Coriell Welcomes Two Faculty Members to Research Team


The Coriell Institute for Medical Research is proud to announce the addition of two scientists to its research team: Shumei Song, MD, PhD, and Nora I. Engel, PhD. Dr. Song and Dr. Engel will each lead labs at Coriell and their work will contribute to and benefit from the newly formed Camden Cancer Research Center (or CCRC), a three-way partnership between Coriell, Cooper University Health Care, and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University to study cancer biology and develop new therapies.

Nora L. Engel, PhD

“I am thrilled to welcome these two talented scientists to the Coriell Institute. Their research interests and track records of excellent science make them perfect fits for the team we are building,” said Jean-Pierre Issa, MD, Coriell’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “In July, we launched the CCRC to bolster cancer research in South Jersey through a collaborative approach and this shared effort is already demonstrably bearing fruit.”

Dr. Engel is a recognized expert in sexual dimorphism, or the biologic differences between the sexes in humans. Besides the development of different sexual organs, sex differences are evident in many factors in one’s health, including lifespan, cardiovascular health, and immunological responses. Her lab is currently researching a genetic and epigenetic blueprint for differences between sexes in early development of mammals, and the role sex may play in the development and progression of melanoma.

“It’s an honor to join the team at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research. It’s long been known for the critically important biological samples in its biobank, but the growing research team at the Institute is equally impressive,” Dr. Engel said. “I’m eager to establish my lab and contribute to the incredible work already underway here.”

Prior to her joining Coriell as Associate Professor, Dr. Engel served as an Associate Professor at the Temple University School of Medicine with a focus on Sex Differences in Development and Disease. She earned her PhD at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is also where she earned her undergraduate degree. Dr. Engel completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Shumei Song, MD, PhD

Dr. Song is joining Coriell as Professor and is a well-recognized expert in gastrointestinal cancers, specifically in the esophagus, the area of the body where the esophagus joins the stomach, also known as the gastroesophageal (or GE) junction and gastric cancer. She has extensive experience in gastrointestinal cancer biology, gene transcription and expression regulation, and molecular approaches to investigate the molecular mechanisms of GE junction and gastric cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis.  

Her lab is working to understand how aberrant stem cell signaling can play a role in tumor progression, therapy resistance and metastasis, and how the deregulation of this stem cell signaling affects tumor immunosuppressive microenvironments. She strives to discover novel immunotherapies by elucidating tumor-immune interactions and tumor microenvironment from patient samples. Dr. Song and her team are working to build the functional translational GI cancer research platforms under the CCRC and translate discoveries into new therapies.

“With the creation of the Camden Cancer Research Center, Coriell is the best place for myself and my lab to conduct our work,” Dr. Song said. “There are exciting things happening in the Camden life sciences industry and I look forward to contributing to its success in the coming years,”

Dr. Song was previously a Professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at the University of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. She earned her MD from Binzhou Medical College Binjou, China, her Master’s Degree in Histoembryology from Wuhan University in Wuhan, China, and her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Beijing University in Beijing, China.

About the Coriell Institute for Medical Research

The Coriell Institute for Medical Research is a globally-recognized leader in biobanking and biomedical research. Coriell is home to one of the world's most important biobanks which distributes biological samples and offers research and biobanking services to scientists around the world. Coriell is the trusted steward of world-renowned collections for the National Institutes of Health, disease foundations and commercial clients. Also a leader in genomic and epigenomic research, Coriell is uncovering the ways our genetic makeup affects our health, especially with regard to cancer, aging, and personalized medicine. Coriell leads or participates in several research partnerships, including the Camden Cancer Research Center and the Camden Opioid Research Initiative. For more information, visit, like Coriell on Facebook, or follow @Coriell_Science on Twitter.

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