proteins. Nature Methods. 2019 Aug 30. PMID: 31471614 PMCID: PMC6719798.

  • Zheng S, Abreu N, Levitz J, Kruse AC. Structural basis for KCTD-mediated rapid desensitization of GABAB signalling. Nature. 2019 Mar;567(7746):127-131. PubMed PMID: 30814734. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6405316.
  • Wu J, Minikes AM, Gao M, Bian H, Li Y, Stockwell BR, Chen ZN, Jiang X. Intercellular interaction dictates cancer cell ferroptosis via NF2-YAP signalling. Nature. 2019 Jul 24. PubMed PMID: 31341276.
  • Vardhana SA, Arnold PK, Rosen BP, Chen Y, Carey BW, Huangfu D, Carmona-Fontaine C, Thompson CB, Finley LWS. Glutamine independence is a selectable feature of pluripotent stem cells. Nature Metabolism. 2019 2019/07/01;1(7):676-687.
  • Munir A, Shuman S. Structure-Function Analysis of the Phosphoesterase Component of the Nucleic Acid End-Healing Enzyme Runella slithyformis HD-Pnk. Journal of bacteriology. 2019 Aug 15;201(16). PubMed PMID: 31160396.
  • Munir A, Abdullahu L, Banerjee A, Damha MJ, Shuman S. NAD(+)-dependent RNA terminal 2' and 3' phosphomonoesterase activity of a subset of Tpt1 enzymes. RNA (New York, NY). 2019 Jul;25(7):783-792. PubMed PMID: 31019096. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6573784.
  • Loizou E, Banito A, Livshits G, Ho YJ, Koche RP, Sanchez-Rivera FJ, Mayle A, Chen CC, Kinalis S, Bagger FO, Kastenhuber ER, Durham BH, Lowe SW. A Gain-of-Function p53-Mutant Oncogene Promotes Cell Fate Plasticity and Myeloid Leukemia through the Pluripotency Factor FOXH1. Cancer discovery. 2019 Jul;9(7):962-979. PubMed PMID: 31068365. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6606372.
  • Liu Y, Ji W, Shergalis A, Xu J, Delaney AM, Calcaterra A, Pal A, Ljungman M, Neamati N, Rehemtulla A. Activation of the Unfolded Protein Response via Inhibition of Protein Disulfide Isomerase Decreases the Capacity for DNA Repair to Sensitize Glioblastoma to Radiotherapy. Cancer research. 2019 Jun 1;79(11):2923-2932. PubMed PMID: 30996048. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6548663.
  • Liu EM, Martinez-Fundichely A, Diaz BJ, Aronson B, Cuykendall T, MacKay M, Dhingra P, Wong EWP, Chi P, Apostolou E, Sanjana NE, Khurana E. Identification of Cancer Drivers at CTCF Insulators in 1,962 Whole Genomes. Cell systems. 2019 May 22;8(5):446-455.e448. PubMed PMID: 31078526.
  • Li QV, Dixon G, Verma N, Rosen BP, Gordillo M, Luo R, Xu C, Wang Q, Soh CL, Yang D, Crespo M, Shukla A, Xiang Q, Dundar F, Zumbo P, Witkin M, Koche R, Betel D, Chen S, Massague J, Garippa R, Evans T, Beer MA, Huangfu D. Genome-scale screens identify JNK-JUN signaling as a barrier for pluripotency exit and endoderm differentiation. Nature genetics. 2019 Jun;51(6):999-1010. PubMed PMID: 31110351. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6545159.
  • Hamieh M, Dobrin A, Cabriolu A, van der Stegen SJC, Giavridis T, Mansilla-Soto J, Eyquem J, Zhao Z, Whitlock BM, Miele MM, Li Z, Cunanan KM, Huse M, Hendrickson RC, Wang X, Riviere I, Sadelain M. CAR T cell trogocytosis and cooperative killing regulate tumour antigen escape. Nature. 2019 Apr;568(7750):112-116. PubMed PMID: 30918399.
  • Gao M, Yi J, Zhu J, Minikes AM, Monian P, Thompson CB, Jiang X. Role of Mitochondria in Ferroptosis. Molecular cell. 2019 Jan 17;73(2):354-363.e353. PubMed PMID: 30581146. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6338496.
  • Cohen SB, Bainter W, Johnson JL, Lin TY, Wong JCY, Wallace JG, Jones J, Qureshi S, Mir F, Qamar F, Cantley LC, Geha RS, Chou J. Human primary immunodeficiency caused by expression of a kinase-dead p110delta mutant. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2019 Feb;143(2):797-799.e792. PubMed PMID: 30336224. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6387453.
  • Boekhout M, Karasu ME, Wang J, Acquaviva L, Pratto F, Brick K, Eng DY, Xu J, Camerini-Otero RD, Patel DJ, Keeney S. REC114 Partner ANKRD31 Controls Number, Timing, and Location of Meiotic DNA Breaks. Molecular cell. 2019 Jun 6;74(5):1053-1068.e1058. PubMed PMID: 31003867. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6555648.
  • Banerjee A, Munir A, Abdullahu L, Damha MJ, Goldgur Y, Shuman S. Structure of tRNA splicing enzyme Tpt1 illuminates the mechanism of RNA 2'-PO4 recognition and ADP-ribosylation. Nature communications. 2019 Jan 15;10(1):218. PubMed PMID: 30644400. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6333775.
  • Acosta-Ruiz A, Broichhagen J, Levitz J. Optical Regulation of Class C GPCRs by Photoswitchable Orthogonal Remotely Tethered Ligands. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, NJ). 2019;1947:103-136. PubMed PMID: 30969413. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6538505.


