Meet Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Faculty Tenured in 2022

Fifteen VP&S professors joined Columbia's tenured faculty in 2022. Tenure is a distinction that recognizes scholarly excellence, demonstrated capacity for imaginative, original work, and great promise for continued contributions at the leading edge of the disciplines.

Kristin Baldwin is a neuroscientist whose work is at the intersection of stem cell biology and neurobiology. Her laboratory has developed innovative genetic approaches for cellular reprogramming by studying distinct mechanisms for generating mice from pluripotent stem cells, research that has led to multiple journal articles in prestigious journals such as Nature, Cell, and Neuron. More recently, her work has branched out to the study of somatic mutations both in neuronal systems and in cardiovascular diseases. Professor Baldwin has received numerous awards for her work including most recently the National Institutes of Health’s Director Pioneer Award.

Professor Baldwin obtained her BA in Economics and BS in Zoology from Duke University in 1991. She earned her PhD in Immunology from Stanford University in 1997 and completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center in 2005, working under Professor Richard Axel. From there, she went to the Scripps Research Institute where she started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology, and was later promoted to Associate Professor (2011) and Professor (2017). Professor Baldwin joined Columbia University in June 2020.

Professor Bartolini is a cell biologist with broad expertise in the fields of tubulin biochemistry and microtubule stabilization. Her research aims to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie human disease, and her current focus is on deciphering the role of microtubule dynamics and tubulin modifications in supporting neuronal physiology and in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and neuropathic disease. This work advances our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral neuropathies and regeneration, and Parkinson’s Disease. Professor Bartolini has served as a Fulbright Specialist and was a finalist for the McKnight Neurobiology of Brain Disorders Award. She received the Schaefer Research Scholar Award for Excellence in Human Physiology research in 2013.

Professor Bartolini obtained her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from La Sapienza, Rome in 1994. She completed her PhD in Biochemistry at New York University in 2004. She started her career as an Assistant Professor at Columbia University in 2013 following her postdoctoral training at Columbia University and was promoted to Associate Professor without tenure in 2021.

Gwyneth Card is a neuroscientist who investigates the neural basis of decision-making and sensorimotor control. Focusing on the fly (Dorsophila melangaster), she and her team study how the insect’s nervous circuitry integrates information and uses that information to guide its actions and choices. Professor Card has helped build up the genetic toolkit needed to understand neural pathways, including cutting-edge optogenetic tools. The mechanistic insights from fly models have implications for understanding the human response to sensorial stimuli and can provide insight into human genetic disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. She plans to advance her work in the study of neural processing of more complex behaviors, such as directional control and rapid, value-based decision-making.

Professor Card obtained her AB in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard College in 2001 and received her MPhil in Biological Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2002. She earned her PhD in Bioengineering from California Institute of Technology in 2009. Professor Card is currently a Group Leader at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus.

Remi Creusot is an immunologist focused on autoimmune diabetes, and is Principal Investigator at the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology and the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. Professor Creusot’s particular area of focus is the analysis and specific targeting of autoreactive (pathogenic) T cells in Type 1 diabetes. He investigates the contexts of antigen presentation to T cells that favor immune tolerance to self under autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, leveraging patient-derived lymphoid tissues and preclinical models, including mice with human immune systems. His work has contributed to the development of several antigen-specific and cell-based approaches and patents for precision therapy of autoimmune diabetes. He also directs the Flow Cytometry Core of the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases-funded Diabetes Research Center and National Cancer Institute-funded Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. He serves as lecturer, mentor and/or advisor in the Graduate Immunology Program, Graduate Pathobiology and Mechanisms of Disease Program, Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies and Undergraduate Research Program.

Professor Creusot obtained his BS in Biochemistry from Henri Poincaré University, France in 1996 followed by his MS in Microbiology and Enzymology in 1998. He earned his PhD in Immunology at the University of London in 2002. Professor Creusot started his independent career as an Assistant Professor at Columbia University in 2012 following postdoctoral and research associate positions at Stanford University.

Dietrich Egli is a molecular biologist who studies genome stability during early embryonic development and during reprogramming.

