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Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy Welcomes New Faculty Members

The Faculty Additions To The Department Will Bolster Research Efforts and Better Student Experience

July 11, 2022
Clockwise from top left, Malik Bisserier, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy and of physiology; Julie DiMartino, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy; Shuai Gao, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy and of biochemistry and molecular biology; and Jian Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy.
Clockwise from top left, Malik Bisserier, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy and of physiology; Julie DiMartino, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy; Shuai Gao, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy and of biochemistry and molecular biology; and Jian Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy.

Dr. Bisserier, joins NYMC from the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. His postdoctoral work uncovered a new epigenetic mechanism underlying the loss of BMPR2 in pulmonary arterial hypertension. His work has been published in high-impact journals, including Circulation, Circulation Research, Cardiovascular Research, Blood, Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Molecular Therapy. He is a member of the American Thoracic Society, American Heart Association, International Society of Heart Research, and the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute and he currently serves as guest editor of several journals. Dr. Bisserier has been awarded several prestigious recognitions, including the Cournand and Comroe Early Career Investigator Award from the American Heart Association. His lab aims to further investigate the transcriptional and epigenetic alterations in pulmonary arterial hypertension with the ultimate goal to develop new therapeutic strategies for prevention and treatment. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toulouse in France, followed by a two-year postdoctoral training in pathology at Yale University.

Dr. DiMartino focuses her research on dormancy escape and cancer metastasis using a combination of in vivo models and imaging technics. In 2020, Dr. DiMartino was awarded an Early Career Investigator Award from the METAvivor foundation supporting breast cancer research to investigate the effect of ACE inhibitors on dormant cancer cells. Most recently she was awarded the 2022 Rupert Timpl award from the International Society for Matrix Biology in recognition of her postdoctoral work recently published in Nature Cancer. She has published more than 20 publications in respected peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Cell Biology, Cancer Discovery, Nature, Nature Cancer and Cell. She earned her Ph.D. in cell biology and a M.S. in genetics from the University of Bordeaux, France. Dr. DiMartino completed her postdoctoral training at the Icahn school of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York City, focusing on the role of the extracellular matrix in cancer dormancy.

Dr. Gao was a research assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston prior to joining NYMC. He has been studying dysregulated gene transcription in the progression of prostate cancer for 14 years and has 23 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Gao is a recipient of Department of Defense Idea Development Award-New Investigator Option and has received multiple national training awards. His research interest is interrogating the interplay between transcription factors (e.g., AR, FOXA) and epigenetic modulators (e.g., histone demethylases) in driving drug resistance in prostate cancer. By integrating cutting-edge omics-based approaches and various clinically relevant models, he aims to understand the high-resolution chromatin-associated molecular mechanisms underlying therapy resistance, identify novel molecular targets and develop therapeutic strategies for prostate cancer patients who are at the lethal stage. Dr. Gao obtained his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Toledo and completed his postdoctoral training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School and University of Massachusetts Boston.

Dr. Li, who is joining NYMC on July 18, comes from the faculty of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. His lab combines genetics, genomics and cellular biological approaches to understand protein homeostasis and stress response in reproduction, aging and cancer. His research has received multiple grant awards including postdoctoral fellowships from National Ataxia Foundation, BrightFocus Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, and Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institutes of Health. He received his Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University where he studied mechanisms of transcription regulation by RNA polymerase II, followed by postdoctoral training at Northwestern University where his work uncovered a new link between cellular stress response and animal development. 

“We are delighted to have recruited Drs. Bisserier, DiMartino, Gao and Li to NYMC. They will bring state-of- the art research in breast and prostate cancer, pulmonary arterial hypertension, aging and reproductive biology,” said Joseph D. Etlinger, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy. “The research is basic and translational and will offer new opportunities for our medical and graduate students. In addition, the new faculty will strengthen our teaching programs.”