  • Zheng Y, Lin TY, Lee G, Paddock MN, Momb J, Cheng Z, Li Q, Fei DL, Stein BD, Ramsamooj S, Zhang G, Blenis J, Cantley LC. Mitochondrial One-Carbon Pathway Supports Cytosolic Folate Integrity in Cancer Cells. Cell. 2018 Nov 29;175(6):1546-1560.e1517. PubMed PMID: 30500537. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6568313.
  • Munir A, Banerjee A, Shuman S. NAD+-dependent synthesis of a 5'-phospho-ADP-ribosylated RNA/DNA cap by RNA 2'-phosphotransferase Tpt1. Nucleic acids research. 2018 Oct 12;46(18):9617-9624. PubMed PMID: 30202863. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6182162.
  • Munir A, Abdullahu L, Damha MJ, Shuman S. Two-step mechanism and step-arrest mutants of Runella slithyformis NAD(+)-dependent tRNA 2'-phosphotransferase Tpt1. RNA (New York, NY). 2018 Sep;24(9):1144-1157. PubMed PMID: 29884622. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6097658.
  • Farrants H, Gutzeit VA, Acosta-Ruiz A, Trauner D, Johnsson K, Levitz J, Broichhagen J. SNAP-Tagged Nanobodies Enable Reversible Optical Control of a G Protein-Coupled Receptor via a Remotely Tethered Photoswitchable Ligand. ACS chemical biology. 2018 Sep 21;13(9):2682-2688. PubMed PMID: 30141622. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC6620112.


  • Song W, Filonov GS, Kim H, Hirsch M, Li X, Moon JD, Jaffrey SR. Imaging RNA polymerase III transcription using a photostable RNA-fluorophore complex. Nat Chem Biol. 2017 Nov 1. PMID: 28945233  

