April 2023

Tisch Cancer Hospital Leadership

Cardinale B. Smith, MD, PhD, has been appointed Chief Medical Officer for the Tisch Cancer Hospital and Vice President of Cancer Clinical Affairs, and Ash Tewari, MBBS, MCh, has been appointed Surgeon-in-Chief of the Tisch Cancer Hospital. Due to open in 2027, the Tisch Cancer Hospital will be a state-of-the-art cancer facility at The Mount Sinai Hospital, thanks to a generous $60 million gift from James S. and Merryl H. Tisch. 

Press Release


Faculty News, Awards, Honors

Cardinale Smith, MD, PhD, has been appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). A community of more than 28,000 multidisciplinary practitioners and 2,100 cancer programs and practices, ACCC brings together healthcare professionals across all disciplines in oncology to promote quality cancer care.

Ash Tewari, MBBS, MCh, was inducted into the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons (AAGUS) in March 2023. AAGUS comprises leading academic urologists around the world dedicated to the study of diseases of the genitourinary system.

Uroosa Ibrahim, MD, Assistant Professor, Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy, has been named Associate Director of the Cellular Therapy Program.


Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, is serving as Chair of the American Society of Hematology’s Scientific Committee on Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.

Luis Rivera, MD, breast surgeon at The Blavatnik Family Chelsea Medical Center, has expanded his practice to Mount Sinai Queens, where he sees patients on Monday mornings.

Email: [email protected]

Grant Awards

Karyn Goodman, MD, MS, received a Research Specialist Award (R50) from the NCI in support of her work as a clinical trialist and her service to the NCI. Dr. Goodman is PI on several NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) studies; she is the national Study Chair for the CALGB/Alliance randomized phase 2 trial investigating PET scan-directed therapy for esophageal cancer and the national Radiation Oncology PI of the RTOG/NRG 0848 phase 3 trial evaluating the use of post-operative radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer. Dr. Goodman is also Co-chair of the NCI Gastrointestinal Steering Committee and local PI of several NCTN trials at Mount Sinai.

Bridget Marcellino, MD, PhD, received a K08 award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for “The Role of PPM1D in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms.” Through a multipronged approach utilizing mouse models, patient-derived iPSC lines, and primary specimens from patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), Dr. Marcellino and colleagues—mentored by Ronald Hoffman, MD—will elucidate the role of PPM1D in MPN disease pathogenesis and progression. This work will lead to new insights into the mechanisms underlying MPN progression and could identify PPM1D as a potential druggable therapeutic target.

Daniela Sia, PhD, received a FY22 Rare Cancers Research Program Idea Award from the U.S. Department of Defense for “A Novel Immuno-oncology Pipeline for FGFR2 Fusion-Positive Cholangiocarcinoma.” The goal of Dr. Sia’s research is to characterize new immunocompetent murine models of cholangiocarcinoma driven by FGFR2 fusions and use them to investigate the immunoregulatory role of FGFR2 gene fusions and identify promising immunotherapeutic combinations. 

Goutam Chakraborty, PhD, received a NCI R01 award for “Functional Characterization and Development of Therapeutic Paradigms for DNA Damage Repair (DDR) – deficient Lethal Prostate Cancer.” Alterations in the genes that regulate the body’s processes for repairing damaged DNA, particularly BRCA2, have been linked to treatment failure and poor prognosis for men with prostate cancer. In this project, Dr. Chakraborty aims to comprehensively investigate the role of such alterations in the development of lethal, untreatable prostate cancer with the goal of identifying and developing novel combination treatments, such as targeted immunotherapy and radiotherapy.

Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, received a R01 grant from the NCI titled “Mechanisms and Targeting of Aberrant Gas Activation in Myeloid Neoplasms.” Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are myeloid neoplasms with dismal prognosis, frequent progression to acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and no effective treatment. The goal of this project is to investigate Gs, the alpha subunit of the stimulatory G protein, as a therapeutic target for MDS with splicing factor mutations and identify opportunities for therapeutic interventions that inhibit its activation or downstream signaling. This work can establish a new therapeutic target and lead to novel therapies that can transform the treatment of MDS, AML, and possibly other cancers.