He aims to translate basic research in stem cell development and genome integrity to therapy for human diseases, such as metabolic disorders, or issues in early embryonic development. One of his major innovations was to create the first human embryonic stem cells by somatic cell nuclear transfer in 2011. His recent research has demonstrated that DNA damage during DNA replication, in particular in late-replicating regions, is the primary barrier to reprogramming. The application of his research is broad and ranges from developmental failures in the early embryo, to abnormalities in the cell types of the brain that affect metabolism, which in turn cause diabetes and obesity. Professor Egli has received the Lamport Award for Excellence in Clinical Science Research at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and was named one of Time magazine’s “100 People who mattered in 2011.”

Professor Egli obtained his MS in Biology from the University of Zurich in 2000, followed by his PhD in Molecular Biology and Zoology in 2003. He completed his research fellowship at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute in 2016. Professor Egli started his career as an Assistant Professor at Columbia University in 2014.

Filippo Giancotti is a leading scholar of cancer metastasis and is recognized internationally for his research on cell adhesion and signaling. Since the founding of his first independent laboratory in 1992, Professor Giancotti has made significant contributions to the understanding of integrin-mediated signal transduction and integrin signaling in cancer. In addition, he has discovered a mechanism through which the tumor suppressor, NF2, mediates contact inhibition of growth and he has demonstrated that disruption of this mechanism enables tumor cells to multiply uncontrollably, resist the orderly cell-death process, and invade healthy tissues. His current research focuses on metastatic colonization, exploring how after disseminating from the primary tumor, cells take over other parts of the body and investigating the mechanisms through which these cells resist targeted therapies. Professor Giancotti has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles and has received many honors and recognitions for his contributions to the field of oncology, including the National Cancer Institute’s inaugural Outstanding Investigator Award and an Established Investigators Award from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

Professor Giancotti earned his MD with honors and his PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Turin School of Medicine in Italy and received board certifications in Hematology and Oncology from the University of Rome. He held positions at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Weill Cornell Medical Center. In September 2022, Professor Giancotti joined the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Ka Kahe is a nutritional and environmental epidemiology researcher who focuses on lifestyle, dietary, and environmental factors in relation to risk for chronic diseases. He is also one of the leading scientists investigating the relationship between trace minerals and risk for chronic diseases, and a leader in the study of radon exposure in relation to health disorders other than lung cancer. His research been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health, and his findings have been cited as scientific evidence by a number of national and international health organizations in guidelines and recommendations for clinical practice and disease prevention. Professor Kahe is actively involved in residents’ and fellows’ training in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN). He is currently leading a team in the OB/GYN department that is providing methodological support to residents’ and fellows’ research.

After his medical training at Soochow University in China, Professor Kahe received his MS in Nutrition and his MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Tufts University, and later his ScD in Nutritional Epidemiology from Harvard University. Before Professor Kahe joined the faculty of Columbia University, he was a Professor and founding Chair of Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to that, he was an Associate Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University.

Sheng-Han Kuo is a movement disorders researcher who has contributed to the field of neurology by discovering a novel pathophysiology of ataxia and tremor—two disabling neurological symptoms originating in the cerebellum—by identifying unique synaptic organizational deficits in the cerebellum in postmortem patients with these conditions. He later reproduced these deficits in mouse models, creating a platform to further develop new therapies for ataxia and tremor. In addition to his scientific contributions, Professor Kuo has mentored several postdoctoral fellows who have become independent researchers. Professor Kuo also established the Initiative for Columbia Ataxia and Tremor at Columbia University to bring together physicians, scientists, and engineers to study the function of the cerebellum and to understand the pathomechanism of cerebellar disorders.

Professor Kuo obtained his medical degree from National Taiwan University in Taipei, and he received neurology residency training at Baylor College of Medicine. He then completed a fellowship in movement disorders at Columbia University before becoming an Assistant Professor.

Utpal Pajvani is a physician-scientist who focuses on Type 2 diabetes in both his clinical practice and scholarship.

Using basic and translational research, his laboratory aims to uncouple obesity from resultant cardiometabolic complications, in particular Type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and dyslipidemia. His lab has demonstrated how dysfunctional intercellular crosstalk can disrupt both systemic glucose and lipid homeostasis and exacerbate obesity-induced injury. These findings have prompted re-evaluation of the role of developmental pathways in obesity-induced pathophysiology and has generated pharmaceutical and biotech interest in developing treatments based on the mechanisms his team identified. Dr. Pajvani’s research has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2021. As an instructor, Dr. Pajvani teaches students, fellows, and residents, and has received the annual Ewig Clinical Scholar award given for excellence in clinical education.

