Shahin Rafii, MD
Arthur Belfer Professor of Genetic Medicine,
Division Chief of Regenerative Medicine,
Director of Hartman Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Ansary Stem Cell Center, Weill Cornell Medicine
Shahin Rafii, MD is a Hematologist-Oncologist, Arthur Belfer Professor of Genetic Medicine, Division Chief of Regenerative Medicine, and founding Director of Hartman Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Ansary Stem Cell Center at Weill Cornell Medicine. He has conceived of the foundational knowledge of endothelial cell organotypic development and heterogeneity, enabling translation of the pro-regenerative functions of vascular cells to clinic for organ repair and tumor targeting. He devised genetic models to prove that endothelium form vascular niches that by supplying instructive angiocrine factors choreograph stem cell self-renewal, organ repair or aberrantly incite malignant stem cells provoking tumor growth and metastasis. He has discovered organotypic transcription factors that confer generic endothelium with their tissue-specific and tumorigenic vascular signatures.
He has engineered technologies to manufacture the first-in-man infusional endothelial cells to repair injured organs. He has founded companies enabling phase III trials for infusion of endothelial cells into cancer patients treated with aggressive chemotherapy mitigating intestinal and hematopoietic injuries. He has also engineered adaptable human endothelial cells that functionally vascularizes organoids, including tumor organoids setting stage for pre-clinical pharmaceutical drug screening. Rafii's translational work to repair tissue damage by implantation of pre-endothelialized mini-organs has opened a new chapter in long-awaited vascular therapeutics. This novel platform could also be leveraged to interrogate the potential of immune cells for tumor targeting.