Amir Horowitz, PhD; Matt Galsky, MD; and John Sfakianos, MD, have received funding from the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network to support “Targeting HLA-E/NKG2A for Overcoming BCG Resistance in Non-Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer (NIMBC).” Dr. Horowitz is Principal Investigator (PI); Dr. Galsky and Dr. Sfakianos are Co-PIs. They hypothesize that Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) induces changes in tumor expression of the proteins NKG2A and PD-1 on immune cells and HLA-E and PD-L1 on cancer cells which prevents the body's immune system from eradicating the tumor. They will conduct a Phase 2 clinical trial of combination PD-L1/NKG2A blockade (durvalumab/monalizumab) in patients with BCG-unresponsive NMIBC and determine whether measuring the proteins HLA-E and NKG2A in pre-treatment tumors might be used in the future to identify patients who are most likely to respond to this novel treatment regimen. 

Clinical Trials

Triparna Sen, PhD, has received funding from Jazz Pharmaceuticals for two studies focused on the mechanism of action of small cell lung cancer and biomarkers for second-line therapy.


  • Preclinical Investigation of the Effect of Lurbinectedin and Predictive Biomarkers in Small Cell Lung Cancer


  • A Phase 1 Study of Combination Lurbinectedin and Osimertinib for Patients with Metastatic EGFR-mutant Lung Cancers with Small Cell Lung Cancer Transformation and Disease Progression After Platinum-based Chemotherapy


Search here for cancer clinical trials by disease site/cancer type, investigator, or trial phase.

Shared Resources

The Tisch Cancer Institute (TCI) supports eight Shared Resources to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and foster the translation of scientific discoveries into novel cancer therapeutics.



Under the leadership of Jerry Edward Chipuk, PhD, the Shared Resources undergo continuous improvement through rigorous planning and evaluation mechanisms.


As a reminder, TCI members are required to acknowledge the Cancer Center Support Grant (P30-CA196521) awarded to TCI by the National Cancer Institute in all publications, grants, and awards that include data or services derived from the TCI Shared Resources to ensure tracking of impact.


For more information, visit the TCI Shared Resources webpage.


Zhihong Chen, PhD; Nishant Soni, PhD; Amaia Lujambio, PhD; Sergio Lira, MD, PhD; Nadejda Tsankova, MD PhD; Alexander Tsankov, PhD; Dolores Hambardzumyan, PhD, MBA; and colleagues

Monocyte depletion enhances neutrophil influx and proneural to mesenchymal transition in glioblastoma

Nature Communications. 2023 Apr 3. PMID: 37012245

This study focused on determining the mechanisms of infiltration of bone marrow-derived myeloid cells and the role they play in glioblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma progression. Results suggest a compensatory interplay between monocyte and neutrophil recruitment in tumors when tumors are highly enriched with either population. Targeting each pro-tumorigenic population separately results in compensatory recruitment of the other. Therefore, it is important to develop combinatorial therapies that are simultaneously directed at both monocytes and neutrophils.

Luena Papa, PhD; Tiphaine Martin, PhD; Mansour Djedaini; Mahtab Zangui, MD; Umut Ozbek, PhD; Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD; Ronald Hoffman, MD; Christoph Schaniel, PhD


Ex vivo reprogramming of human hematopoietic stem cells is accompanied by increased transcripts of genes regulating metabolic integrity

Experimental Hematology. 2023 Mar 29. PMID: 37001723


The regenerative potential of human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) is functionally defined by their ability to provide life-long blood cell production and to repopulate myeloablated allogeneic transplant recipients. The expansion of HSC numbers is dependent on HSC divisions as well as a coordinated adaptation of HSCs to metabolic stress. In this study, the researchers present evidence that ex vivo HSC reprogramming and maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) is accompanied by increased transcripts of genes regulating metabolic integrity, including SIRT1 and SIRT3. Findings provide novel insights into key metabolic pathways that contribute to the epigenetic reprogramming of human long-term (LT) HSCs, particularly under ex vivo stress conditions, and highlight the contributing role of SIRT1 and SIRT3 to the fitness and functionality of human LT-HSCs irrespective of culture conditions.

