Dr. Ujunwa Okoye-Okafor

Senior Research Scientist

Uju received her B.Sc with honors in Pharmacology from Stony Brook University. She completed her doctoral studies in the lab of Dr. Ulrich Steidl at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she collaborated in work that identified a novel protein coding gene in fusion with the Class II Transactivator in Hodgkins’ Lymphoma (PMID: 21368758). Her dissertation work showed that the wildtype full length gene was being translated and functioned as a positive regulator of cell proliferation and cycling in active KRAS myeloid leukemias and these findings were patented (PCT/US2013/70227). For her postdoctoral studies, in the lab of Dr. Britta Will at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, she found that RNA demethylation and acute type-I interferon (IFN-I) upon azacytidine-treatment incited thrombocytopenia (PMID: 36053753).

In 2023, Uju joined NYU as a Senior Research Scientist in the lab of Dr. Shruti Naik. She is currently working with the team to organize various translational research projects. Additionally, she is studying the impact of skin lipids in psoriatic patients to understand the impact on disease severity and especially on cardiovascular disease comorbidity. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being active and drawing/painting.

Selected Publications:

Okoye-Okafor UC, Javarappa KK, Tsallos D, Saad J, Yang D, Zhang C, Benard L, Thiruthuvanathan VJ, Cole S, Ruiz S, Tatiparthy M, Choudhary G, DeFronzo S, Bartholdy BA, Pallaud C, Ramos PM, Shastri A, Verma A, Heckman CA, Will B. Megakaryopoiesis impairment through acute innate immune signaling activation by azacitidine. J Exp Med. 2022 Nov 7;219(11):e20212228. doi: 10.1084/jem.20212228. Epub 2022 Sep 2. PMID: 36053753; PMCID: PMC9441716.

Okoye-Okafor UC, Bartholdy B, Cartier J, Gao EN, Pietrak B, Rendina AR, Rominger C, Quinn C, Smallwood A, Wiggall KJ, Reif AJ, Schmidt SJ, Qi H, Zhao H, Joberty G, Faelth-Savitski M, Bantscheff M, Drewes G, Duraiswami C, Brady P, Groy A, Narayanagari SR, Antony-Debre I, Mitchell K, Wang HR, Kao YR, Christopeit M, Carvajal L, Barreyro L, Paietta E, Makishima H, Will B, Concha N, Adams ND, Schwartz B, McCabe MT, Maciejewski J, Verma A, Steidl U. New IDH1 mutant inhibitors for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Nat Chem Biol. 2015 Nov;11(11):878-86. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1930. Epub 2015 Oct 5. PMID: 26436839; PMCID: PMC5155016.