NIH and EPA to Study Link Between Chemical Exposure and Childhood Leukemia, ASH announces trainee awards, and more

Andrew Kung Appointed Chairman of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Andrew L. Kung, MD, PhD, has been named the new chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Most recently, Dr. Kung served as the chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation at New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Kung’s career as a physician–scientist has focused on identifying new targets and developing new treatments for childhood cancer. As chairman, Dr. Kung will maintain a clinical practice within the Stem Cell Transplantation Program, in addition to leading the expansion of the clinical program and heading a program of laboratory-based research. Dr. Kung succeeds Richard J. O’Reilly, MD, who is stepping down as chairman after more than 30 years.

Source: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center press release, June 20, 2016.

NIH and EPA Award $6 Million to Study Link Between Chemical Exposure and Childhood Leukemia

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced that researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, will receive $6 million to search for environmental causes of leukemia in children.

This is the second round of funding that the UC Berkeley-based Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE) has received from the EPA and NIEHS. With this latest grant, researchers will continue examining how early exposure to toxic chemicals might contribute to leukemia in children, with a new focus on identifying causes of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia in an ethnically diverse population.

“Our goal is to identify the causes of childhood leukemia and to support prevention efforts by educating health practitioners, families, and public health organizations on risk factors for leukemia,” said Catherine Metayer, MD, PhD, director for CIRCLE.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency news release, July 26, 2016.

Trainees and Junior Faculty Participate in ASH Clinical Research Training Institute

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) announced the names of the 22 hematology trainees and early-career faculty members selected to participate in the 2016 ASH Clinical Research Training Institute (CRTI). This education and mentorship program is designed to prepare current hematology and hematology/oncology trainees and junior faculty for careers in patient-oriented clinical research.

CRTI is a year-long program that focuses on foundations, methodologies, and applications of patient-oriented clinical research. During a week-long summer workshop held in August, participants further developed their own proposed patient-oriented clinical research projects and refined their plans with faculty and peers. ASH will hold further interaction and mentoring opportunities throughout the year. The class will meet again in December at the 58th ASH Annual Meeting in San Diego and also in May at ASH headquarters in Washington, DC.

The 2016 ASH Clinical Research Training Institute participants are:

  • Sherif Badawy, MD, MBBCh, McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
  • Andrew Brunner, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Hannah Choe, MD, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York City, NY
  • Stacy Croteau, MD, MMS, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Susanna Curtis, MD, Yale-New Haven Medical Center, New Haven, CT
  • Anita D’Souza, MD, MS, Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Milwaukee, WI
  • Melanie Fields, MD, MSCI, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
  • Holleh Husseinzadeh, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Julie Jaffray, MD, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
  • Shaina Johnson, MD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Jean Koff, MD, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
  • Anita Kumar, MD, MS, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA
  • Jessica Leonard, MD, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
  • Richard Lin, MD, PhD, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
  • Carolina Ana Oliver, MD, British Hospital, Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Leslie Padrnos, MD, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Kristen Pettit, MD, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Bethany Samuelson, MD, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Jennifer Saultz, DO, Ohio State University Hospital, Columbus, OH
  • Ksenya Shliakhtsitsava, MD, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
  • Lena Winestone, MD, MS, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Amy Zhou, MD, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Source: American Society of Hematology press release, August 3, 2016.

Madhav Dhodapkar Receives NCI’s Outstanding Investigator Award

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) named Madhav V. Dhodapkar, MBBS, a recipient of its Outstanding Investigator Award. Dr. Dhodapkar is the Arthur H. Bunker and Isabel Bunker Professor of Medicine (hematology), chief of hematology, professor of immunobiology, and co-director of the Cancer Immunology Program of Yale Cancer Center. As part of the award, he will receive $7 million in research funding over seven years from the NCI. Dr. Dhodapkar will use the new funding to continue his research in cancer immunology and develop novel ways to use the immune system to prevent myeloma and combine new approaches for the early detection and prevention of cancer.

Source: Yale University press release, August 5, 2016.

Stem Cell Scientist George Daley Named Dean at Harvard Medical School

George Q. Daley, MD, PhD, was named the next dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Dr. Daley, who currently serves as professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology and as the Robert A. Stranahan Professor of Pediatrics at HMS, as well as director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, will begin the new position on January 1, 2017.

As a long-time member of the HMS faculty, Dr. Daley has focused on the basic science of stem cells, including developing international guidelines for stem cell research and using mouse and human disease models to identify mechanisms that underlie blood disorders and cancer. He has also maintained an active clinical practice.

During his career, Dr. Daley has received numerous awards for his contributions to stem cell research, including the American Society of Hematology’s E. Donnall Thomas Prize for advances in human-induced pluripotent stem cells. He also has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2008.

Dr. Daley will succeed Barbara J. McNeil, MD, the Ridley Watts Professor of Health Care Policy and professor of radiology at HMS, who became acting dean of the Faculty of Medicine on August 1.

Source: Harvard Medical School press release, August 9, 2016.