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Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) Welcomes Weill Cornell Medicine to Cancer Research Consortium

Weill Cornell Medicine to Establish Cancer Immunology Research Center in New York City with PICI Funding
Collaboration Expands PICI’s East Coast Footprint with Top Academic and Medical Research Centers

San Francisco and New York — Dec. 13, 2023 — The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI), the largest concentration of immuno-oncology (IO) expertise in the world, announced it has added Weill Cornell Medicine to its network of preeminent academic and medical research institutions at the forefront of the fight against cancer. Under the agreement, Weill Cornell Medicine, with new PICI Network researchers, will establish a PICI immuno-oncology research center in New York City.

Since its inception, PICI has distributed $260 million to member researchers to support scientific research at its member research institutions, with Weill Cornell Medicine as the latest addition to its PICI Network. Dr. Jedd Wolchok, the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Dr. Taha Merghoub, Meyer Cancer Center deputy director, will co-direct the new PICI immuno-oncology research center.

Funding for PICI’s centers supports bold, scientific research while bridging academia and biotech. PICI funds groundbreaking research and incubates, launches, and invests in new biotech companies. Its key focus is developing breakthroughs and technologies that can be translated quickly into curative treatments for patients. The expansion of PICI on the East Coast represents a new phase for the institute, enabling the development of more therapeutic approaches and technologies for cancer patients.

“We are proud to welcome Weill Cornell Medicine to the PICI Network under the leadership of Drs. Wolchok and Merghoub, who serve as center director and co-director,” said Sean Parker, PICI founder and chairman, whose previous philanthropy includes a 2013 gift that established the Sean Parker Institute for the Voice at Weill Cornell Medicine. “Dr. Wolchok is one of the most distinguished researchers in the world, and his impact on the field of immunology has been immeasurable. His deep understanding of PICI’s uniquely ambitious and collaborative approach and true passion for innovative scientific research form an incredible foundation upon which to build transformative patient impact at Weill Cornell Medicine.”

Collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine scientists target some of the most formidable health challenges of the 21st century, including cancer. PICI funding at Weill Cornell Medicine will facilitate the recruitment of world-class cancer immunology researchers; enable high-risk, high-reward cancer research studies to be conducted; support the training and development of the next generation of elite cancer clinician-researchers; and contribute to health equity and community outreach programs in the New York area.

“The collaborative nature of the PICI Network and flexible nature of funding is critical for rapid progress,” Dr. Wolchok said. “The PICI collaborative network has in the past decade helped facilitate advances in cancer research that I could not have imagined before. I am excited to continue my collaboration with PICI in my new role at Weill Cornell Medicine.”

Dr. Wolchok has been involved with PICI since its early days, having formerly served as Center Director for the PICI Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he leveraged PICI funding to build out a top immunology research facility, was the primary investigator on PICI’s MAHLER clinical trial, and mentored nine PICI Early Career Researcher Awardees. His leadership philosophy of promoting deep collaboration and driving innovation fully aligns with PICI’s mission and vision.

A geneticist by training with expertise in immuno-oncology, Dr. Merghoub has been a Parker member researcher since its inception. Together, Drs. Wolchok and Merghoub lead a laboratory that is dedicated to improving and developing new approaches to cancer treatment, especially those that target the immune system.

Listen to Dr. Wolchok elaborate on the mission of the newly formed PICI Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, on PICI’s Podcast, “From Bench to Fireside.”

About the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy 

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) is radically changing how cancer research is done. Founded in 2016 through a $250 million gift from Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker, the San Francisco-based nonprofit is an unprecedented collaboration between the country’s leading immunotherapy researchers and cancer centers. PICI Network research institutions include Stanford Medicine; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Pennsylvania; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Gladstone Institutes; and Weill Cornell Medicine. PICI also supports top researchers at other institutions, including The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, City of Hope, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Institute for Systems Biology and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. By forging alliances with academic, industry and nonprofit partners, PICI makes big bets on bold research to fulfill its mission: to accelerate the development of breakthrough immunotherapies to turn all cancers into curable diseases. Find out more at> and follow us on LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter) @parkerici, and on Spotify.

About Weill Cornell Medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine is committed to excellence in patient care, scientific discovery and the education of future physicians in New York City and around the world. The doctors and scientists of Weill Cornell Medicine—faculty from Weill Cornell Medical College, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and Weill Cornell Physician Organization—are engaged in world-class clinical care and cutting-edge research that connect patients to the latest treatment innovations and prevention strategies. Located in the heart of the Upper East Side’s scientific corridor, Weill Cornell Medicine’s powerful network of collaborators extends to its parent university Cornell University; to Qatar, where Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar offers a Cornell University medical degree; and to programs in Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Weill Cornell Medicine faculty provide exemplary patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens and NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Weill Cornell Medicine is also affiliated with Houston Methodist. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

For the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Eliza Powell
(646) 962-9499