Departmental News

Britta Will

Congratulations to Dr. Britta Will for being named one of this year's Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholars!

This highly prestigious award honors the innovative research Dr. Britta Will and her group conduct on hematopoietic stem cells and their role in driving two age-related and largely incurable blood cancers: acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.

Founded in 1949, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting blood cancers worldwide. With its core mission to cure leukemia and lymphoma, LLS funds clinically impactful, cutting-edge research. It is also home to a substantial career development program that aims to accelerate the professional advancement of rising stars in the research community. Britta is only the second investigator from Einstein to receive this distinction, after Dr. Ulrich Steidl nearly ten years ago.

Our congratulations, Britta and members of the Will Lab!


Britta Will

Dr. Britta Will co-organized together with Dr. Alejandro Gutierrez (Boston Children's Hospital / Harvard Medical School) the 2023 Hematologic Malignancies Scientific Research Conference from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Since its launch in 1995, this highly interactive conference (held every two years) brings together researchers who work on all aspects of hematological malignancies including molecular pathogenesis of blood cancers, control of stem cell function and differentiation, chromatin biology, and new therapeutic strategies.

Britta was the first Einstein investigator elected to organize this prestigious meeting. The conference's 2023 iteration featured 53 oral presentations from internationally leading experts, early-stage investigators, and trainees as well as three lively poster sessions and workshops. The five-day conference drew 160 US-based and international participants and generated a lot of excitement. The program fostered engaged knowledge exchange and interdisciplinary collaborations. Junior investigators and trainees also enjoyed ample networking and career development opportunities. Several members of our own heme-focused groups attended and gave talks on their ongoing work, including Shira Glushakow-Smith (Ph.D. student in the Gritsman lab) and Drs. Marina Konopleva and Ulrich Steidl.

Weihan Li

Dr. Weihan Li, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Robert H. Singer, has received the prestigious NIH/NIGMS K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from NIH/NIGMS. This award will provide 2 years of support for Dr. Li’s continued postdoctoral research at Einstein (K99 phase) followed by 3 years of independent funding after he transitions to a tenure-track faculty position (R00 phase). Dr. Li joined Albert Einstein College of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow in November 2018 after completing his PhD in Biophysics at University of California, San Francisco. Since then, he has developed an improved RNA imaging system that has minimal perturbation to the RNA’s stability (Li, W., Maekiniemi, A. et al. Nature Methods 2022), and was recognized with the American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Li’s K99/R00 project is entitled "The Spatial Coordination Between Cytosolic and Mitochondrial Translation”. Congratulations Weihan on this first step to a successful future career!

Britta Will

Dr. Britta Will has been named as the new Diane and Arthur B. Belfer Scholar in Cancer Research. This endowed professorship was first established by the late long-time Einstein research supporters and Board members Mr. and Mrs. Belfer in 1998. It supports innovative basic and translational cancer research, and honors key contributions Britta and her team have been making to aid in understanding and targeting of leukemic stem cells in myeloid malignancies. Congratulations to Britta and the Will lab!

Ulrich Steidl

Congratulations to Dr. Ulrich Steidl on receiving the Edward P. Evans Endowed Professorship for Myelodysplastic Syndromes!

This highly prestigious testament of excellence honors Uli's vision for and most successful implementation of highly collaborative studies of myeloid malignancies at Einstein.

This is a new endowed professorship for Einstein and the eighth for faculty within our department. It was newly established here at Einstein by the Edward P. Evans Foundation, a philanthropic leader in supporting transformational and collaborative biomedical research in Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS).

In close collaboration with Dr. Amit Verma (DMB), Uli has created a highly unique and successful environment and fostered a growing team of basic and translational investigators conducting MDS or MDS-related research inside and outside of our department. This “MDS Team” includes Drs. Kristy Stengel, Britta Will, Keisuke Ito, Kira Gritsman, Satish Nandakumar, and Maria Maryanovich from our department of Cell Biology, as well as Teresa Bowman, Aditi Shastri (both DMB), and Marina Konopleva (MolPharm) – some of whom have been awardees of EvansMDS research funding. They are joined by an exceptional clinical team including Drs. Eric Feldman, Mendel Goldfinger, Ioannis Mantzaris, and others at Montefiore. Uli and Amit’s efforts were internally recognized and honored by the creation of the Blood Cancer Institute at Montefiore Einstein in 2021.

We are deeply thankful to the Edward P. Evans Foundation for generously supporting Uli's vision and are beyond proud of this external recognition of his outstanding leadership in biomedical sciences. This is another great example of how highly impactful and rewarding team science reaches far beyond departmental borders at Einstein and Montefiore!

Congratulations, Uli - and keep going, MDS Team!!

