SARS-CoV-2 Can Infect Dopamine Neurons Causing Senescence

January 17, 2024

A new study, published in Cell Stem Cell on Jan. 17, reported that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, can infect dopamine neurons in the brain and trigger senescence—when a cell loses the ability to grow and divide. “This project started out to investigate how various types of cells in different organs respond to SARS-CoV-2 infection. We tested lung cells, heart cells, pancreatic beta cells, but the senescence pathway is only activated in dopamine neurons,” said senior author and Metabolic Center member Dr. Shuibing Chen, director of the Center for Genomic Health, the Kilts Family Professor Surgery and a member of the Hartman Institute for Therapeutic Organ Regeneration at Weill Cornell Medicine.. "This was a completely unexpected result.” [Read more]

Dr. Marcus D. Goncalves Inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation 

January 16, 2024

Metabolic Center member Dr. Marcus D. Goncalves, the Ralph L. Nachman, M.D. Research Scholar and an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Weill Cornell Medicine, has been elected as a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) for 2024. [Read more]

Immunotherapy and Radiation Combo Shows Improved Outcomes for Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

January 11, 2024

A new study reported that patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with a combination of low-dose radiation and immunotherapy had higher progression-free survival compared to patients who received immunotherapy alone two years after treatment. “Using a low dose of radiation to enhance the immune response, rather than a high dose to destroy the tumor, was a novel feature of the trial,” said co-senior author and Metabolic Center member Dr. Timothy McGraw, professor of biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medicine. “From that perspective, I believe Dr. Altorki’s trial design remains unique.” [Read more]

Scientists Use Organoid Model to Identify Potential New Pancreatic Cancer Treatment 

December 26, 2023

A drug screening system that models cancers using lab-grown tissues called organoids has helped uncover a promising target for future pancreatic cancer treatments, according to a new study from researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine. Co-senior author and Metabolic Center member Dr. Shuibing Chen, director of the Center for Genomic Health, the Kilts Family Professor Surgery and a member of the Hartman Institute for Therapeutic Organ Regeneration at Weill Cornell Medicine. [Read more]

3D Organization of DNA Controls Cell Identity Programs

December 20, 2023

study led by Center member Dr. Effie Apostolou, published Dec. 5 in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, provides new insights into a complex layer of genetic regulation. It shows that at the earliest phases of embryonic development, changes in the 3D organization of DNA dictate cell fate decisions. Noncoding stretches of DNA, called enhancers, which regulate the spatiotemporal expression of other genes, play a pivotal role. The way the DNA is folded in the tiny nucleus brings these enhancers close to genes they regulate and dictates which gene expression programs are turned on. They show that this type of 3D epigenetic regulation is critical for committing to one of the very first cell lineages that are formed in an embryo. They also identify highly interacting “3D hubs”, clusters of enhancers and genes, that play a vital role in dictating these cell fates. [Read more]

Tirzepatide Enhances Weight Loss with Sustained Treatment but Discontinuation Leads to Weight Regain

December 11, 2023

The results from the SURMOUNT-4 study led by Center member Dr. Louis Aronne, which appeared Dec. 11 in JAMA and was sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, demonstrated that the drug can substantially help people struggling with health issues related to their weight, but it is not a quick-fix to weight loss. [Read more]

Specific Genetic Variant May Help Prevent Obesity

December 7, 2023

A preclinical study led by Center member Dr. Timothy McGrawshows that a specific human genetic variant of a receptor that stimulates insulin release may help individuals be more resistant to obesity. The researchers discovered that this variant behaves differently in the cell which may contribute to more efficient metabolism. The study, posted online in Molecular Metabolism on Nov. 2, provides new insight into how human genetic variations affect an individual’s susceptibility to weight gain. [Read more] 

Drug Screen Points Toward Novel Diabetes Treatments

November 9, 2023

A drug currently in clinical trials as a cancer therapy can also stimulate pancreatic beta cells to secrete insulin, revealing a previously unknown mechanism for insulin regulation in type 2 diabetes, according to a new study by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators. The preclinical discovery led by Center member Dr. Shuibing Chen, reported Nov. 9 in Nature Chemical Biology, provides a new chemical tool for probing the biology of diabetes, and could point the way toward better treatments for the disease.