Josep Llovet, MD, PhD; Scott Friedman, MD; and colleagues


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis-related hepatocellular carcinoma: pathogenesis and treatment

Nature Reviews. Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2023 Mar 17. PMID: 36932227


In this review, Dr. Llovet, Dr. Friedman, and colleagues present the latest knowledge of the pathogenic mechanisms and clinical management of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). They discuss data highlighting the unique tissue microenvironment in NASH-HCC and the controversy over varying responses to immune-checkpoint inhibitors, and suggest that the future of NASH-HCC management lies in improved surveillance, targeted combination therapies to overcome immune evasion, and identifying biomarkers to recognize treatment responders.


James Manfredi, PhD; Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD; and colleagues


In vivo RNA-seq and ChIP-seq analyses show an obligatory role for the C terminus of p53 in conferring tissue-specific radiation sensitivity

Cell Reports. 2023 Mar 15. PMID: 36924496

Dr. Manfredi and colleagues used an integrated RNA-seq and ChIP-seq approach to generate the p53 transcriptome and cistrome for the radiation response in three different tissues—thymus, spleen, and liver—in the mouse. This led to the identification of 20 shared genes across the three tissues as well as an apoptotic gene signature of upregulated targets that is shared by the radiosensitive tissues thymus and spleen, but not the radioresistant liver. They went on to show a key role for the C-terminus of p53 in the radiation resistance; using a novel engineered mouse model, they showed that deletion of the C-terminus of p53 confers enhanced radiation sensitivity in the otherwise resistant liver. Findings lay the groundwork for understanding the molecular nature of the shared thymus and spleen response to radiation.

Sacha Gnjatic, PhD, and colleagues


Phase I study of a multivalent WT1 peptide vaccine (galinpepimut-S) in combination with nivolumab in patients with WT1-expressing ovarian cancer in second or third remission

Cancers. 2023 Feb 25. PMID: 36900251

This Phase 1 study assessed the safety and immunogenicity of a Wilm’s Tumor 1 (WT1) peptide vaccine in combination with nivolumab in patients with WT1-expressing ovarian cancer in second or third remission. Findings provide evidence that the combination of immunotherapies such as immune checkpoint inhibitors and vaccines results in enhanced anti-tumor immune responses.

Aimee Lucas, MD, MS, and colleagues

Association of antibiotic receipt with survival among patients with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma receiving chemotherapy

JAMA Network Open. 2023 Mar 23. PMID: 36951863


This retrospective cohort study of 3850 patients with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma showed that use of peritreatment antibiotics in first-line gemcitabine chemotherapy was associated with improved overall- and cancer-specific survival.

Utsav Sen, PhD; Charles Coleman, BS; Triparna Sen, PhD


Stearoyl coenzyme A desaturase-1: multitasker in cancer, metabolism, and ferroptosis

Trends in Cancer. 2023 April 5. PMID: 37029018

In this review, Dr. Sen and colleagues summarize the role of Stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) in cancer cell progression, survival, and ferroptosis, and discuss potential strategies to exploit inhibition of SCD1—an essential component of lipid metabolism—as an attractive target for cancer therapy via future clinical trials. 

Presentations and Events

Workshop on Splicing Factor Mutations and RNA Biology in Cancer

Hosted by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

May 11-12

The Leon and Norma Hess Center for Science and Medicine

1470 Madison Avenue


For more information, contact organizers Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, or Ernesto Guccione, PhD.

Nicholas Rohs, MD, has been named the 2023 LUNG FORCE Walk New York City’s Medical Honoree for his commitment to defeating lung cancer, and is Captain of the Mount Sinai walk team. Register here to support and join the team on Saturday, May 13.