Julia Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD

Julio Aguirre-Ghiso, Ph.D., is the new Rose C. Falkenstein Chair in Cancer Research. Julio is an international leader in cancer cell dormancy and metastasis and has helped lead a major shift in the cancer biology field by investigating how cancer cells hibernate, undetected, for long periods of time and what causes them to suddenly awaken to seed deadly, treatment-resistant metastases. His work is revealing ways to maintain residual cancer-cell dormancy, kill dormant cancer cells, and identify biomarkers for cancer recurrence. Julio is co-leader of the Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program and founding director of the Cancer Dormancy and Tumor Microenvironment Institute at the Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center (MECC), as well as professor of cell biology, of oncology, and of medicine.

Matthew Scharff

Congratulations to Dr. Matthew Scharff on the occasion of his 90th Birthday Year!
The Department of Cell Biology is pleased to honor Dr. Scharff with this tribute video celebrating his outstanding career. It consists of contributions from some of Dr. Scharff’s Einstein colleagues and former trainees. Please view the video here:

Dr. Scharff is a Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology and the Harry Eagle Professor of Cancer Research. He joined the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1963 and has served as Chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Director of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center. Dr. Scharff is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received many awards for his scientific accomplishments, his service to the scientific community, and his mentoring skills, including the 2015 Herzenberg Biolegend Award from the American Association of Immunologists. He has published more than 300 scientific papers and reviews and has trained 70 Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows.

Jessie Larios-Valencia

The Department of Cell Biology would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Jessie Larios-Valencia, a MD/PhD predoctoral candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Wenjun Guo, who was recently awarded an NIH F31 Predoctoral Individual NRSA fellowship. He will be pursuing studies dissecting the role of dedifferentiation in basal-like breast cancer.


Emily Schwenger was awarded a Google Fellowship in the category of Health Research, which will directly support her graduate research in the Steidl Lab for 2-3 years. The award is granted to innovative research in areas relevant to computer science and related fields with the intention of supporting promising PhD candidates of all backgrounds who seek to influence the future of technology. Additional information on the fellowship can be found at Congratulations Emily!

On June 15, 2022, Drs. Uli Steidl and Amit Verma, longtime collaborators in the field of hematopoietic stem cells, myelodysplastic syndromes, and myeloid leukemias, presented the Montefiore Einstein Presidential Lectures. Established in 2017, this distinguished lecture series celebrates scientific excellence and the full spectrum of biomedical research at Einstein, and is normally presented by two faculty members working in the basic science and clinical investigation arena, respectively. Dr. Steidl’s lecture is entitled “Understanding the Molecular and Cellular Pathogenesis of Myeloid Malignancies at the Stem Cell Level,” and Dr. Verma’s lecture is entitled “Therapeutic Targeting of MDS and AML.”

More info on this award and Drs. Steidl and Verma’s highly innovative work can be found at here.

Congratulations Uli and Amit!

Dr. Singer

Dr. Singer received the Lewis S. Rosenstiel award at Brandeis University on April 6th. More info on the award and the star-studded list of past awardees can be found at
His acceptance talk can be seen at

Maria Maryanovich

We are very happy to announce the newest addition to the Cell Biology faculty, Dr. Maria Maryanovich. Dr. Maryanovich received her Bachelor of Science from Ort Braude College of Engineering, followed by a Master of Science and a Ph.D. both from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. During her thesis study, she discovered a novel survival role for the pro-apoptotic protein BID in the context of HSC response to DNA damage and HSC maintenance. This work earned her the Elchanan E. Bondi Memorial Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. In 2014, Dr. Maryanovich joined the laboratory of late Dr. Paul S. Frenette at Einstein for postdoctoral training. Since then, she has been characterizing functional changes in the aging bone marrow, focusing on age-related remodeling of neural-niche interactions. In a very important and novel study, she demonstrated that systemic administration of sympathomimetics was sufficient to rejuvenate both niche and HSC functions in mice. Dr. Maryanovich has received several prestigious recognitions including the EMBO Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship, the NYSCF Druckenmiller Fellowship, and the Dennis Shields Postdoctoral Research Award from Einstein. In her independent lab, she will continue the current research theme and extend the work to age-related malignancies, such as AML. Her goal is to uncover new mechanisms underlying age-dependent stem cell dysfunction with the hope that such understanding may facilitate the development of stem cell rejuvenation therapies. Dr. Maryanovich’s lab is in Price, Rm 113.

Yuhong Ma

Dr. Yuhong Ma, postdoctoral scientist in the laboratory of Dr. Britta Will, received one of the 2022 American Society of Hematology Scholar Awards! This prestigious and highly competitive three-year award program supports fellows and junior faculty dedicated to careers in hematology research as they transition from their training into careers as independent investigators. The award recognizes and supports Yuhong's exciting work on the role of chaperone-mediated autophagy in leukemic stem cell maintenance. Congratulations, Yuhong!