Remembering Dorothea Zucker Franklin, Samuel J. Heyman Award Winners, and more

Dorothea Zucker-Franklin, MD (1929-2015) 

Dorothea Zucker-Franklin, MD, passed away on November 24, 2015, at the age of 86.

Dr. Zucker-Franklin was a highly respected hematologist and research scientist. She contributed to the basis of contemporary cell biology through her work on the microarchitecture of blood cells, including platelets, lymphocytes, and megakaryocytes.

Dr. Zucker-Franklin was professor at NYU Medical School and accrued professional accolades throughout her distinguished career, including serving as president of ASH in 1995 and induction into the Institute of Medicine that same year. In addition to numerous original publications and public presentations, she co-authored a definitive atlas of hematology, Atlas of Blood Cells: Function and Pathology. On a personal note, she married Edward C. Franklin, MD, in 1956, beginning the warm and vivacious personal and professional partnership that lasted until his premature death in 1982. Together they purchased and cared for their much loved farm in the Berkshires, travelled internationally, collected pre-Columbian figurines, enjoyed many of New York’s cultural offerings as well as a sabbatical year in Paris, and developed a passion for downhill skiing.

In the January/February issue of The Hematologist, there will be an In Memoriam article focusing on Dr. Zucker-Franklin’s career.

Lois Travis Named Leader of Indiana University Cancer Center

Lois B. Travis, MD, ScD, has been appointed the Lawrence H. Einhorn Professor of Cancer Research at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine and the director of the new Cancer Survivorship Research Program at the IU Simon Cancer Center. She also will hold an academic appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. Previously, Dr. Travis was the director of the Rubin Center for Cancer Survivorship and chief of the Division of Cancer Survivorship at the University of Rochester Medical Center, as well as a senior principal investigator and lead research investigator at the National Cancer Institute.

Source: Indiana University press release, August 12, 2015.

Nestor Esnaola Receives Cancer Control Award from the American Cancer Society

Nestor F. Esnaola, MD, MPH, MBA, professor of surgery and associate director for Cancer Health Disparities and Community Engagement at Fox Chase Cancer Center-Temple Health, received the 2015 Cancer Control Award from the American Cancer Society. Dr. Esnaola was recognized for his efforts to define the cancer burden faced by diverse communities, promoting cultural competence among clinical providers and research staff and expanding clinical trials literacy.

Source: Fox Chase Cancer Center press release, September 8, 2015.

Raymond Bergan Named Chair of ECOG-ACRIN Prevention Committee

Raymond C. Bergan, MD, the DeArmond Chair of Cancer Research, chief of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, and associate director for Medical Oncology at the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, has been elected chair of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group’s Prevention Committee. The ECOG-ACRIN Prevention Committee develops biomarker-driven trials targeting patients who have been previously successfully treated for a prior cancer yet are at high risk for recurrence, as well as healthy individuals at risk for developing cancer due to the presence of premalignant disease. Dr. Bergan succeeds Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, formerly of Emory University, who resigned the position earlier this year to become president of the American University of Beirut.

Source: ECOG-ACRIN press release, September 15, 2015.

Bart Barlogie Joins Mount Sinai’s Tisch Cancer Institute

Bart Barlogie, MD, has joined the faculty of Tisch Cancer Institute of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as the director of research in the Myeloma Program, which is led by Sundar Jagannath, MD, professor of hematology and medical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine. In this new position, Dr. Barlogie will continue to focus on biologic and therapeutic research, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in patients with high-risk myeloma. He has served for 20 years as director of Myeloma Institute for Research & Therapy at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Source: Mount Sinai Health System press release, September 23, 2015.

UC San Diego Receives NCI Grant to Study Cancer Treatment Disparities
The National Cancer Institute has awarded a $13 million, five-year grant to the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University to establish a collaborative program aimed at reducing cancer treatment disparities among Hispanic and Latino patients. The program, known as the SDSU/UCSD Cancer Center Comprehensive Partnership, will support 30 joint research projects and research education programs for undergraduate students of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who are studying cancer and cancer disparities. The program is headed by Maria Elena Martinez, PhD, of the Moores Cancer Center, and Elva Arredondo, PhD, of San Diego State University.

Source: University of California press release, September 28, 2015.

NHGRI Leukemia Researcher Receives Alumnus Award from University of Texas

The Graduate School of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has named Paul Liu, MD, PhD, as its 2015 Distinguished Alumnus. Dr. Liu is senior investigator in the Translational and Functional Genomics Branch and deputy scientific director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Dr. Liu’s research focuses on developing targeted treatments for leukemia, using genetic tools to understand how leukemia cells propagate.

