April 2016: Remembering Holbrook Kohrt, NHLBI Awards, and more

Holbrook KohrtHolbrook Kohrt, MD, PhD (1977–2016)

Holbrook Kohrt, MD, PhD, a noted clinician-researcher at Stanford Medicine dedicated to finding novel ways to arm the immune system to fight cancer, died February 24, 2016, of complications from hemophilia. He was 38.

An assistant professor of oncology at the School of Medicine, Dr. Kohrt struggled all of his life with hemophilia, a disorder that motivated his research and patient care. In recent years, he had become resistant to the clotting factor used to treat his hemophilia.

His colleagues say they will remember Dr. Kohrt for his brilliant mind, his thoughtful and impassioned care of cancer patients, and his unique ability to forge rapid and lasting personal connections with people from all walks of life.

“Holbrook knew that his time here on Earth would be short, and he worked tirelessly to accomplish as much as possible,” said George Sledge Jr., MD, professor and chief of oncology at Stanford. “He was an exceptional human being, unparalleled in his brilliance, dedication and persistence. He was passionate about research and making a difference for cancer patients. This is such a loss for his friends, colleagues, and the field of medical oncology.”

An involved member of ASH, Dr. Kohrt was serving on the Committee on Government Affairs and was a graduate of both the Advocacy Leadership Institute and the Clinical Research Training Institute. He also received a number of ASH awards, including the Trainee Research Award, the Research Training Award for Fellows, and the ASH Scholar Award.

Dr. Kohrt was the subject of a profile in the March issue of ASH Clinical News, where he shared how living with hemophilia had affected his life as a researcher:

“As a physician and a patient, one always remembers the power and the capacity to be trusted. I think that patients come in the door and trust us immediately; I came into my own physician’s room and I trusted him immediately. We have to respect that because it is a type of trust that is given to us completely and blindly. It helps me maintain perspective that what I do has great weight in patients’ lives. I need to put in 150 percent because what I do will have a clear impact.”

Dr. Kohrt is survived by his parents, Mary Louise Kidd and Alan Kohrt; siblings Brandon, Barret, and Brie Kohrt; stepmother Lois Kohrt; step-siblings Jennifer Baldwin, Katherine Czapla, and Ryan Baldwin; sisters-in-law Christina Chan and Angie Kohrt; nephew, Ceiran Kohrt-Chan; and girlfriend Kendra Cannoy.

Source: Stanford University news release, March 1, 2016.


Joel MossNHLBI Announces the Recipients of 2016 Orloff Science Awards

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has announced the 2016 Orloff Science Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements in science and the development of novel research tools in the previous year by investigators within NHLBI’s Division of Intramural Research.

Nihal Altan-BonnetAward recipients include:

  • Joel Moss, MD, PhD, a senior investigator in the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Branch
  • Nihal Altan-Bonnet, PhD, an Earl Stadtman investigator and the head of the Laboratory of Host-Pathogen Dynamics
  • Brian Glancy, PhD, a K22 investigator in the Laboratory of Cardiac Energetics

Brian Glancy“The Orloff Science Awards allow us to take a step back and recognize truly exemplary science as well as effective teamwork within the Institute’s intramural program,” said NHLBI Director Gary H. Gibbons, MD. “The program helps scientists pursue the best ideas for the public good. I applaud the award recipients and all our intramural investigators, whose continued commitment to excellence makes NHLBI’s intramural program the preeminent research entity it is.”

Source: NHLBI press release, January 29, 2016.


Florida Atlantic University Researchers Awarded $2.8-Million NIH Grant to Study Stem Cells

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a $2.8-million, multi-institution grant to Marc Kantorow, PhD, and Sue Menko, PhD, to support a four-year project to define the mechanisms that govern how cells decide whether to become a mature cell or whether to die. Dr. Kantorow is professor and director of graduate studies in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, and Dr. Menko is professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Their research will focus on how healthy cells become cancer cells and how stem cells become organs.

Source: Florida Atlantic University new release, February 4, 2016.


Andre LaRochelleNHLBI Researcher Receives Presidential Early Career Award

Andre Larochelle, MD, PhD, an investigator in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Division of Intramural Research, has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dr. Larochelle is one of 106 researchers from across the nation to receive the award, which is given to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

At the NHLBI, Dr. Larochelle studies regenerative therapies for patients with inherited blood disorders and leads a team that is seeking to leverage gene and stem cell-based regenerative therapies for disorders affecting hematopoietic cells.

Source: NHLBI press release, February 22, 2016.


Laurie GlimcherLaurie Glimcher Named President and CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, has been named the next president and chief executive officer of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Starting in January 2017, she will also be a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Glimcher is currently the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of the Medical College at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, where she is also professor of medicine and provost for medical affairs at Cornell University. Prior to joining Weill Cornell Medicine, Dr. Glimcher was the Irene Heinz Given Professor of Immunology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, where she headed the immunology program.

Source: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute press release, February 23, 2016.


Robert CaliffRobert Califf Confirmed as New FDA Commissioner

On February 24, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Robert Califf, MD, as the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Califf has been the deputy commissioner of the FDA’s Office of Medical Products and Tobacco since January 2015. Prior to joining the FDA, he was the vice chancellor of clinical and translational research, director of Duke University’s Translational Medicine Institute, and a professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Duke’s Medical Center.

“Dr. Califf has demonstrated a long and deep commitment to advancing the public health throughout his distinguished career as a physician, researcher, and leader in the fields of science and medicine,” acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, MD, said in a statement. “He understands well the critical role that the FDA plays in responding to the changes in our society while protecting and promoting the health of the public, across the many areas we regulate – and I am confident that our public health and scientific contributions will further grow under his exceptional leadership.”

Source: U.S. FDA press release, February 24, 2016.


NatashaNatasha Archer, Rayne Rouce Named 2016 ASH-AMFDP Scholars

Natasha Archer, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and Rayne Rouce, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, have been selected to participate in the American Society of Hematology–Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (ASH-AMFDP).

Designed to increase the number of underrepresented minority scholars in the field of hematology with academic and research appointments, the AMFDP provides four-year research awards, including an annual stipend of up to $75,000 and an annual research grant of $30,000, for a total of $420,000 over the course of the program. Drs. Archer and Rouce will spend at least 70 percent of their ASH-AMFDP–funded research under the mentorship of senior faculty at their respective institutions.

RayneDr. Rouce will explore strategies for eliminating relapse and viral infection post-hematopoietic cell transplant through research that focuses on using CD19-targeted immunotherapies post-transplant to reduce both the high relapse rate and the high risk of viral infection in patients with B-cell malignancies.

Dr. Archer will study how hemoglobin affects the parasite that causes malaria with a project that aims to lay the groundwork for more widespread use of hydroxyurea in the management of sickle cell disease. She will study the mechanisms of how fetal hemoglobin inhibits P.falciparum (the parasite that causes malaria).

The ASH–AMFDP program is one of the three components of the ASH Minority Recruitment Initiative, which is dedicated to encouraging diversity in the field of hematology. This initiative is supported by the ASH Foundation.

Source: ASH news release, February 25, 2016.

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