• Columbia University Releases 2019 Gerstner Scholars Program Report

    Following Columbia's 2019 Gerstner Scholars Program Celebration in June, the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons released a new report on the program, introducing this year's scholars and highlighting the accomplishments of past recipients. Founded in 2008, the Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars Program supports promising physician-scientists in the early stages of their career. To date, 48 young investigators have been named Gerstner Scholars and 5 have received the Gerstner Merit Award. Together, they have amassed over $145 million in additional funding.

    Read the full report
  • Columbia University Announces 2019 Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars
    June 20, 2019

    Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons have selected this year's cohort of Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars. The group includes four physician-scientists at the college and a fifth physician-scientist has been named a 2019 Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Merit Awardee. The Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars Program annually supports tenure-track physicians who conduct research that has the promise to bring new treatments to patients. The fund provides a stipend of $75,000 per year, for up to three years, to support the awardees’ research projects. Scholars are nominated by a committee of distinguished research faculty and selected by the VP&S dean. The program has named scholars every year since 2008. The program also presents the Gerstner Merit Award to an outstanding third-year Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholar who has made great strides in research.

  • Gerstner Scholar Led Study Reveals New Insights Into Evolution of Sea Anemones

    A new study published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution this month sheds new light on the evolution of the symbiotic relationship between clownfish and sea anemones. The relationship between the anemone and the clownfish is a mutually beneficial one. The anemone protects clownfishes from bigger fishes who, unlike the clownfish, lack the ability to neutralize the anemone's sting. In return, clownfishes will ward away animals that might try to eat the anemone. There are 10 described species of clownfish-hosting anemones, but scientists suspect that the total number may be much higher. And the information on the origin of these species, as well as the number of times the symbiosis evolved in anemones, is sparse and dated. To fill in these gaps, the research team, led by American Museum of Natural History Gerstner Scholar and Lerner Gray Postdoctoral Fellow Benjamin Titus, built a phylogenetic tree based on DNA from newly collected anemone specimens. They found that as a group, anemones independently evolved the ability to host clownfish three times throughout history. "For a symbiosis that's supposedly highly co-evolved, the groups originated in very different parts of the world and probably also at very different times," Titus said.

  • Gerstner Regenerative Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic Addresses Need For Rigorous Stem Cell Study and Regulation

    After publishing the results of the world’s first randomized, controlled trial studying the effects of bone marrow aspiration and concentration containing marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, the Mayo Clinic, with support from Gerstner Philanthropies, launched the Gerstner Regenerative Medicine Initiative. The goal is to advance research and develop evidence- based best practices for the delivery of regenerative therapies for arthritis by completing randomized and controlled stem cell trials to treat knee osteoarthritis, developing an outcome registry for these regenerative therapies to guide patients and physicians, and completing a prospective cohort study of regenerative therapies for hip, shoulder, and wrist/hand arthritis. Increased study and regulation of the use of stem cells in regenerative therapies is much needed; a judge recently ruled against a clinic offering unregulated stem-cell treatments, with more federal crackdowns on the horizon. As Dr. Shane Shapiro, principal investigator of the Regenerative Medicine Initiative, has stated, "Many clinics across the country have been offering stem cells, but no one had studied them. At Mayo Clinic, we feel stem cells require rigorous study before we offer them to patients.”

    Read more about the Gerstner Regenerative Medicine Initiative at
    Read more on the regulation of stem cell clinics at
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Commencement and Convocation Honors Scientists and Scholars from MSK and Beyond

    Memorial Sloan Kettering’s 2019 Convocation and the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Commencement ceremony honored the accomplishments of doctors, students, and scientists from both MSK and the broader research community. The ceremony recognized the 14 students from the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK) who received their PhD degrees in cancer science this year. It was the school’s largest class of graduates ever, bringing the total number of GSK alumni to 67. Awards were also given to notable scientists and doctors from both inside and outside MSK. In addition to the GSK graduates, MSK President and CEO, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, congratulated the 44 PhD recipients from the 2019 class of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences who conducted their research in MSK labs. Highlighted work at the ceremony included the discovery of a new organelle, called TIGER, which plays a role in protein translation; a collaborative study that identified the gene expression patterns of more than 45,000 individual immune cells in breast tumors; and the latest advances in chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy.