School of medicine

School Notes: School of Medicine
January/February 2022

Nancy J. Brown |

Breast cancer specialist to lead Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital

After an extensive nationwide search, Eric P. Winer ’78, ’83MD, has been appointed the 
next director of Yale Cancer Center and physician-in-chief of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven. A world leader in breast cancer research and treatment, Winer is arriving from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, and begins his new role on February 1, 2022. He has more than 350 original published manuscripts and a decade of experience as the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health–funded SPORE in Breast Cancer. Winer is a graduate of both Yale College and Yale School of Medicine. He will work to promote paradigm-changing discoveries and build an unparalleled clinical program that offers seamless multidisciplinary care and clinical trials to all patients and eliminates disparities in access, care, and outcomes. 

Grant funds study of cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease

Research teams led by Thomas Biederer, associate professor of neurology (the coordinating lead investigator); Elena Gracheva, associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology and of neuroscience; and Michael Higley, associate professor of neuroscience; have received funding through the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s ASAP initiative to study cognitive impairments in Parkinson’s patients. The $9 million grant will promote the group’s work to better understand the brain connectivity changes that underlie the debilitating cognitive impairments caused by Parkinson’s disease. While motor dysfunction is often what leads to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, cognitive impairments occur in approximately 80 percent of patients. The researchers will focus on how pathology progression impacts the cortex, which is where all critical cognitive functions occur. Because these impairments arise slowly, members of the multidisciplinary team hope to bring together their varying expertise to intervene and restore function in the brain.  

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