©2014-2016 Alida Augen

Dr. Leonard H. Augenlight

where he was a fellow of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and of the National Science Foundation, and where he compiled a 4.0 GPA over four years. He and Alida were married during this time. Upon Len’s graduation, they moved to Philadelphia for his postdoctoral work on the regulation of the mammalian cell cycle in the Department of Pathology at Temple Medical School, where he spent two and one half years. He then accepted a position at the Sloan -Kettering Cancer Center in New York City; but before undertaking that move, he was invited to spend four months as a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institut fur Virusforschung in Tubingen, Germany.


Len remained at Sloan-Kettering for nine years, the last four as head of the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis. It was there that he began his interest in the Cell and Molecular Biology of Colon Cancer, and regulation of lineage specific cell differentiation and homeostasis in the intestinal tract. It was also in the early 1980’s at Sloan Kettering that he conceived the concept of high throughput quantitative analysis of the simultaneous activity of thousands of genes, and developed the first computerized scanning and image processing systems for this purpose. Upon moving to Albert Einstein / Montefiore, he received the earliest patents on this revolutionary new approach to understanding the regulation of normal development, abnormalities that result in tumors, increased probability of tumor formation, and the acquisition of key clinical features of the tumors, such as their ability to invade and metastasize to other organs, and their relative sensitivity to different chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive agents. This methodology, now broadly developed as microarray gene profiling, has become a fundamental way in which we approach how tissues and organs form and behave, how disease develops, and has led to new ways of clinical diagnosis, prognosis and drug development.


At Einstein / Montefiore, Len directs a group of 25 laboratory scientists, all focused on the cell and molecular biology of how cell types normally develop and interact in the intestinal tract. He has published over 180 articles in the scientific literature, and has been continuously funded by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American Institute for Cancer Research for over 30 years. This grant support has totaled over 39 million dollars, which places him in the top 5% of all supported grantees of the National Institutes of Health during this period. Besides a large number of grants for specific projects, Len was also awarded one of only four 10 million dollar Center Grants by the National Cancer Institute to establish an interactive research program on Nutritional – Genomic/Genetic Interactions. This was known as the New York Colon Cancer Study Group (NYCCSG), a group of highly prominent scientists from Einstein, Montefiore, and the Rockefeller University.


Besides his academic positions and research activities, Len has been a consultant to many government agencies. He served as a reviewer for dozens of NIH and NCI programs, most notably as member and chairman of the Metabolic Pathology Study Section, and as member of the Tumor Cell Biology Study Section, of the National Institutes of Health, which review all grant applications in these areas. He was also a member of the committee which reviews cancer centers throughout the United States for the National Cancer Institute and evaluated The National Cancer Institute Intramural Genetics Program. He has also served on the Planning Committee and Review Committees, as both member and Chairman, for the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence, and as Chairman of the subcommittees on Intestinal Stem Cells and Markers of Intestinal Cell Differentiation of the National Cancer Institute, and on the Space Station Utilization Advisory Committee for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The latter gave him the opportunity to pursue his life-long interest in astronomy and the space program, visit and interact with the staff at NASA, sit in the pilot’s seat of a mock-up of the shuttle at the Johnson Space Center, and be a guest at a launch of the shuttle Discovery to monitor an experiment of his transported to the International Space Station. Finally, Len has served as an Associate Editor of the journal Cancer Research since 1996, of Cancer Prevention Research since 2001 and edited the book, “Cell and Molecular Biology of Colon Cancer”.

LEONARD H. AUGENLICHT (husband of Alida Augen) is Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology; Associate Director of the Cancer Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Director of Molecular Oncology and Vice Chair of the Department of Medical Oncology at the affiliated Montefiore Medical Center.

Len received his B.A. degree in Biology at Harpur College of the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he first met Alida. He then received a Ph.D. at Syracuse University in Developmental Biology and Biochemistry,