Researchers Receive Robin Chemers Neustein Award

Leticia Tordesillas, PhD

Leticia Tordesillas, PhD, and Elizabeth Heller, PhD, are the recipients of the 2015 Robin Chemers Neustein Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, which was created to encourage and support female research scientists at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Tordesillas works in the laboratory of Cecilia Berin, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics. Her research is focused on how to establish immune tolerance to foods for the treatment of food allergy. In particular, she is studying how regulatory T cells induced by epicutaneous immunotherapy are generated and suppress anaphylaxis. Read more

Mount Sinai Researchers Identifies Drug with Potential to Drive Beta Cell Proliferation

Andrew Stewart, MDIn a screen of more than 100,000 potential drugs, only one, harmine, drove human insulin-producing beta cells to multiply, according to a study led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, published in Nature Medicine.

Diabetes results from too few insulin-producing “beta cells” in the pancreas secreting too little insulin, the hormone required to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. In a groundbreaking Mount Sinai study, researchers found that harmine drove the sustained division and multiplication of adult human beta cells in culture, a feat that had eluded the field for years. In addition, harmine treatment tripled the number of beta cells and led to better control of blood sugar in three groups of mice engineered to mimic human diabetes. Read more

Mount Sinai Researchers Make Diabetes Discoveries

Andrew Stewart, MD, the Irene and Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Professor of Medicine and Director of Mount Sinai’s Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute led a team of scientists who discovered a novel mechanism that regulates the replication of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Their findings provided novel working models describing the control of cell cycle progression in the human beta cell. These discoveries offer new insights into possible therapeutic approaches to stimulate the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells in patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Read more

Researchers Identify Key Protein in Melanoma Growth

A protein that promotes abnormal growth in melanoma cells has been identified for the first time by a team of researchers led by Emily Bernstein, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncological Sciences, and Dermatology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The novel discovery that the H2A.Z.2 protein is highly expressed in melanoma, appears to turn on the cell cycle, and makes melanoma cells grow faster, could also lead to therapeutic strategies that serve to inhibit cell proliferation. The results of Dr. Bernstein’s study were published in the July 2, 2015, issue of Molecular Cell. Read more

Annual Resident Research Fair

The Office of Graduate Medical Education at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt recently held its ninth Annual Resident Research Fair. Five judges reviewed 61 abstracts and three residents received a certificate and prize. The winning abstracts were: “Radial vs. Femoral Access in Acute Coronary Syndrome: Decrease in Mortality, Major Adverse Cardiac Events and Bleeding–An Update Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials,” presented by Abel Casso-Dominguez, MD; “Review of Ascites and Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis (SBP) Diagnosis and Treatment for Cirrhotic Patients at MSSLR–A Follow Up,” by Vijay Dalapathi, MD; and “Randomized Controlled Trial of Insulin Detemir vs. Insulin NPH for the Treatment of Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes,” by Kimberly Herrera, MD.

New Research Aims to Help People With Blood Cancers

A unique method of increasing the number of cord blood stem cells used to treat patients with blood cancers and blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, is being readied for clinical trials at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, with an $8.8 million grant from the New York State Stem Cell Science Program (NYSTEM).

The stem cells—also known as hematopoietic stem cells—are derived from the vein of the umbilical cord and help renew and replenish blood cells. They represent the only potential therapy for blood cancer patients who do not respond to chemotherapy. The new method is necessary to compensate for the limited number of stem cells that are typically found in blood cord collections and the fact that using stem cells from two or more blood cord collections is generally not a viable option because the blood cells are not identical. Read more

Advances in Heart Failure Research and Clinical Care

Mount Sinai scientists and clinicians are making notable advances in the study and treatment of heart failure, a common condition that occurs when the heart becomes too weak to pump and circulate enough blood through the body. Diseases that damage the heart—such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes—can lead to heart failure, which develops over time as the heart’s pumping action grows weaker. It impacts an estimated 5 million adults and children in this country. Read more

Exploring Diverse Microbes Among Remote Amerindians

A population of Amerindian hunter-gatherers, who until recently had lived in isolation in the remote Venezuelan Amazon, is yielding a trove of information for scientists at Mount Sinai who are studying their microbiome and finding the most diverse levels of bacteria and bacteria-encoded functions ever discovered in humans. The human microbiome—comprised of trillions of microorganisms that inhabit our bodies—is believed to play a critical role in the well-being of the host. Read more