Dr. Pajvani earned a BS in Biology from MIT in 1997, then earned his MD and PhD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2005. His postdoctoral training included Internal Medicine residency (2005-2007) and fellowship training in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism (2007-2011) at the Columbia University Medical Center.

Professor Picard is an interdisciplinary researcher who combines mitochondrial biology with mind-body science to build the foundation for the emerging field of Mitochondrial Psychobiology. Discoveries from his laboratory include the identification of specialized structures through which mitochondria communicate, and the categorization of “social” behaviors among intracellular mitochondrial networks. His team also showed that mitochondria influence how organisms perceive and respond to psychological stress, and has developed a mitochondrial health index and a saliva-based assay of cell-free mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to study the mind-mitochondria connection in humans.

Professor Picard’s team has also had findings related to aging: they demonstrated the existence of psychobiological processes in individual hairs by showing that human hair greying is reversible and linked to life stress. The team’s work leverages a longitudinal cellular lifespan model that recapitulates trajectories of human epigenetic aging in vitro to mechanistically investigate the link between stress, energy metabolism, and biological aging. Professor Picard has received numerous awards including the Early Career Impact Award from the Federation of Associations of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Professor Picard trained as a physiologist in neuroimmunology (B.Hons. 2008) and completed his doctoral work on the mitochondrial biology of aging at McGill University (Ph.D. 2012). During his training, he was a fellow in systems biology, integrative medicine, and psychosocial oncology, developing the interdisciplinary foundation for his future work on Mitochondrial Psychobiology. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in mitochondrial genetics at the University of Pennsylvania in the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine with Doug Wallace, who discovered the maternal inheritance of the mtDNA and that mutations in the mtDNA cause diseases. During his training, Professor Picard also worked with the late Bruce McEwen, a psychoneuroendocrinologist at The Rockefeller University.

Li Qiang’s laboratory focuses on the mechanisms of adipose remodeling in the pathophysiology of obesity and aging, and their associated comorbidities. His team has identified a protein posttranslational modification mechanism of selective activation of the anti-diabetic drug target PPARg that circumvents the adverse side effects of this class of compounds, paving the way for the development of next-generation insulin sensitizers with improved safety. He has elucidated molecular pathways of adipose remodeling and identified novel pathogenic factors that might serve as therapeutic targets for obesity and aging. Working closely with experts from interdisciplinary backgrounds, Professor Qiang pioneers depot-specific fat targeting by developing a browning microneedle patch for subcutaneous fat and a cationic strategy for visceral adiposity. Professor Qiang received the Kern Lipid Conference Early Investigator Award in 2019.

Professor Qiang obtained his BS in Biotechnology from Peking University in 2001 and earned his PhD in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology from Boston University School of Medicine in 2007. He completed his postdoctoral training at Columbia University and started his career as an Assistant Professor in 2015.

Sarah Rossetti, who has dual appointments at the School of Nursing and Biomedical Informatics at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, leads a lab focused on leveraging data from electronic health records and other sources to reduce patient harm.