  • Poran A*, Nötzel C*, Aly O, Mencia-Trinchant N, Harris CT, Guzman ML, Hassane DC, Elemento O, Kafsack BF. Single-cell RNA sequencing reveals a signature of sexual commitment in malaria parasites. Nature. 2017 09/25/online; advance online publication. doi: 10.1038/nature24280. *authors contributed equally. Link to PubMed.
  • Poulos MG, Ramalingam P, Gutkin MC, Llanos P, Gilleran K, Rabbany SY, Butler JM. Endothelial transplantation rejuvenates aged hematopoietic stem cell function. J Clin Invest. 2017 Oct 16. pii: 93940. doi: 10.1172/JCI93940. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29035282.
  • Ramalingam P, Poulos MG, Butler JM. Regulation of the hematopoietic stem cell lifecycle by the endothelial niche. Curr Opin Hematol. 2017 Jul;24(4):289-299. doi: 10.1097/MOH.0000000000000350. Review. PubMed PMID: 28594660; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5554937.
  • Khalaj M, Woolthuis CM, Hu W, Durham BH, Chu SH, Qamar S, Armstrong SA, Park CY. miR-99 regulates normal and malignant hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal. J Exp Med. 2017 Jul 21. pii: jem.20161595. doi: 10.1084/jem.20161595. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28733386; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5551568.
  • Cook PJ, Thomas R, Kannan R, de Leon ES, Drilon A, Rosenblum MK, Scaltriti M, Benezra R, Ventura A. Somatic chromosomal engineering identifies BCAN-NTRK1 as a potent glioma driver and therapeutic target. Nat Commun. 2017 Jul 11;8:15987. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15987. PubMed PMID: 28695888; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5508201.
  • Han T, Schatoff EM, Murphy C, Zafra MP, Wilkinson JE, Elemento O, Dow LE. R-Spondin chromosome rearrangements drive Wnt-dependent tumour initiation and maintenance in the intestine. Nat Commun. 2017 Jul 11;8:15945. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15945. PubMed PMID: 28695896
  • Chang AY, Dao T, Gejman RS, Jarvis CA, Scott A, Dubrovsky L, Mathias MD, Korontsvit T, Zakhaleva V, Curcio M, Hendrickson RC, Liu C, Scheinberg DA. A therapeutic T cell receptor mimic antibody targets tumor-associated PRAME peptide/HLA-I antigens. J Clin Invest. 2017 Jun 30;127(7):2705-2718. doi: 10.1172/JCI92335. Epub 2017 Jun 19. PubMed PMID: 28628042; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5490756.
  • O'Rourke KP, Loizou E, Livshits G, Schatoff EM, Baslan T, Manchado E, Simon J, Romesser PB, Leach B, Han T, Pauli C, Beltran H, Rubin MA, Dow LE, Lowe SW. Transplantation of engineered organoids enables rapid generation of metastatic mouse models of colorectal cancer. Nat Biotechnol. 2017 Jun;35(6):577-582. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3837. Epub 2017 May 1. PubMed PMID: 28459450; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5462850.
  • Deng P, Haynes CM. Mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer: Potential roles of ATF5 and the mitochondrial UPR. Semin Cancer Biol. 2017 May 10. pii: S1044-579X(17)30125-6. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2017.05.002. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 28499833.
  • Kim IS, Heilmann S, Kansler ER, Zhang Y, Zimmer M, Ratnakumar K, Bowman RL, Simon-Vermot T, Fennell M, Garippa R, Lu L, Lee W, Hollmann T, Xavier JB, White RM. Microenvironment-derived factors driving metastatic plasticity in melanoma. Nat Commun. 2017 Feb 9;8:14343. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14343. PubMed PMID: 28181494; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5309794.
  • Kang M, Garg V, Hadjantonakis AK. Lineage Establishment and Progression within the Inner Cell Mass of the Mouse Blastocyst Requires FGFR1 and FGFR2. Dev Cell. 2017 Jun 5;41(5):496-510.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.05.003. Epub 2017 May 25. PubMed PMID: 28552559.
  • Liu Y, Pelham-Webb B, Di Giammartino DC, Li J, Kim D, Kita K, Saiz N, Garg V,  Doane A, Giannakakou P, Hadjantonakis AK, Elemento O, Apostolou E. Widespread Mitotic Bookmarking by Histone Marks and Transcription Factors in Pluripotent Stem Cells. Cell Rep. 2017 May 16;19(7):1283-1293. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.04.067. PubMed PMID: 28514649; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5495017.
  • Khalaj M, Park CY. snoRNAs contribute to myeloid leukaemogenesis. Nat Cell Biol. 2017 Jun 29;19(7):758-760. doi: 10.1038/ncb3566. PubMed PMID: 28659642.
  • Yang Z, Peng YC, Gopalan A, Gao D, Chen Y, Joyner AL. Stromal hedgehog signaling maintains smooth muscle and hampers micro-invasive prostate cancer. Dis Model Mech. 2017 Jan 1;10(1):39-52. doi: 10.1242/dmm.027417. Epub 2016 Nov 30. PubMed PMID: 27935821; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5278527
  • Chung SS, Eng WS, Hu W, Khalaj M, Garrett-Bakelman FE, Tavakkoli M, Levine RL, Carroll M, Klimek VM, Melnick AM, Park CY. CD99 is a therapeutic target on disease stem cells in myeloid malignancies. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Jan 25;9(374). pii: eaaj2025. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaj2025. PubMed PMID: 28123069
  • Poulos MG, Ramalingam P, Gutkin MC, Kleppe M, Ginsberg M, Crowley MJ, Elemento O, Levine RL, Rafii S, Kitajewski J, Greenblatt MB, Shim JH, Butler JM. Endothelial-specific inhibition of NF-κB enhances functional haematopoiesis. Nat  Commun. 2016 Dec 21;7:13829. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13829. PubMed PMID: 28000664; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5187502.
  • Wang G, Hauver J, Thomas Z, Darst SA, Pertsinidis A. Single-Molecule Real-Time 3D Imaging of the Transcription Cycle by Modulation Interferometry. Cell. 2016 Dec 15;167(7):1839-1852.e21. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.11.032. PubMed PMID: 27984731; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5444671.
  • Deng P, Haynes CM. The mitokine quest(ion). Cell Res. 2016 Dec;26(12):1265-1266. doi: 10.1038/cr.2016.138. Epub 2016 Nov 25. PubMed PMID: 27886169; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5143424

