Biomedical Research News

  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Mayo Clinic Launches Multidisciplinary Effort to Improve Spine Pain Treatment

    In the clinical setting, attempts to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of various treatments for spine have been difficult. Currently, there is no consensus among providers on optimal spine care pathways and although experts recognize that a spine pain registry would help providers make evidence-based decisions for patients with these conditions, the development of such a registry has been challenging. To address this issue, a Mayo Clinic research team led by Wenchun Qu, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., and William D. Mauck, M.D., has launched an integrated, multidisciplinary effort called the Gerstner Spine Pain Initiative. The Gerstner Spine Pain Initiative, made possible by a grant from The Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Fund at Vanguard Charitable, is designed to have a direct impact on how clinicians care for their patients with spine pain. The initiative comprises two interrelated components: the development and implementation of a patient outcomes database and data collection platform to support critical evaluation of best practices and clinical trial planning, implementation and critical appraisal, and the completion of a randomized, controlled, clinical trial of a novel and promising therapeutic strategy based on emerging regenerative technologies developed at Mayo.