[Read more]

Center member Dr. Marcus Goncalves discusses his work on trying to identify causes and potential treatments for the wasting syndrome cachexia

November 9, 2023

[Watch here]

New Study Reveals Promising Findings to Treat Type 2 Diabetes

November 8, 2023

A new study led by Center Director Dr. Laura Alonso published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has demonstrated that activating a pathway to promote cell division not only expanded the population of insulin-producing cells, but, surprisingly, also enhanced the cells’ function. The findings hold promise for future therapeutics that will improve the lives of individuals with type 2 diabetes—a condition that affects more than half a billion people worldwide. [Read more]

Large-scale study reveals new genetic details of diabetes

October 19, 2023

In experiments of unprecedented scale co-led by Center member Dr. Shuibing Chen, investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine and the National Institutes of Health have revealed new aspects of the complex genetics behind Type 2 diabetes. Through these discoveries, and by providing a template for future studies, this research furthers efforts to better understand and ultimately treat this common metabolic disease. [Read more]

Study Reveals Why Cancer May Spread To The Spine

September 13, 2023

In the study led by Center member Dr. Matthew Greenblatt, published Sept. 13 in Nature, the researchers discovered that vertebral bone is derived from a stem cell that is different from other bone-making stem cells. Using bone-like “organoids” made from vertebral stem cells, they showed that the known tendency of tumors to spread to the spine—more than to long bones such as leg bones—is due largely to a protein called MFGE8, secreted by these stem cells. [Read more]

Intercampus symposium brings together Cornell researchers studying metabolic health

On Sept. 11 and 12, 2023, a cross-campus symposium brought together nearly 100 Cornell researchers from the Ithaca Campus and the Weill Cornell Medicine Campus in New York City to catalyze the kind of interdisciplinary collaborations necessary to address the growing health challenge of diabetes, obesity, and metabolic diseases. [Read more]

Weill Center for Metabolic Health launches T32 program in endocrinology and metabolism with two fellows

July, 2023

Dr. Agnieszka (Agnes) Agas received her Ph.D. from New Jersey Institute of Technology, and joined Weill Cornell Medicine in 2021. In her postdoctoral work, she aims to find a better way to increase adipogenesis by lengthening the early clonal expansion period, which can make each preadipocyte divide more times before terminally differentiating, thereby increasing the number of adipocytes produced per preadipocyte without depleting the preadipocyte pool.

Dr. Jack Sanford received his PhD from University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where he studied the mechanisms through which the p53 regulates metabolism. For his postdoctoral work in Dr. Marcus Goncalves’ lab at Weill Cornell Medicine, Jack will characterize the role of the lung secretome in the context of metabolic disease.

Dr. Joe Zhou Wins 2023 Biomedical Business Plan Challenge

June 15, 2023

As one of six pitches at the 2023 Biomedical Business Plan Challenge Final Pitch Day competition, Dr. Joe Zhou made the case for the necessity of developing new approaches to treat diabetes, a disease he called “a true epidemic of the modern world.” Dr. Zhou’s team won the first-place award, which totaled $80,000 and will go toward research and development. Dr. Zhou previously received an award from Weill Cornell Medicine’s Daedalus Fund for Innovation (also part of Enterprise Innovation), a dedicated in-house technology development and de-risking program, for this research. Read more

Dr. Matthew Greenblatt Wins Pershing Square Foundation’s Inaugural MIND Prize

April 24, 2023

Dr. Matthew Greenblatt, an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, has been awarded the Pershing Square Foundation’s Maximizing Innovation in Neuroscience Discovery (MIND) Prize to support his work studying how bone cells may influence Alzheimer’s disease progression.