Student Honors

Below are students of the BCMB Allied Program recognized for their outstanding achievements.


This year Covid19 has brought many challenges our way and along with it proof that our students can accomplish anything even in the midst of a pandemic.

  • Amanda Acosta (Levitz lab) was appointed as a Yale Ciencia Academy Fellow for 2020. This innovative program is part of the Career Development Program at Ciencia Puerto Rico. As part of her work at Ciencia Puerto Rico, Amanda also attended the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2020 Meeting. In addition, Amanda also led the project Ask A Scientist, a COVID-19 Collaborative Project between the National Science Policy Network and the Federation of American Scientists Connecting Public and State Government with Scientist COVID-19 Insight. This network of 500+ scientists answered 1500+ questions.
  • Nevin Yusufova’s (Melnick lab) abstract titled "Histone 1 Mutations Drive Lymphomagenesis By Inducing Primitive Stem Cell Functions and Epigenetic Instructions through Profound 3D Re-Organization of the B-Cell Genome" was published in Blood ( and won an Abstract Achievement Award.
  •  Tapojyoti Das (Eliezer lab) received a merit-based BPS Travel Award for his presentation in 2020 at the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.


It’s been another exceptional year on York Avenue, and BCMB Students have got the awards to show for it!

  • Yujie Fan (Studer Lab) was awarded the Frank Lappin Horsfall, Jr Fellowship for the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • Amanda Acosta (Levitz Lab) was a featured scientist in Rockefeller University’s “Scientists of New York #sciony” blog. Read more about Amanda’s experiences here!
  • BCMB students Alyna Katti (Dow Lab) and Vidur Garg (Hadjantonakis Lab) took home 1st and 2nd place in the Annual du Vigneaud Second year & Above Poster Awards.


Summer is almost here, and scientific accomplishment is in the air! After a stellar 2017 (see below for more details), BCMB Students have continued to thrive during the first half of 2018.

  • Maria Bustillo (Zallen lab) and Nevin Yusufova (Melnick lab) who were both recognized for their outstanding research at the 38th Annual du Vignuead Research Symposium in April 2018. Maria won 1st place for her Student Talk, and Nevin won 2nd place in the Poster awards category.
  • Christopher Notzel (Kafsack lab) and Theodoros Giavridis (Sadelain Lab) who were named as the 2018 recipients of the prestigious Julian R. Rachele Prize. The Rachele Prize is the highest student award presented by WCGS, and it honors students who have published a major contribution to research in a scientific journal.
  • Aaron Chang (Scheinberg Lab) who has been named as the winner of the 2018 Distinguished Student Commencement Speaker Award. This marks the fifth year in a row where a BCMB Student has been chosen by her or his peers to deliver a commencement address.


Over the past 12 months, several BCMB students have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to science.


Faculty Honors and Awards

Graduate School faculty are leaders in their respective fields. Many of our faculty receive prestigious honors and awards for their teaching and research.


