Department of Medicine

You are here

A New Hub of Scientific Discovery Located on E9: The Glimcher Laboratory

Weill Cornell Medicine News

Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher

Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College, has brought her own laboratory to Weill Cornell – a brand new hub of scientific discovery located on E-9. The Glimcher Laboratory is housed within 2,371 square feet of space and is equipped with a full spectrum of state-of-the-art equipment. The research focus is on immune and ER stress responses in disease processes, skeletal biology and the study of cancer. Dr. Glimcher currently serves as Principal Investigator on 3 NIH-funded projects.

A world-renowned investigator in the fields of immunology and rheumatology and a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Glimcher's research is distinguished by its innovative biochemical and genetic approaches. While at Harvard, she and her team had achieved landmark advancements regarding the molecular pathways that regulate CD4 T helper cell development and activation, which opened the door to further elucidating the complex regulatory pathways that govern T helper cell responses: these pathways are critical to the development of protective immunity and the pathophysiologic immune responses underlying autoimmune diseases. Her team identified a transcription factor XBP1 that is critical in the ER stress response in multiple organs and secretory cells. In the area of skeletal biology, she and her team discovered a novel protein called Schnurri-3, which controls adult bone formation.

Dr. Glimcher's five post-doctoral trainees are Drs. Juan Cubillos-Ruiz, Stanley Adoro, Xi Chen, Alexander Espinosa and Anju Singh. Dr. Cubillos-Ruiz is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms whereby transcription factor XBP1 imprints pro-tumoral functions in leukocytes that infiltrate the microenvironment of solid cancers. He is also studying the role of HIV-induced cellular microRNAs as orchestrators of T Cell depletion and progression to AIDS. Dr. Adoro studies the role of the E3 ligase transcription factors (Trim24 and Trim28) on hematopoietic stem cell differentiation and in the molecular pathogenesis of blood cancers. He is also carrying out a study on cytokines implicated in HIV-1 replication and AIDS. Dr. Chen is studying the function of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) response in the setting of immunity and cancer. These pathways play a role in allowing the survival and growth of tumor cells. Dr. Espinosa studies novel inducers of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress; he is investigating the mechanisms involved both in vitro and in vivo using RNAi library screens with Drosophila cells and genetically modified mice. He has generated a novel BAC transgenic mouse model used together with biochemical methods and RNA-sequencing techniques to detect proteins and RNA molecules bound by the important ER stress inducer IRE1. His ultimate goal is to achieve discoveries that will lead to potential new treatments for certain cancers. Anju Singh works on the stem cell biology of the skeletal system. And graduate student, Sarah Bettigole, is investigating the molecular mechanisms by which the transcription factor XBP-1 controls Type 2 immune responses in macrophages and eosinophils in disease models.

Plans are underway to expand the number of trainees, and there are two technicians (Chen Tan and Christina Lee) and an Assistant Professor in Pathology, Dr. Jae Hyuck-Shim, working in the lab. Dr. Hyuck-Shim works closely with a consultant, Matthew Greenblatt, MD, PhD, from Brigham and Women's Hospital. Their work focuses on the cell lineages of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Dysregulation of these two cell lineages underlies the pathogenesis of many human skeletal disorders, such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Paget's disease. By utilizing knowledge of certain pathways that are important mediators in the immune system – Schnurri-3, MAPK I (mitogen activated protein kinase), and PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-Kinase) – in collaboration with Dr. Glimcher, they seek to uncover the next generation of targeted therapeutics for the treatment of skeletal disorders.

The Glimcher Laboratory, taking a creative, eclectic approach to research, is one of many labs pioneering a new era in breakthrough research at NYP/WCMC. While trainees benefit from Dr. Glimcher's mentorship in the laboratory setting, there is great promise on the horizon for better treatments at an opportune time for improving patient care. NYP/WCMC has seen increasing numbers of cancer patients in recent years, and conditions such as osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis, are sure to grow as the U.S. population ages. The spark of scientific discovery on E-9 serves as a model for the type of first-rate biomedical research enterprise that is set to find new solutions.