Columbia Cancer Researchers Receive Seed Funding from Velocity

Six Columbia cancer researchers will share $500,000 in seed funding to support early-stage research projects. The new grants were made possible by proceeds raised last fall in Velocity, Columbia’s Ride to End Cancer.

The recipients, who have been designated Velocity Fellows, are Piero Dalerba, MD; Charles Drake, MD, PhD; Richard Ha, MD, who will share the award with co-principal investigator Katherine Crew, MD; Gulam Manji, MD, PhD; and Teresa Palomero Vazquez, PhD. Each will be working with a team of researchers and clinicians.

“The researchers selected as Velocity Fellows are doing work that has the potential to have a real impact on patients’ lives, by testing new ideas for treatment or deepening our understanding of how to best utilize current treatments,” says Anil K. Rustgi, MD, Irving Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

"Recent advances in our understanding of cancer are allowing us to approach cancer diagnosis and treatment in new ways,” says Lee Goldman, MD, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine and Chief Executive of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. "Thanks to the thousands of people who participated in Velocity, we are able to fund the work of six researchers who are pursuing a range of novel and innovative projects." 

Piero Dalerba, MD, is investigating whether the SOX10 gene, found in triple-negative breast cancer patients, may predict which patients are at highest risk of developing bilateral breast cancer. This information may help inform women who are considering a double mastectomy.