  • Dr. Marcin Imielinski, an assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Dr. Elena Piskounova, an assistant professor of cell biology in dermatology, both at Weill Cornell Medicine, were awarded the 2021 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research on May 18.
  • Eight Weill Cornell Medicine faculty members have received Young Physician-Scientist Awards from the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the most awarded to any institution this year. The 2021 award recipients are Drs. Oleh Akchurin, Parag Goyal, Jiwon Kim, John Lee, Jyoti Mathad, Santosh Murthy, Anna Nam and Lisa Giulino Roth.
  • Dr. Effie Apostolou, an assistant professor of molecular biology in medicine, has received a 2021 Emerging Leader Award from the Mark Foundation Award for Cancer Research, which recognizes promising early-career projects aimed at addressing unmet needs in cancer research. The Mark Foundation gives the Emerging Leader Awards in an effort to empower scientists who are pursuing innovative, high-risk/high-reward projects that have significant potential to improve outcomes for cancer patients.
  • Dr. Laura C. Alonso, chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, was selected to serve as chair of the Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology Study Section of the NIH's Center for Scientific Review, for a two-year term which began July 1, 2020. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.


  • Seven Weill Cornell Medicine faculty members leading multi-institutional research teams were awarded grants from The Starr Foundation's 12th Starr Cancer Consortium Grant Competition to fund their innovative cancer research projects.
  • Dr. Simon Scheuring, a professor of physiology and biophysics in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine has been awarded a prestigious National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award for a project aimed at solving long-standing mysteries about the structural workings of important proteins.
  • Dr. Matthew Greenblatt, an assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, has been awarded the 2019 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research to support his work studying tumor growth in bone.
  • Seven Weill Cornell Medicine faculty members leading multi-institutional research teams were awarded grants from The Starr Foundation's 12th Starr Cancer Consortium Grant Competition to fund their innovative cancer research projects.
  • Dr. Shuibing Chen, an associate professor of chemical biology in surgery and in biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medicine, has received the ISSCR Dr. Susan Lim Award for Outstanding Young Investigator from the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). Dr. Shuibing Chen Honored for Outstanding Stem Cell Research
  • Tuomas Tammela, MD, PhD, who received a 2018 AACR NextGen Grant for Transformative Cancer Research for his project "Targeting cellular heterogeneity in cancer." This award "represent the AACR’s flagship funding initiative to stimulate highly innovative research from young investigators." 
  • Dr. Samuel Bakhoum, a Holman research fellow at Weill Cornell Medicine and a senior resident in radiation oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, has won a 2018 Tri-Institutional Breakout Award for Junior Investigators.


Two out of four professors from BCMB have been named to a list of the most influential scientific minds of 2015. The list — based on statistics maintained by Thomson Reuters — reflects the most prolific researchers in their respective fields of science.

The investigators named to the prestigious list were considered by the editors to be "a special subset of 'hot' researchers whose very recent work has won distinction in the form of citations… they are scientists who have won acclaim and approval within a key population: their peers."

The Weill Cornell Medicine professors on the list are:


  • Dr. Lukas Dow and Dr. Katherine Hajjar have each been selected to receive Daedalus Fund for Innovation awards for their projects "Selective TNKS2 Inhibition as a Collateral Vulnerability in Colorectal Cancer” (PI: Dow) and “Development of Novel Annexin A2 Antibodies as First-in-Class Therapeutic for Diabetic Retinopathy” (PI: Hajjar). The award is described as “a pioneering Weill Cornell Medicine program that helps advance promising applied and translational research projects and emerging technologies that have commercial potential.” Daedalus Fund Supports 15 Investigators

Two out of four professors from BCMB have been named to a list of the most influential scientific minds of 2015. The list — based on statistics maintained by Thomson Reuters — reflects the most prolific researchers in their respective fields of science.

The investigators named to the prestigious list were considered by the editors to be "a special subset of 'hot' researchers whose very recent work has won distinction in the form of citations… they are scientists who have won acclaim and approval within a key population: their peers."

The Weill Cornell Medicine professors on the list are:



Science on the Road

Student and faculty presentation highlights.