Obesity May Exacerbate Breast Cancer Risk in Women with BRCA Mutations

March 21, 2023

study, published in the Feb. 22 issue of Science Translational Medicine, suggests that weight management and medications that impact metabolic health may be an important part of preventive care for women with these genetic mutations, although further research is needed.

Obesity and poor metabolic health are known breast cancer risk factors in the general population, “but whether these modifiable risk factors contribute to breast cancer development in BRCA mutation carriers has been largely unknown,” said senior study author Dr. Kristy A. Brown, the Emilie Lippmann and Janice Jacobs McCarthy Research Scholar in Breast Cancer and an associate professor of biochemistry in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Dr. Gwendolyne Jack selected for the National Minority Quality Forum 40 under 40 Award

March 18, 2023

National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) announced its 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health for 2023 that will receive recognition and awards during National Minority Health Month in April.

Since 2016, NMQF has selected 40 health leaders from minoritized populations under the age of 40 who have been leading the charge to better patient outcomes and build sustainable healthy communities. These leaders are clinicians, patient advocates, researchers and policy makers. These 40 leaders have persevered in strengthening their communities and reducing health disparities amid ongoing challenges within the healthcare system.

Dr. Shuibing Chen elected to the Board of Directors of the International Society for Stem Cell Research

March 11, 2023

The ISSCR Board of Directors consists of 23 members. Nominations for the Board of Directors are submitted by the ISSCR community annually between August and September. All nominations are reviewed by the Nominating Committee, chaired by the Past President. Candidates are selected with attention given to scientific authority, international diversity, overall board composition, and strategic initiatives of the organization.

Losing Key Type of Pancreatic Cell May Contribute to Diabetes

March 16, 2023

In a study, published March 16 in Nature Cell Biology and led by Dr. James Lo and colleagues measured gene expression in individual beta cells collected from mice to determine how many different types of beta cells exist in the pancreas. The team discovered four distinct beta cell types, including one that stood out. The cluster 1 group of beta cells produced more insulin than other beta cells and appeared better able to metabolize sugar. The study also showed that loss of this beta cell type might contribute to type 2 diabetes.  

Study Identifies Human Genes Enabling SARS-CoV-2 Infection

March 13, 2023

In a study led by Dr. Shuibing Chen, which appears March 13 in Nature Cell Biology, the researchers used multiple models of human organs, called organoids, to search for general host factors that influence infections by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. They identified CIART as a strong SARS-CoV-2-enabling factor in organoids modeling both lung and heart tissue. The researchers traced CIART’s permissive effect on SARS-CoV-2 infection to its stimulation of the synthesis of small molecules called fatty acids.

Dr. James Lo elected to the 2023 American Society for Clinical Investigation

February 14, 2023

Founded in 1908, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, composed of more than 3,000 physician-scientists from all medical specialties, is one of the nation’s oldest medical honor societies and is among the few organizations focused on the special role of physician-scientists in research, clinical care, and medical education, as well as leadership positions in academic medicine and the life sciences industry.

Intercampus Symposium 2023

February 10, 2023

The Weill Center for Metabolic Health and the Center for Precision Nutrition and Health at Cornell University have been awarded a grant to co-host the Intercampus Research Symposium Metabolic Health: From Molecules to Populations to be held on September 11-12 in Ithaca, NY. 

T32 program in endocrinology and metabolism

January 6, 2023

The Endocrinology and Metabolism T32 is awaiting Notice of Award

Co-Investigator on NIH Center Grant

November 18, 2022

Dr. Alpana Shukla has been invited to serve as Co-Investigator on an NIH Center Grant on Nutrition for Precision Health, ancillary to the All of Us project, through Cornell University in Ithaca

NIH Grant on Cancer Prevention Vaccine Research

November 11, 2022

Dr. Tim McGraw, along with Drs. Steven Lipkin and Nasser Altorki, received a $5.6M grant from the National Cancer Institute for a study entitled, "CAP-IT Center for LNP RNA Immunoprevention"

