PSTP Trainees

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Kelly Banks, M.D., Ph.D.

Kelly grew up in Columbus, Ohio. She attended Tufts University where she studied neuroscience and did research with Dr. Barry Trimmer in caterpillar sensation and biomechanics. She then spent two years at Ohio State University in Dr. Ray Hershberger’s lab studying the genetic basis of dilated cardiomyopathy. Through this work she became fascinated by molecular biology and developmental modelling in zebrafish, as organogenesis can be readily observed in the transparent embryo. After joining the Tri-Institutional MD/PhD program, she completed her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Todd Evans. Her work centered on the epigenetic regulation of primitive neutrophil development and function, particularly by Tet RNA/DNA Demethylases. Long term, she is interested in incorporating her research interest of epigenetic and metabolic control of molecular development and clinical interest in NICU. She hopes to investigate whether myeloid signaling plays a role in lung and gut development. Further, whether these processes differ in preterm compared to term infants with the ultimate goal of supporting more physiologic development in the extrauterine environment for premature neonates. 

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Richard Piszczatowski, M.D., Ph.D.

Richard completed his MD/PhD training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2022. His thesis work utilized antibodies against specific sugar (glycosaminoglycan) modifications to distinguish and further classify and categorize cell types within the hematopoietic system. He derives joy from interacting with patients and their families and bridging the gap between basic science research and direct clinical care. His hobbies are spending time with his partner and their daughter, as well as playing guitar, trying new cuisines, and writing. His clinical and research interests revolve around childhood cancers, and how to more effectively and efficiently detect, diagnose, and treat them.

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Florina Grigore, M.D.

Florina has a strong focus on the research of both pediatric and adult gliomas. Originating from Romania, she received her medical training at the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy. Her research thesis delved into the molecular underpinnings of glioblastoma invasiveness, underscoring the necessity for closer integration between clinicians and research scientists for advancing therapeutics. In her academic investigations, Florina concentrated on the role of mutant H3 histones in pediatric gliomas. She discovered that these epigenetic modifications not only have profound implications for diffuse midline gliomas but also extend to a wider array of pathologies. After relocating to the United States, Florina engaged in a multidisciplinary collaboration between the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. As part of an interdisciplinary team, including translational researchers, cell biologists, and clinicians, she contributed to the identification of a unique Chk1 phosphorylation site at S31 in histone H3. The loss of this phosphorylation during cell division was found to instigate chromosomal instability and facilitate gliomagenesis. Under the mentorship of Drs. Tomoyuki Koga, James Robinson, and Ted Hinchcliffe, Florina has pioneered in the development of advanced tumor models. She employed CRISPR/Cas9 technology for stem cell engineering and utilized single-cell RNA sequencing to analyze tumor-to-tumor microenvironment interactions. Now a part of the Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP) at Cornell University, Florina maintains her dedication to both exemplary patient care and innovative research. Her ongoing work aims to refine tumor study models and develop platforms to assess the efficacy of various treatment modalities in the context of malignant brain tumors.

Pediatrics Weill Cornell Medicine Appointments & Referrals: (646) 962-KIDS (646) 962-5437 Chair's Office: Weill Cornell Medicine 525 E 68th St.
Box 225
New York, NY 10065 (646) 962-5437