Drs. Samir Parekh and Oliver Van Oekelen, myeloma specialists at COVID-19 hotspot Mount Sinai Health System in New York, share their research about how the COVID-19 vaccines have affected myeloma patients.
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Audrey joined the HealthTree Foundation as the Myeloma Community Program Director in 2020. While not knowing much about myeloma at the start, she has since worked hard to educate herself, empathize and learn from others' experiences. She loves this job. Audrey is passionate about serving others, loves learning, and enjoys a nice mug of hot chocolate no matter the weather.
Oliver Van Oekelen is a medical doctor (MD), trained in bioinformatics, with a degree from the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium. He has completed the first two years of (internal medicine) residency in Belgium, after which he joined the PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 2018. During his PhD, Oliver will try to use bioinformatics tools to study multiple myeloma, a hematological malignancy, in the lab of Dr. Samir Parekh. He focuses on the role of non-tumor cells (e.g. the immune cell repertoire) in the development of disease, in disease progression/relapse and after treatment. Using next generation sequencing at the single-cell level and mass cytometry, Oliver hopes to clarify the intricate crosstalk between various cell types in the bone marrow microenvironment. Oliver conducts his research in close collaboration with the physicians at the Center of Excellence for Multiple Myeloma and with Dr. Alessandro Laganà, who acts as co-mentor to his PhD project. Oliver has a broad interest in transitional biomedical research in immunology and oncology with a focus on bioinformatics and medical informatics approaches.
Dr. Samir Parekh, MD is Professor (with tenure) of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) and Oncological Sciences and Director of Translational Research in Myeloma at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Parekh's research focuses on the pathogenesis of hematological malignancies and development of individualized, precision-medicine therapies for these malignancies. His lab uses an integrated systems biology approach to study genome-wide methylation, gene expression and DNA sequence variation to understand pathogenesis, develop biomarkers and guide personalized therapy in B cell malignancies, particularly Multiple Myeloma and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Dr. Parekh has served on numerous review and advisory committees. He has successfully secured several federal and foundation grants and has authored multiple peer-reviewed publications.
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