Like scientists across the globe, our BCMB community members have faced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the spirit of discovery never stops! And through perseverance, resilience, and innovation, our BCMB students have continued to conduct research and share their work with the wider scientific world:

  • In June 2020, Abderhman Abuhashem (Hadjantonakis lab) presented his work digitally through a poster presentation at the International Society for Stem Cell Research’s (ISSRC) 2020 virtual conference.
  • Also in June 2020, Fanying Tang (Khurana lab) presented a poster titled “Chromatin accessibility landscape and transcriptome of castration resistant prostate cancers reveals novel subtypes and diverse master regulators” at the virtual AARC Annual Meeting 2020. Fanying also presented a poster at the 13th Annual Multi-Institutional Prostate Cancer Program Retreat.
  • In April 2020, Sylvia Zohrabian (Intlekofer lab) attended the virtual conference “Cancer Metabolism and Signaling 2020” organized by the New York Academy of Sciences.
  • In February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, Tapojyoti Das (Eliezer lab) was able to travel in person and present his work at the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. He received the merit-based BPS Travel Award for this presentation. In addition, Tapojyoti is exciting to continue his work as an organizing member of Sci-ROI (Science and Research Opportunities in India, which aims to connect students and postdoctoral trainees in the US to academic, industry and entrepreneurial landscape in India. The last in-person meeting was held at the University of Chicago in September 2019, and this year there will be an online event in September 2020.
  • In January 2020, Allie Dananberg (Maciejowski lab) traveled to Palm Springs, CA, where she attended the 1st International Conference on Base Editing – Enzymes and Applications (Deaminet 2020). While there, she presented a poster titled “APOBEC3B induces kataegis in telomere crisis.”


The first half of 2018 was busy for BCMB students who were bitten by the travel bug. BCMB-ers presented their work at major meetings both near and far – some of these exciting student trips included:

  • In June 2018, Carolyn Maskin (Houvras lab), traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to present a poster of her work to over 700 attendees at the 13th International Zebrafish Conference.

  • Theodoros Giavridis (Sadelain lab) traveled to Chicago in May 2018 to attend the American Society of Cell & Gene Therapy (ASGCT) conference. While there, he gave a presentation of his PhD thesis work titled "Restraining macrophages alleviates CAR T cell-induced cytokine release syndrome and informs novel therapeutic interventions."

  • April 2018 was a busy month for Maria Bustillo (Zallen lab ), who presented a poster at the Northeastern Society for Developmental Biology meeting at Woods Hole, MA, and also attended the Vincent du Vigneaud Symposium where won she first place in the Student Oral Presentations category for her talk entitled “Ajuba stabilizes adhesion during tissue remodeling.”

  • Also in April 2018, Yujie Fan (Studer lab) attended the 2018 ENS conference in Boston, MA and presented a poster of her work "Derivation of human ENS lineages from sacral neural crest cells" as first author. This followed on the tails of a successful trip attending the NYSCF Conference in 2017.

  • Nicole Weiss (Luo lab ) who was awarded the Doris J. Hutchinson Fellowship – an internal award from the Sloan Kettering Division of Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. This fellowship recognizes outstanding research under the mentorship of an MSK faculty member.  

  • In September 2017, Christopher Nötzel (Kafsack Lab) attended the 27th Annual Molecular Parasitology Meeting in Woods Hole, MA, where he was honored with the Best Full Length Talk award for his presentation “Single-cell RNA-seq reveals hidden signature of sexual commitment in malaria parasites." This continues the tradition from last year, when Christopher attended the 26th Annual Molecular Parasitology Meeting, and was honored with the Best Turbo Talk award for his presentation “Measuring stochastic gene expression in Plasmodium falciparum blood stages using highly parallel expression profiling of single cells." Christopher’s travels will continue in November 2017, when he attends the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene thanks to a travel award from the ASTHM.  Learn more about the accomplishments of members of the entering class of 2015 here.

  • In August 2017, Yan Zhang (White lab)  was honored with a ZDM10 Conference Award for her poster “Insulin signalling regulates pigmentation via the sheddase BACE2.” Learn more about the accomplishments of members from the entering of the class of 2012 here.
  • In June 2017, Vidur Garg (Hadjantonakis lab) attended the 2017 ISSCR Annual Meeting in Boston, MA, where he presented his work "Distinct roles of FGFR1 and FGFR2 in the establishment of pluripotency in vivo". Learn more about the accomplishments of members of the entering class of 2013 here.
  • In March 2017, Ruoyao Chen (Overholtzer lab) traveled to Cancun, Mexico to attend the Fusion Cell Death, Cell Stress and Metabolism meeting where she won an award for her poster “Entosis is Induced by UV Radiation.” Ruoyao followed up her success with a trip to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in August, where she attended the 2017 Cell Death Meeting and gave a talk titled “Entosis is Induced by UV Radiation.” Learn more about the accomplishments of members of the entering class of 2014 here.