Professor Rossetti’s research lab, OPTACIMM (Optimizing with Applied Clinical Informatics Models and Methods), is focused on identifying and intervening on patient risk for harm by applying computational tools to mine and extract value from electronic health record (EHR) data and leveraging user-centered design for patient-centered technologies. Professor Rossetti serves as a Multiple Principal Investigator (MPI) of the multi-site National Institute of Nursing Research-funded R01 CONCERN study evaluating a novel predictive early warning score that leverages nursing documentation and surveillance patterns to identify patients at risk of deterioration in the hospital. She also serves as MPI of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality- funded R01 EndBurden Study to identify approaches to decrease documentation burden, and as PI or co-I on several other studies. Professor Rossetti performs clinical informatics service activities for NewYork Presbyterian and has served on the Board of Directors for the American Medical Informatics Association, as Policy Coordinator for the Alliance for Nursing Informatics, and is currently Chair of AMIA’s 25x5 Task Force to Reduce Documentation Burden. She was nominated by the National Institute of Nursing Research and selected as a 2019 recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Professor Rossetti received her BS in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing with a minor in Healthcare Management at the Wharton School and is an experienced critical care nurse. She received her PhD from Columbia University School of Nursing and completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Columbia University’s Department of Biomedical Informatics. After her training and prior to joining Columbia University as faculty, Professor Rossetti was a Senior Informatician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Professor St George-Hyslop has made major contributions to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying human neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He has played a major role in defining the normal and pathological functions of genes associated with susceptibility or resilience to these disorders and has built protein structural, molecular, cellular, and animal models of these disorders, and used them to explore candidate therapeutics. His work has also contributed to the discovery of novel fundamental biological processes, such as regulated intramembranous proteolysis, and the role of biomolecular condensates in forming intracellular membraneless organelles. His work has been recognized with numerous academic awards and honors including election to the Royal Society of London, US National Academy of Medicine, and the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. Professor St George-Hyslop regularly serves as a peer reviewer on advisory committees for international research institutes, organizing committees of international symposia, academic promotions, grants and for academic journals. He served as the Director of the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases and the Toronto Western Hospital Research Institute at University of Toronto, the Cambridge Biomedical Research Unit in Dementia, and the UK Prime Minister’s (Cameron) Dementia Research Group.

Professor St George Hyslop earned his MD from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, Canada in 1976. He completed postgraduate residency training in Internal Medicine and Neurology at the University of Ottawa and University of Toronto. He is board certified in Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, and in Neurology by the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. He undertook postdoctoral training in the Departments of Neurology and Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Professor St George-Hyslop has held tenured positions at the University of Toronto in Canada and at the University of Cambridge in the UK, and joined Columbia University in March 2022.

Zev Williams is a physician-scientist and Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility whose clinical and research practice are devoted to helping those suffering from recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility, and developing novel technologies and treatments to improve patients’ success in carrying pregnancy to term.

Together with collaborators and colleagues within and beyond Columbia, his team published the first single-cell transcriptomic atlas of the human placenta; developed new methods to non-invasively monitor placental function in real-time via circulating extracellular RNA; developed smart-scales to safeguard cryopreserved embryo, the world’s first robotic system to assist with in vitro fertilization (IVF), low-cost sperm transport containers that enable at-home semen sample production for use in IVF, the first rapid saliva-based COVID-19 test, and a rapid, low-cost method, using nanopore-based sequencing on a handheld device, for aneuploidy testing of all reproductive tissues including embryos, amniocentesis and CVS samples, and miscarriage samples. The clinical validation of this was published in August in the New England Journal of Medicine. Over the past five years, under the leadership of Professor Williams as director of the Columbia University Fertility Center, the fertility center quadrupled  their clinical volume, doubled of their patient satisfaction scores to an average of 5-stars. In addition, the center’s IVF success rates and reporting have earned it the Platinum Distinction award from the Society for Assisted Reproductive technologies. They are the only center in New York City to receive that distinction.  

Professor Williams obtained his BA in Biology from Yeshiva University in 1996. He earned his PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 2002 followed by his MD in 2004. He continued to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital for his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, completed his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Weill-Cornell, and then did a postdoctoral fellowship on RNA biology in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Tuschl at Rockefeller University. Professor Williams was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women’s Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 2011 through 2017 when he joined Columbia University in 2017 as an Associate Professor. He was promoted to the Wendy D. Haven’s Associate Professor of Women’s Health in 2018.

Professor Yu’s research brings together approaches in chemistry, cell-biology, and mass spectroscopy to understand how proteins are modified in normal and diseased cells. Using a multidisciplinary approach, his lab has contributed significantly to our molecular understanding of novel covalent protein modifications in the human proteome. Professor Yu is also particularly interested in translating the mechanistic insights into novel therapeutic strategies for the relevant diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and neurodegeneration. Through the years, Professor Yu has been involved in many teaching and scientific outreach activities. He has also served on many NIH and DoD advisory panels, including as a current member of the NIH Enabling Bioanalytical and Imaging Technologies (EBIT) Study Section. Professor Yu has received numerous awards including the prestigious R35 Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institutes of Health in 2020.

Professor Yu obtained his BS in Chemistry from Fudan University, Shanghai in 2001. He earned his PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. He completed his Postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School in 2011. Professor Yu started his career as Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2012 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2017.