NASDAQ opening bell 

November 1, 2022

Maryanne Richardson, CDCES, one of our stellar Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists in the ambulatory endocrinology clinic, rang the opening bell of the NASDAQ this morning in celebration of National Diabetes Month

USF Health, Weill Cornell Medicine Earn Inaugural Funding in NIH’s Newly Launched Bridge2AI Initiative

September 13, 2022

NIH Common Fund’s Bridge2AI program is designed to use AI to tackle complex biomedical challenges. The University of South Florida is the lead institution on the project in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine and ten other institutions. The first year of the project includes $3.8 million from the NIH, with potentially $14 million subsequent funding over the following three years. Voice as a Biomarker of Health is being co-led by Olivier Elemento, PhD, a Metabolic Center member and Dr. Yaël Bensoussan, MD, from USF. 

Dr. Joe Zhou receives the Daedalus Fund for Innovation

August 3, 2022

Metabolic Center member Dr. Joe Zhou, Professor of Regenerative Medicine, received the Daedalus Fund for Innovation of Weill Cornell Medicine for his proposal: Developing a Novel Cell Therapy to Treat Type 1 Diabetes. The Daedalus Fund for Innovation is designed to advance early-stage applied and translational research projects and/or technologies that have clear-cut, relatively near-term commercial potential. Recipients of Daedalus funding are selected through a very stringent review process.

Dr. Laura Alonso Chosen for Fellowship in Prestigious Executive Leadership Program

June 23, 2022

Dr. Laura Alonso has been selected to be a fellow of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program at Drexel University College of Medicine. The competitive, year-long fellowship is the only program in North America dedicated to preparing women for senior leadership roles in academic science institutions.

Team co-led by Dr. Marcus Goncalves receives $25m Cancer Grand Challenges funding 

June 16, 2022

Representing a total investment of $100m funded through the partnership between Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute in the US, the Cancer Grand Challenges community unites more than 700 researchers and advocates to take on 10 challenges, across 11 teams and 10 countries. The CANCAN team will take on the Cachexia challenge. Led by Eileen White (Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey), Marcus DaSilva Goncalves (Weill Cornell Medicine) and Tobias Janowitz (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory), the team will develop a deeper understanding of this debilitating wasting condition often in the later stages of cancer and identify urgently needed therapies.  

Tirzepatide powers ‘unprecedented’ weight loss in SURMOUNT-1

June 6, 2022

The weight-loss results seen in SURMOUNT-1 “put tirzepatide squarely in the range of weight loss achieved with bariatric surgery,” concluded Metabolic Center member Louis J. Aronne, MD, a coinvestigator on the trial, professor at WCM, director of the Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Clinical Research of Weill Cornell.

Rachel Stahl received the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists Rising Star Award

June 1, 2022

The Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists Rising Star Award recognizes a diabetes care and education specialist who has less than five years of diabetes care and education. experience and has demonstrated leadership and commitment in their practice.

Dr. Shannon Reilly received a Research Assistance for Primary Parents Award for 2022

May 31, 2022

The Research Assistance for Primary Parents Initiative provides technical support to exceptional faculty members, both male and female, who are primary caregivers for an infant or child. Its goal is to help recipients advance their research projects while also negotiating childcare responsibilities.

Dr. Shahin Rafii inducted into Association of American Physicians

April 11, 2022

Three distinguished Weill Cornell Medicine physician-scientists, Dr. Joseph J. Fins, Dr. Rainu Kaushal and Dr. Shahin Rafii, have been elected to the esteemed Association of American Physicians (AAP).

Regarded as one of the top honors in the field of health and medicine, election to the AAP recognizes physician-scientists exhibiting excellence in the pursuit of medical knowledge and advancing basic or translational science discoveries and their use in clinical medicine.

Are COVID-19-Linked Arrhythmias Caused by Viral Damage to the Heart’s Pacemaker Cells?