Highlighted Presentations at Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 14-19


Late-breaking Research:

Patient-derived iPSCs Faithfully Represent the Genetic Diversity and Cellular Architecture of Human Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD


Oral Presentation:

Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics: New Tricks for Known Targets: Novel Approaches to Inhibit Oncogenic Signaling

Ana Orive-Ramos, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Poulikakos Lab


Plenary Session, Embracing Immune Ecosystems:

Targeting Myeloid in Cancer

Miriam Merad, MD, PhD


Panel Discussion:

Rationally Designing Combination Immunotherapy Trials: Identifying Biomarkers Prior to Phase 3

Thomas Marron, MD, PhD

Melanoma Res Alliance

Emily Bernstein, PhD; Jerry Edward Chipuk, PhD; and Poulikos Poulikakos, PhD, represented TCI at the 2023 Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) Scientific Retreat, an invitation-only event held March 8-11. As former and/or current MRA grant recipients, they share the mission of the MRA to collaborate with stakeholders to accelerate powerful research, advance cures, and prevent more melanomas.

Triparna Sen, PhD, served as Chair of the Heterogeneity and Plasticity Session at the IASLC 2023 Hot Topic Meeting: Small Cell Lung Cancer, held April 5-7. This biannual international meeting focuses on preclinical and clinical advances in small cell lung cancer research.

CCI/CI/CM/CPC Nodal Meetings are designed to foster interdisciplinary interactions and collaboration, leading to the development of multi-PI and program project grants. Future meetings:

Questions? Contact Poulikos Poulikakos, PhD, or Steven Burakoff, MD

CCI (Cancer Clinical Investigation) CI (Cancer Immunology)

CM (Cancer Mechanisms) CPC (Cancer Prevention and Control)

Education News

Pauline Hamon, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Merad Lab, was one of four speakers from TCI at the February 27 Pre- and Post-Doctoral Scientific Symposium held at Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC). A joint effort of TCI and HICCC, the annual symposium is designed to foster collaboration and scientific exchange.

Dr. Hamon’s research includes a focus on enhancing therapeutic immunity for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who do not benefit from checkpoint blockade. She presented on a study that analyzed the molecular and spatial organization patterns of immune cells within the tumor microenvironment; findings highlight the need to investigate the role of tumor-associated macrophages in a cancer specific manner.


Read More About Dr. Hamon's Research

The NCI-funded STANDOUT (Summer Training Accelerating and Nurturing the Development of Outstanding Undergraduate Trainees) Program (R25 CA260125) has recruited its first cohort for 2023. STANDOUT is a strategic partnership between the Center for Behavioral Oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Guy Montgomery, PhD, Principal Investigator) and Hunter College. The program enables 16 undergraduate students at Hunter College to participate in a summer research internship designed to inspire them to pursue advanced education and training in behavioral cancer prevention and control. The program provides stipend funds plus funds for research supplies and travel—an incredible opportunity for students who might otherwise be unable to spend a summer developing their research skills due to financial constraints. The selected students will be placed in the labs of mentors from the Center for Behavioral Oncology and Hunter College. Biweekly meetings and an end-of-program convention will promote discussions about research, career development, and transitions to graduate school. More information is available at www.standoutprogram.com.


Do you have news for the next issue of TCI Connections

Please send to Janet Aronson (646-745-6376).

Remember to share breaking news and high impact news that might be appropriate for media coverage with Marlene Naanes (929-237-5802) in the Press Office. This may include pending FDA drug/device approvals, studies/trial results being published in high-impact journals, and patient stories. The more lead time you can give Marlene, the better—ideally, four weeks or when a paper is accepted by the journal. Embargoes will always be honored and news will only be released with your approval.

  TCI Connections  is a monthly publication of The Tisch Cancer Institute
Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director
Janet Aronson , Editor
Past issues of  TCI Connections  are available on the TCI website