Schvartzman Lab at HICCC of Columbia University

Who we are

Because we work at the intersection of metabolism, epigenetics and cancer biology, we are especially invested in fostering intellectual crossroads. This is why the CHROMETAB lab is committed to creating a diverse environment where individuals of all backgrounds, genders and ethnicities can bring different perspectives, approaches and life-stories to advance our goals.

If this rings true, send us a message. We are recruiting at all levels.

Juan Manuel Schvartzman, MB/BChir PhD

Juanma is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and a Principal Investigator at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is a physician-scientist seeking to understand the mechanisms by which cellular metabolism affects chromatin biology and how this impacts cell fate. As a medical oncologist, Juanma specializes in the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal malignancies, focusing on cancers of the lower GI tract including colorectal cancer, anal squamous cell carcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors.

Juanma completed medical training at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, a PhD with Robert Benezra at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and clinical residency in internal medicine at Montefiore Medical Center. He completed medical oncology training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and carried out post-doctoral work in metabolism and epigenetics in the laboratory of Craig Thompson, where he was a Hope Funds for Cancer Research Fellow.

Grace Forsyth, BS

Grace is an aspiring physician working as a research technician in the Schvartzman Lab. Grace received her Bachelor of Science from Lehigh University where she majored in molecular biology and minored in Spanish. At Lehigh, Grace worked in Michael Layden’s lab where she investigated neural development in Nematostella vectensis. During this time, she also competed as a Division I soccer player and worked with Lehigh’s Center for Gender Equity on feminist advocacy projects relating to women’s healthcare.

Following her graduation in May of 2021, Grace began working as a research technician in the laboratory of Craig Thompson at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. During her time in the Thompson Lab she worked alongside Juanma Schvartzman to investigate how cellular metabolism influences chromatin structure and replicative stress.

At MSK, Grace also completed an observership with Victoria Blinder, a medical oncologist caring for patients with breast cancer. Grace participated in clinical consults with a diverse patient population at the Breast and Imaging Center. At MSKCC, Grace gained hands on experience of breast cancer pathology and treatment, as well as the importance of trust and open communication between physician and patient. It is connections like these that inspire Grace to pursue a degree in medicine, a career in which she will utilize her research experience to provide cohesive, knowledgeable, and compassionate care.

Oshmita Golam, BA (2025)

Oshmita is an undergraduate pre-medical student working as a research assistant in the Schvartzman Lab. Oshmita is a candidate for a Bachelor of Arts at Columbia University, majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior with a focus in Computer Science. She hopes to become a surgeon one day.

Oshmita graduated as Valedictorian of her high school in Florida. At Columbia, Oshmita is on the executive board of the Muslim Student Association, Club Bangla, and the Columbia Science Review. Over the summer, Oshmita interned at Pediatric Associates, where she learned to heal, to console, and to improve the quality of life of little kids. Outside of the lab, Oshmita enjoys playing basketball and exploring Manhattan.

Sylvie Oldeman, BA (2025)

Sylvie is an undergraduate student (Barnard ’25) working in the Schvartzman lab. She is currently completing a major in Cellular & Molecular Biology and a minor in Statistics. She is very interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms driving human diseases such as cancer, particularly through investigation of chromatin biology and metabolism.

Sylvie has also done work in Brad Bernstein’s lab, studying the epigenetic landscape and therapeutic vulnerabilities of liposarcoma. She plans to eventually attend graduate school to continue doing biomedical science research.

Noah Sperber, BA

Noah is a first year M.S. student in Human Nutrition at the Institute of Human Nutrition at CUIMC completing his thesis in the Schvartzman Lab. He is interested in factors that may impact cell differentiation and development, as well as the link between nutrition and cancer progression. When not working in the lab, Noah enjoys running in Central Park, watching the Miami Heat, and trying new restaurants in Manhattan.

He received his Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University with degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies. At Brandeis he also studied mRNA translation and circadian rhythms in the lab of Dr. Michael Rosbash and was a group fitness instructor.

Alara Sutcu, BS

Alara is a first year PhD student in the Nutrition and Metabolic Biology program rotating in the Schvartzman lab. She is interested in understanding how environmental factors (i.e. diet, nutrition, physical activity) and sex-based differences contribute to disease progression.

Alara received her Bachelor of Science from Case Western Reserve University. At CWRU, she played varsity volleyball and studied lipid oxidation in Dr. Robert Saloman’s lab. After undergrad, she worked at Washington University in St. Louis with Dr. Brian Muegge studying transcriptional regulation of intestinal regional identity.

Former Lab Members

Raven Hollis, BS

Raven Hollis is an Atlanta native by way of Dallas, Texas, carrying out a summer internship in the chroMetab lab as part of the 2022 Ernest E. Just Biomedical Scholars at Columbia University. She recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science in Biology, and a double minor in Chemistry and Health from Prairie View A&M University. She hopes to become an Orthopedic Oncologist or Head Team Physician for a major sports team.

Outside of the lab, Raven enjoys exercising and serving the underrepresented community. She is the founder of “Health Hotspot” a platform with a primary focus of creating a hub for minorities to find internships, research opportunities, study abroad programs, and scholarships.