Whether presenting a poster, giving a talk or just sharing skills and knowledge, our BCMB Students have continued to share their amazing work with the wider world! Just some of the amazing trips our BCMB-ers have made over the past 12 months include:

  • Christopher Noetzel (Kafsack lab) gained cutting-edge experience in Woods Hole, MA where he attended the 7-week training course “Biology of Parasitism: Modern Approaches “ from June to August 2019. This unique experience allowed Christopher to connect with experts and gain in-depth training in molecular parasitology.
  • Last month (July 2019), Carolyn Maskin (Houvras lab) traveled to Boston to attend the annual Zebrafish Disease Models Conference (ZDMS) for the second year in a row. While there, she won an award for her Flash Talk titled “A  total synthetic approach to CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and homology-directed repair.” Congrats Carolyn!
  • Jiaqi Xu (Keeney lab) took a trip up north this past June where she presented a poster at both the Gordon Research Seminar and Gordon Research Conference “Chromosome Dynamics.”
  • Vidur Garg (Hadjantoankis lab) traveled to the ISSCR Annual meeting in Los Angeles, CA in June. While there, he presented a poster titled “Interrogating mechanisms driving the emergence of pluripotency using forward and reverse reprogramming strategies.” Prior to his cross-country trek, Vidur presented a poster in April 2019 at the Vincent du Vigneaud Memorial Research Symposium in NYC where he earned a second place prize for the second year in a row. Congrats Vidur!
  • Ashlesha Odak (Sadelain lab) gave an oral presentation titled “Novel Genomic Safe Harbors for effective T cell engineering” in April 2019, when she attended the annual meeting of American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy in Washington, DC. Ashlesha also received a travel award for her presentation! Congrats Ashlesha!
  • Theodoros Giavridis (Sadelain lab) hit the road in April 2019 where he gave an invited presentation at the 15th annual PEGS Boston Summit titled “The Myeloid System in Cytokine Release Syndrome.” This was Theo’s second invited presentation in 2019. Earlier in the year, Theo traveled to San Francisco, CA where he gave a talk titled “Mechanisms Driving CAR T cell-induced cytokine release syndrome." Theo also shared his work and experiences as a BCMB Student back in January 2019 during Cornell’s annual recruitment dinner! Thanks Theo!
  • April was off to a great start for Pradeep Ramalingam (Butler lab), who won a travel award for a poster presentation at the Hematopoietic Response to Stress workshop. Congrats Pradeep!
  • In March 2019, Nevin Yusufova (Melnick lab) flew to sunny Ventura, CA, where she presented a poster at the Gordon Research Conference “Stem Cells and Cancer.”
  • Alex Minikes (Jiang lab) shared his findings with international colleagues in November 2018 when he traveled to Suzhou, China to attended the first Cold Spring Harbor Asia conference “Iron, Reactive Oxygen Species & Ferroptosis in Life, Death & Disease.” While there, Alex presented a poster titled “Cystine deprivation induces mitochondrial lipid peroxidation.” 
  • In September 2018, Annum Munir (Shuman lab) kicked her academic year into high gear by presenting an oral talk at the monthly Molecular Biology Colloquium at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This follows three meetings she attended in 2017 where she presented a poster at: a Regeneron forum in Tarrytown NY, a Gordon Research Conference in Biddeford, ME, and at the 37th Annual Vincent du Vigneaud Memorial Research Symposium in NYC. 
  • Molly Ting-Yu Lin (Cantley lab) presented her work to the global community when she presented a poster titled “Regulation of Nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) by DNA Damage" at the 2018 ISREC “Horizons of Cancer Biology and Therapy” symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland.

First-Year Meeting

May 23rd at 5:30PM


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2024 Program Retreat
September 25-26, 2024
Mohonk Mountain House