Remembering Neil Abramson, MD, AACC Announces Clinical Chemistry Trainee Council Educational Initiative, and more

Remembering Neil Abramson, MD (1937-2017)

Neil Abramson, MD

Neil Abramson, MD, a hematologist/oncologist who served as a Blood Special Section Editor from 2008-2012, passed away at the age of 79. His death on May 18, 2017, was mourned by family, friends, colleagues, and countless patients touched by his intellect, generosity, and warmth.

After graduating from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Dr. Abramson earned his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, continuing his training at University of Pittsburgh and as a captain in the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory. His professional dedication to hematology/oncology was solidified through clinical and research fellowships at Harvard Medical School and a position as Chief of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida, from 1973-2001. He held several additional faculty appointments during his tenure, and published more than 100 manuscripts and abstracts. He was an international authority on topics ranging from chemotherapy to medical ethics.

Dr. Abramson is survived by his wife of 57 years, Ellen Abramson, son Simeon, daughters Laura and Judith, two brothers, and eight grandchildren.

AACC Announces Clinical Chemistry Trainee Council Educational Initiative

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry has announced the Clinical Chemistry Trainee Council program, which provides educational resources for laboratory medicine trainees preparing for board examinations in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The free program offers a variety of educational materials, including presentations, podcasts, case studies, articles, and more. The newly developed question bank features approximately 3,000 peer-reviewed questions, and the Pearls of Laboratory Medicine provide 10- to 15-minute lectures about a diagnosis or analyses. The program, which is available in eight languages, is open to the public.

Register at

Source: American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

Jason Chesney Appointed Director of James Graham Brown Cancer Center

Jason Chesney, MD, PhD

Jason Chesney, MD, PhD, was named director of the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, pending approval by the board of trustees. Dr. Chesney will succeed Donald Miller, MD, PhD, who has served as director since 1999 and is returning to the faculty.

In addition to serving as director of the cancer center, Dr. Chesney will be an associate vice president for health affairs and will continue to hold the Brinkley Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research.

“At the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, we have the chance to have a major impact on the welfare of our region’s population through an expansion in our clinical enterprise, outreach program, basic and clinical research, and education programs,” said Dr. Chesney.

Source: University of Louisville press release, April 27, 2017.

Ahmad Samer Al-Homsi to Lead New Transplant Program at Perlmutter Cancer Center

Ahmad Samer Al-Homsi, MD, MBA

Ahmad Samer Al-Homsi, MD, MBA, will lead a new bone marrow transplantation (BMT) program at New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center’s Perlmutter Cancer Center. The program will focus on treating hematologic malignancies and will also explore the use of BMT as an adjunct to immunotherapy in the treatment of solid tumors.

“We are defeating leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma at increasing rates,” said Dr. Al-Homsi. “At the same time, we must continue to discover ways to ameliorate problems that sometimes come with treatment. I am confident we can make important strides.”

Dr. Al-Homsi will examine ways to reduce graft-versus-host disease – a focus of his previous research – and methods to minimize the need for extended treatment with traditional prophylactic agents.

Dr. Al-Homsi will also facilitate NYU Langone’s collaboration with the The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to institute haploidentical transplantation at Perlmutter Cancer Center.

Source: New York University Langone Medical Center press release, May 4, 2017.

The Sidney Kimmel Foundation Announces New Kimmel Scholars

The Sidney Kimmel Foundation has selected the final 15 recipients of its 2-year, $200,000
Kimmel Scholars Program grants. For 20 years, the foundation has committed more than
$65 million toward its goal to jumpstart careers of researchers and physician-scientists in oncology.

Several of the 2017 recipients are conducting research in hematologic malignancies and
cancer biology:

  • Sean Collins, PhD, University of California, Davis
    “Rewiring leukocyte chemotaxis signaling for therapeutic application”
  • Meelad Dawlaty, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
    “Epigenetic regulation of hematopoietic malignancies by TET [Ten-Eleven Translocation] enzymes”
  • Ralph Kleiner, PhD, Princeton University
    “Chemical approaches to investigate RNA modifications in cancer progression and therapy”
  • Neville Sanjana, PhD, New York Genome Center
    “Essential genes for cancer immunotherapy”
  • Arvind Subramaniam, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    “Quantitative profiling of synonymous mutation effects in cancer cells”
  • Eric Tran, PhD, Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Cancer Center
    “Investigating and harnessing the T-cell response against mutated neoantigens in patients with epithelial cancers”

Source: Sidney Kimmel Foundation press release, April 19, 2017.

Daniel Von Hoff Awarded Gold Medal for Excellence in Clinical Medicine from Columbia University

Daniel Von Hoff, MD, distinguished professor, physician-in-chief, and director of molecular medicine at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, was recognized by his alma mater, Columbia University, with a gold medal for excellence in clinical medicine.

“This medal represents the highest honor [that] the alumni association can bestow in recognition of [Dr. Von Hoff’s] outstanding accomplishments,” said Kenneth A. Forde, MD, chair of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee.

Alongside his colleagues, Dr. Von Hoff has conducted early clinical investigations of many new cancer agents for patients with leukemia, as well as breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, advanced basal cell, and pancreatic cancers, throughout his career.

Source: Translational Genomics Research Institute press release, May 8, 2017.