CTBR NEWSLETTER | October 2016

Hunter College, the City University of New York

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for Addressing Health Disparities and Improving Health Outcomes
From the Associate Director...

VallesRodrigo Valles, Jr.

The fall semester is in full swing and so is the CTBR. We recently held our first luncheon of the 2016-2107 academic year with a high attendance rate despite the number of responsibilities our members juggle in the first few weeks of classes. Discussions centered around the need to maintain our level of R01 funding and the need to add resources for researchers in psychology. The next luncheon, which will be held this month, will build on this discussion and also update our members on the Bridge Funding budget categories for this fiscal year.
Plans are under way for our next symposium. It is a milestone since it is the 30th annual symposium hosted by the Center. Since 2008 our symposia have been co-sponsored by the Weill Cornell Medical College Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC). The 2017 topic will be on stress and resilience. We will provide more news as speakers are confirmed and the date is finalized. 
Lastly, we are gearing up for the fall recruiting trips; we will have booths at SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) and ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students) this year. We are especially happy to be at SACNAS since Steven Greenbaum will receive a Distinguished Scientist award at the conference. This past summer Greenbaum hosted a SPUR student, James Whitfield, whom he met at the 2015 ABRCMS conference. Known for his great mentorship, Greenbaum saw potential in Whitfield over the summer and plans to keep in touch as he has done with many of his successful former students. I would also like to thank and acknowledge the other SPUR mentors, Derrick Brazill, Peter Serrano, Benjamin Ortiz, Jeffrey T. Parsons, Maria Figueiredo-Pereira, and Nancy Greenbaum, for helping make the program a success.



Brian M. Zeglis’s laboratory has successfully developed pretargeted PET imaging strategies for both colorectal carcinoma and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma that are capable of delineating tumor tissue with high image contrast at far earlier time points than are possible using traditional immunoPET imaging. Both strategies significantly reduce the radiation dose to the patient compared to that produced by directly-labeled antibodies. The lab is currently investigating ways to extend this technology to radioimmunotherapy, multimodal imaging, 68Ga-based imaging.  The Zeglis lab believe their research will have a significant impact on the health of cancer patients: in the near term it will lead to the creation of a sensitive and specific PET imaging technique that reduces radiation dose to healthy tissues; in the long term, it could have a transformational effect on the way antibodies are employed in nuclear medicine, with bioorthogonal pretargeted methodologies ultimately providing a safer and equally efficacious alternative to traditional radioimmunoconjugates.

ZeglisImageNewsletter102016 3Schematic (left) of the methodology for the pretargeted PET imaging of cancer along with a PET/CT image (right) underscoring the remarkable ability of this approach to selectively delineate tumor tissue.

Steven Greenbaum Wins Distinguished Scientist Award

GreenbaumSACNASSteven Greenbaum is named 2016 SACNAS Distinguished Scientist!  Since 1997 SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) has honored individuals who help advance their mission.   Greenbaum was selected by a panel of SACNAS members from a competitive field of nominees.  Armando Rua, a former RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) student mentored and trained by Greenbaum, submitted the nomination. As a long-time CTBR member Greenbaum has been an exemplary mentor to our summer students and postdoctoral fellows. His research and mentorship has been recognized by some of the most respected institutions in the nation and abroad.

Responding to the news, Greenabum said “This honor serves as a reminder to many of my colleagues that one does not need to make a choice between doing the best science one can do and involving students from segments of the population that are under-represented in STEM.” 

Greenbaum will receive the award later this month during the annual SACNAS conference in Long Beach, CA.  The CTBR will also be at the conference (booth #709 View Floor Plan). 


This sum2016_SPUR_0mer the CTBR hosted the final cohort of our NIDA-funded Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) in Drug Abuse/Addiction and Neuroscience. Seven undergraduate researchers worked in CTBR labs over an 8-week period. At the conclusion of the program they presented their results here at Hunter College and at the Leadership Alliance symposium, a consortium of higher education institutions which hosts summer researchers from across the nation. Next summer, the scope of the SPUR program will be broader and we encourage all members to consider hosting a student.


The CTBR is planning its 30th international annual symposium to be held in the spring of 2017. The symposium topic will build on the conference on stress and trauma organized by The Hunter College Stress, Anxiety & Resilience Research (STARR) Center in April 2016 at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.  The planning committee, headed by Glenn Schafe, includes Tracy Dennis, Regina Merinda, Nesha Burghardt (Hunter College), Francis Lee and Conor Liston (WCMC-CTSC).

Videos from our last symposium, Current Advances in Prostate Cancer Health Disparities, are available our website.

David Mootoo and Richard Franck have organized a mini-symposium on Glycolipids for Immunotherapy to be held on Friday, October 28, 2016 at the Belfer building. The two speakers are Dirk Zajonc of La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology and Steven Porcelli of Albert Einstein College of Medicine. You can find the schedule for the day here.


Want to offer a story idea? Have a comment or question about the newsletter?
Send us an email: ctbr[at]hunter.cuny.edu
You can find archives of CTBR Newsletters here


The CTBR is supported by a Research Centers in Minority Institutions Program grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (8 G12 MD007599) of the National Institutes of Health, the Weill Cornell Medical College Clinical & Translational Science Center (2UL1TR000457-06) of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.

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