CTBR NEWSLETTER | January 2016

Hunter College, the City University of New York

CTBRlogo_ 3
for Addressing Health Disparities and Improving Health Outcomes

From the Associate Director...


Rodrigo Valles, Jr.
Associate Director, CTBR

The CTBR is pleased to highlight three outstanding members who consistently contribute to the success of Hunter College undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Ortiz and Dr. Miranda were selected to follow Dr. Luine as the directors of the NIGMS-funded RISE program. We wish them the best as they continue the work that Dr. Luine helmed so outstandingly for many years. This issue also highlights the continued success Dr. Bargonetti, who once again has made strides in her research to uncover effective treatments for breast cancer. Dr. Bargonetti is also featured for her innovative class that interprets science through the art of dance. 

Dr. Weierich and Dr. Goshin were recently awarded a CTSC community engagement pilot award. We congratulate them on their new collaboration. Their efforts align well with the direction of the RCMI program and will help to support the upcoming CTBR competitive renewal. Likewise, the development of the new Rodent Behavior Core Facility will further the research of Hunter faculty whose programs are integral to the CTBR portfolio. The next CTBR luncheon will take place December 20th.  The meeting will center on facility upgrades and the needs of the Behavior Core Facility


BENJAMIN ORTIZ and REGINA MIRANDA have been appointed new Program Directors of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program at Hunter College. Drs. Ortiz and Miranda take over from Victoria Luine, long-time Program Director of RISE who retired in fall 2015 after a long illustrious career.  The goal of the NIGMS RISE program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in biomedical and behavioral research who successfully complete Ph.D. degrees in these fields.

Ortiz 2

Benjamin Ortiz


Regina Miranda

JILL BARGONETTI'S lab uses an inducible endogenous knockdown system to explore the mtp53 driven proteome.  They report data that highlights mtp53-driven proteome diversity at the level of protein localization as well as changes in protein levels without corresponding changes in transcription. They validated two new protein pathways that include increased chromatin association of PARP1, and the increase of nuclear replication proteins MCM4 and PCNA. The addition of mtp53 proteomic targets to the previously identified transcriptional targets suggests that effective treatment of mtp53-driven breast cancers may be facilitated by new combination protocols blocking proteins of the metabolic pathways of cholesterol biosynthesis, DNA replication and DNA repair.

Dr. Bargonetti’s research was featured in the 2015 PBS special "American Graduate Day where she discusses her research on finding ways to treat triple negative breast cancer via precision medicine. She also discusses her innovative interpretive dance class "Choreographing Genomics."

Bargonetti 2Part of the choreography was presented at the 2015 TEDxCUNY Borders and Belonging at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center; watch it here. CTBR member Jayne Raper also presented her research which can be viewed here.



The CTBR at Hunter College plans to support a new core facility dedicated to behavioral research in rodents (rats and mice).  The facility will be housed on the 15th floor of the Hunter North building, adjacent to the existing animal colony facility.  The close proximity to the animal colony will provide ready access to rodent behavioral testing facilities without having to transport the animals great distances or on College elevators, conditions which are potentially stressful for rodents.  The facility will be widely used by faculty in the departments of Psychology, Biology, and Chemistry.

We envision a facility that can accommodate state-of-the-art equipment that will be useful in asking a wide range of behavioral questions.  These may include assays of basic activity and locomotion (e.g. Rotarod, open field), tests of anxiety and depression (e.g. elevated plus maze, social interaction, forced swim, pre-pulse inhibition, acoustic startle), tests of learning, memory and cognition (e.g. radial arm maze, Morris water maze, active and passive avoidance, novel object recognition, novel object placement, fear conditioning), and tests of drug reward (e.g. place preference, self-administration).
The facility will consist of multiple, sound-attenuated behavioral rooms and associated space to clean and store equipment that is not currently in use.  A full or part-time facility manager with expertise in rodent behavioral testing will be available for maintenance of the equipment and training.

Community Engagement...

CTBR members MARIANN WEIERICH and LORIE GOSHIN recently received a $25K community engagement pilot award from the Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC).  Drs. Weierich and Goshin will investigate biomarkers of parenting-related stress in mothers who are under community criminal justice supervision.  This spring, the researchers will begin to collect data at an East Harlem home for these mothers. 

The REACH (Research, Engagement & Action for Community Health) program is a new CTBR initiative. REACH aims to revitalize traditional community engagement activities in order to make them more impactful, more organic, and, most importantly, more accessible to the public.  Recent REACH updates include:
  • Partnership with ResearchMatch – Funded in part by Vanderbilt University’s NIH NCATS. Join the Researcher registry to look for study volunteers throughout the US!
  • Patient recruitment has begun at Weill Cornell for the center’s first community engaged research project focusing on Type 2 Diabetes Management among Hispanic speaking population!
  • We’ve expanded patient recruitment to Lincoln Medical Center! Reach out to us to see how you can also recruit participants from their facility.
If you are collaborating with a community organization for the first time, consider signing a Collaborative Agreement like this one so that expectations are clearly defined.

REACHlogo1 2

COLLOQUIUM - Jill Bargonetti hosted a colloquium with renowned molecular biologist Arnold J. Levine earlier this month. It was the first CTBR colloquium to take place at the new Belfer Research Building, and was jointly sponsored with the WCMC-CTSC. Dr. Levin’s talk on The Evolution of Tumors from Cells with Inherited p53 Mutations in Humans and Mice was well attended with over 70 people in the audience. Following the event, Dr. Levine met with Hunter College students and faculty over lunch.


SYMPOSIUM - The 29th Annual International Symposium of the CTBR will be held on Thursday May 5, 2016. The topic is Current Advances in Prostate Cancer Health Disparities. The following speakers are confirmed: 

  • Harry Belafonte, Producer, Composer, Singer, Actor and Social Activist (Prostate Cancer Survivor)

  • Philip W. Kantoff, MD, Chairman of the Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

  • Olorunseun O. Ogunwobi, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Hunter College of the City University of New York (symposium planning committee chair)

  • Douglas Scherr, MD, Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College

  • Reverend Patrick H. O’Connor, First Presbyterian Church (Prostate Cancer Survivor)
Additional speakers will be announced on the symposium website.

Grants & Awards...  
Congratulations to all CTBR Members who recently secured external funding: David Foster, Konstantinos Krampis, Olorunseun Ogunwobi, Benjamin Ortiz, Tracy Dennis, Michael Hoyt and Douglas Mennin.  Read more in the January issue of the Hunter College Office of Research Administration Grants Update Newsletter.  
Want to offer a story idea? Have a comment or question about a story you've read here?
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.


NIH_NIMHD ctsclogo rtrnlogo1

Click here to forward this email to a friend

Try Email Marketing with VerticalResponse!