April 1, 2022

The SARS-CoV-2 virus can infect specialized pacemaker cells that maintain the heart’s rhythmic beat, setting off a self-destruction process within the cells, according to a preclinical study co-led by Metabolic Center member Dr. Shuibing Chen at Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian and NYU Grossman School of Medicine. The findings offer a possible explanation for the heart arrhythmias that are commonly observed in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the study, reported March 8 in Circulation Research, the researchers used an animal model as well as human stem cell-derived pacemaker cells to show that SARS-CoV-2 can readily infect pacemaker cells and trigger a process called ferroptosis, in which the cells self-destruct but also produce reactive oxygen molecules that can impact nearby cells.

New York Post: “New research shows higher risk of developing diabetes after COVID infection"

March 22, 2022

Metabolic Center faculty member Dr. Shuibing Chen was featured in a New York Post article titled “New research shows higher risk of developing diabetes after COVID infection.” 

There are several possible biological reasons why a diabetes diagnosis might follow a COVID-19 infection. “The beta cells lost their cell identity and turned into a different type of cell,” says Shuibing Chen, director of the diabetes program at Weill Cornell Medicine in Manhattan, who led the study. Dr. Chen says COVID-19 infection appears to be triggering a new type of diabetes that isn’t Type 1 or Type 2. Dr. Chen says her team is studying treatments specifically for COVID-19 patients newly diagnosed with diabetes to see whether they can block the process by which the cells might change.

Researchers Awarded Grant to Study New Method of Islet Transplantation

January 5, 2022

Members of the Weill Center for Metabolic Health, Dr. Rebecca Craig-SchapiroDr. Shahin Rafii, and Dr. Qiao Zhou, have received a two-year $500,000 grant from JDRF to evaluate an innovative approach to islet cell transplantation, an experimental treatment for difficult-to-control type 1 diabetes. The research will be conducted in mouse models of this disease.

Clinician of the Year Award for Excellence in Clinical Management of Obesity

December 30, 2021

Metabolic Center member Dr. Louis Aronne, the Sanford I. Weill Professor of Metabolic Research and a professor of clinical medicine, has been awarded the Clinician of the Year Award by the Clinical Management of Obesity Section of The Obesity Society. The Clinician of the Year Award signifies excellence in the practice of obesity medicine and distinguishes a physician as having achieved a high level of competency and understanding in obesity care.

Researchers Identify Significant Differences in Tumor Characteristics Between Younger and Older Cancer Patients

December 7, 2021

Investigators led by our Metabolic Center member Dr. Olivier Elemento have identified significant differences in the molecular characteristics of tumors from younger and older cancer patients across several cancer types. Their research, published Dec. 7 in Cell Reports, suggests that cancer treatment could potentially be tailored by age. The study also identified pre-existing drugs that could target mutations predominantly found in younger cancer patients—promising candidates for future clinical research.

Protein Variant Identified that Renders Chemotherapy Ineffective in Gastric Cancer

December 6, 2021

A new protein variant underlies the ability of gastric cancers to resist an otherwise effective family of chemotherapy drugs, according to a study by a multidisciplinary team including co-senior author Dr. Olivier Elemento, a member of the Weill Center for Metabolic Health. The results suggest a treatment strategy that could improve the prognoses of many patients with cancer.

Researchers Discover the Role the Gene SATB2 Plays in the Colon Lining

October 28, 2021

Loss of the gene SATB2 contributes to changes in stem cells that typically develop into the inner lining of the colon, or large intestine, transforming them into a cell type that normally lines a portion of the small intestine called the ileum, according to new preclinical research led by our Metabolic Center member, Dr. Joe Zhou, in a study published Sept. 27 in Cell Stem Cell

Dr. Kristy Brown was just appointed Co-Editor-in Chief of the journal Endocrine and Metabolic Science. This is a broad-scope, open access journal accepting basic, translational and clinical original articles, reviews, clinical trials and case reports on all aspects of endocrinology and metabolism. Dr. Brown looks forward to building this new journal that focusses on many exciting areas of research relevant to our faculty.

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