Integration Stories

From seed grant funding to serendipitous introductions during symposium events, the Academic Integration initiative is yielding exciting intercampus collaborations with tangible outcomes. Highlighted by these Integration Stories, learn how investigators took advantage of various collaboration opportunities to advance their research discoveries.


The Power of Collaboration

“I was able to find the missing pieces to my project and the expertise that I needed.”

Collaborations between the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine (EIPM), Cornell University in Ithaca, and Cornell Tech are important to the future of precision medicine. To highlight the intellectual rewards of collaboration, we are pleased to introduce two young Ph.D. students from Cornell University who are spending significant time at the EIPM in New York City working on cutting-edge research projects.

 Andrea De Micheli (left) is a visiting Ph.D. student from the laboratory of Dr. Benjamin Cosgrove at Cornell University in Ithaca. Matthew Mosquera is a visiting Ph.D. student in Dr. Ankur Singh’s lab at the Schools of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical…

Intercampus Collaboration Yields a Successful Multi-PI R01

Many viruses are cloaked with an envelope derived from the host cell. To deliver the genome of the virus into the cell, viruses encode dedicated glycoproteins (fusion proteins) that are embedded in the envelope and which mediate the membrane fusion process. These fusion proteins come in three basic classes, with “class I” being found in such important viruses as influenza, HIV and paramyxoviruses. In these cases, it is well known that during virus entry a critical peptide is flipped out of the glycoprotein following proteolytic cleavage—to produce a so-called “external” fusion peptide. However, within class I there are a subset of glycoproteins that have “internal” fusion peptides that are much less well understood. Such viruses include some of great biomedical importance: SARS-…

Virginia Pascual, Director, Drukier Institute (WCM)

I would like to project that is developing as the result of the "Immunology in Health and Disease Symposium” that took place in Ithaca in June 2018. I met Ankur Singh at that time and was very impressed with his “on chip” lymph node approach as a tool to understand many aspects of the regulation of antibody responses. As you know, my group has been involved in the characterization of human follicular, and more recently extra-follicular, T cell helper cells in the context of systemic autoimmune diseases. With Ankur’s help, we could think of modeling these responses in vitro using cells from patients and controls. This would be a great step towards understanding basic disease mechanisms. Since June, we have had several exchanges and I found Ankur very engaged and excited with the…

Intercampus Symposium Fosters New Collaborations for Danko

My talk at the RNA symposium last year led to an invitation to speak at WCMC, and a bunch of discussions about collaborative projects with Elemento, Mason, Melnick, and other investigators in NYC. I have also been involved in three of the NYC/ Ithaca seed grants. These have led to several trips to NYC to chart out new collaborative projects with investigators on both campuses. These have led to a projects with both Effie Apostolou/ Maria Garcia-Garcia and Luke Dow, Shuibing Chen, and Praveen Sethupathy. I think both projects - especially the latter (because we have a very committed graduate student leading it) will both go somewhere very exciting! 

How the GIST Intercampus Seed Grant Grew a Crop of NIH Applications

Together with Dr. Paul Maciejewski, I co-direct the Cornell Center for Research on End-of-Life Care. At our weekly Center meetings, we were discussing a common critique of our NIH grant applications. A consistent criticism was that our studies were atheoretical and lacked a conceptual framework.  We realized that our program of research would benefit from a relevant theoretical framework that could be applied to the clinical problems that we studied.

We began our search for theories that might provide the conceptual underpinnings of our research. Paul noticed that our Cornell, Ithaca faculty member, Dr. Valerie Reyna, had formulated Fuzzy-Trace Theory.  Fuzzy-Trace Theory would suggest that communication of a significant “bottom line” – compared to one that conveys arbitrary,…

Exploring the Kinome for DNA Repair and Cancer Regulatory Pathways

Barry Sleckman, WCM Marcus Smolka, Cornell University

Cancer cells have unstable genomes with alterations, such as chromosomal translocations and deletions, often leading to cellular changes that improve cancer cell fitness, allowing tumors to be more aggressive and resistant to therapy. These alterations frequently arise from the misrepair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs), which are normally repaired by highly conserved and efficient cellular pathways. These pathways are regulated by kinases, enzymes that add phosphate groups on to proteins, altering their functions in DNA DSB repair. There are three kinases; ATM, ATR and DNA-PKcs that play central roles in regulating DNA repair. These kinases have some overlapping functions in DNA repair and the inactivation of one, which…