Source: University of Texas press release, October 7, 2015.


Winners of Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals Awarded

The winners of the 2015 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals were recently announced, and include cancer and hematology researchers:

Steven Rosenberg, MD, PhD, chief of the Surgery Branch, senior investigator, and head of the Tumor Immunology Section at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), received the Federal Employee of the Year award. Dr. Rosenberg was recognized for his work in developing life-saving treatments for cancer patients and pioneering the use of immunotherapies in cancer.

Jean Claude Zenklusen, MS, PhD (director of the Cancer Genome Atlas at NCI), and Carolyn Hutter, MD, PhD (Team Leader for the NHGRI at the National Institutes of Health [NIH]), received the People’s Choice Award. The Cancer Genome Atlas Team was nominated for mapping thousands of gene sequences for 33 types of cancer and advancing precision medicine in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer.

Source: Partnership for Public Service press release, October 7, 2015.





Nancy Speck Appointed Chair of Cell and Developmental Biology at UPenn

Nancy A. Speck, PhD, has been named chair of the department of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, she is the associate director of UPenn’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, co-leader of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at the Abramson Cancer Center, and an investigator in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Speck succeeds Jon Epstein, MD, who has assumed the role of executive vice dean and chief scientific officer of Penn Medicine. She is also the recipient of the 2015 Henry M. Stratton Medal for Basic Science from the American Society of Hematology for her seminal contributions in the area of hematology research.

Source: University of Pennsylvania press release, October 21, 2015.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Kara Kelly Named Pediatric Cancer Chief

Kara Kelly, MD, has been appointed the new leader of a joint program in pediatric hematology/oncology that represents a partnership among Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB), Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), and UBMD Pediatrics and the University at Buffalo (UB). Dr. Kelly is currently professor of pediatrics and associate director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her appointments as chair of pediatric oncology, professor of oncology and the Waldemar J. Kaminski Endowed Chair of Pediatrics at RPCI, and medical director of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Service Line at WCHOB will take effect on February 15, 2016. Dr. Kelly will also assume the responsibilities of division chief of hematology and oncology at both UBMD Pediatrics and the Department of Pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, where she will be appointed research professor.

Source: Roswell Park Cancer Institute press release, October 26, 2015.

Franziska Michor receives NYSCF–Robertson Stem Cell Prize

The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) announced that Franziska Michor, PhD, is the 2015 recipient of the NYSCF–Robertson Stem Cell Prize for her work in pioneering new approaches to study the growth, spread, and treatment of cancer. Dr. Michor is a professor of Computational Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she leads a Physical Science-Oncology Center aimed at using physical sciences to address the challenges of cancer biology – in particular, chronic myeloid leukemia. Dr. Michor has used sophisticated mathematical models to trace the evolution and development of drug resistance in these blood cancer cells. As winner of the NYSCF–Robertson Stem Cell Prize, Dr. Michor will receive a $200,000 stipend to be used at her discretion to further support her research.

Source: New York Stem Cell Foundation press release, October 28, 2015.

MD Anderson Cancer Center Receives $22.2 Million in Research Funding

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center was awarded more than $22 million in research grants from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
MD Anderson received a combination of $14.8 million in Individual Investigator Awards for research, $6 million in recruitment funding, and $1.4 million for evidence-based cancer prevention services.

Several of the grants were awarded to scientists who are researching blood cancers, including projects such as:

  • Visualizing T-cell trafficking
  • An adaptive personalized clinical trial using a patient-derived xenograft strategy to overcome ibrutinib resistance in cell lymphoma
  • Clinical safety and efficacy of third-party, fucosylated cord blood-derived regular T-cells to prevent graft versus host disease
  • A novel epigenetic reader as therapeutic target in MLL-translocated pediatric leukemias
  • Improving service delivery to cancer survivors in primary-care settings

Source: University of Texas press release, November 20, 2015.

Abramson Cancer Center Receives American Cancer Society Awards

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania has been named the 2015 recipient of the Partners in Health Initiatives Award from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

In addition, Andy J. Minn, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology in the Perelman School of Medicine at UPenn, is the recipient of the ACS’s Scientific Research Award. The Partners in Health Initiatives Award is presented annually to a health-care organization that has enabled the ACS to reach larger and varied audiences. The ACS’s Scientific Research Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in the field of basic or clinical cancer research. Dr. Minn and his colleagues are focusing on understanding how treatment resistance to both conventional therapies and immunotherapies develops.

Source: Penn Medicine press release, November 3, 2015.