Article Content

Karen E. Knudsen, PhD, has been named Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. She currently serves as the Hilary Koprowski Professor of Cancer Biology and Chair of Cancer Biology at Thomas Jefferson, with joint appointments in the Departments of Urology, Radiation Oncology, and Medical Oncology-positions she has served in since 2008. She has been at Thomas Jefferson since 2008, and was previously the first Vice Provost there, where she oversaw and integrated basic and clinical research across all six schools at TJU.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

"I'm a strong advocate of team science, both within Jefferson and beyond," Knudsen said in a news release. "In my tenure, I plan to further increase our pace of discovery and bench-to-bedside translation that will bring cures to patients sooner, and to attract the brightest talent to our institution."

KAREN E. KNUDSEN, PH... - Click to enlarge in new windowKAREN E. KNUDSEN, PHD. KAREN E. KNUDSEN, PHD

Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Wright will lead a team of physicians and researchers focused on environmental and occupational health, from pediatric patients faced with household hazards to emergency workers with respiratory problems related to service at the World Trade Center site. He succeeds Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, the Ethel H. Wise Professor of Preventive Medicine, who will continue his work as Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai.


"This Department will lead the way in developing better measures of the impact of the environment on health, and then integrate them into Mount Sinai's outstanding genomics programs to develop new prevention and treatment programs for complex diseases," Wright said in a news release.

ROBERT O. WRIGHT, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowROBERT O. WRIGHT, MD, MPH. ROBERT O. WRIGHT, MD, MPH

Previously Vice Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Director of the Division of Environmental Health at Mount Sinai, Wright is also the Founder and Director of the Senator Frank Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine, and he has a secondary appointment in Pediatrics.


Roberto Pili, MD, has joined Indiana University School of Medicine as the Robert Wallace Miller Professor of Oncology at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. In his new position, Pili will also direct the genitourinary research program at the cancer center and will be Medical Director of the Genitourinary Clinical Program at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center.


The genitourinary research program's scientists will collaborate with researchers at the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. The developing program will be co-led by Timothy Ratliff, PhD, the Robert Wallace Miller Director of the Purdue cancer center.

ROBERTO PILI, MD. RO... - Click to enlarge in new windowROBERTO PILI, MD. ROBERTO PILI, MD

Pili's goal is to focus on drug resistance in those genitourinary cancers, providing new options for those patients, Pili said in a news release.


Pili was previously Professor of Oncology, Chief of the Genitourinary Section, and Leader of the Genitourinary Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. His laboratory research focuses on the development of novel therapeutic agents, including epigenetic agents such as histone deacetylase inhibitors and understanding their immunomodulatory effects. He also conducts Phase I/II clinical trials of novel agents for the treatment of genitourinary malignancies.


Jonathan Bricker, PhD, a behavioral scientist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, has received a $3.1 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to conduct a randomized, controlled trial for the smoking-cessation smartphone app SmartQuit.


"The funding gives us an amazing opportunity to update our SmartQuit app with state-of-the-art computer science and psychology technologies closely informed by several years of research we have done on prior versions of the app," Bricker said in a news release. Following these updates, Bricker plans to launch a large-scale, nationwide, randomized controlled study of SmartQuit next year. This new study, which will involve more than 1,600 adult smokers, will compare Bricker's app with an app that follows the U.S. Clinical Practice Guidelines.


The following three researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health have received funding from the American Cancer Society:


* Fotis Asimakopoulos, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, has received a $792,000, four-year grant to study the role of macrophages in helping multiple myeloma cells escape chemotherapy;


* Beth Weaver, PhD, Assistant Professor of Cell and Regenerative Biology, has received a $792,000, four-year grant to study the Mad1 gene and its role in breast cancer; and


* Naghma Khan, PhD, Assistant Scientist in the Department of Dermatology, has also received a $792,000, four-year grant to study the management of colorectal cancers with PIK3CA mutations.



Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, has received the Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. The award recognizes Deisseroth's leading role in the development of optogenetics, the technology for controlling cells with light to determine function-as well as for CLARITY, a method for transforming intact organs into transparent polymer gels to allow visualization of biological structures with high resolution and detail.

NAGHMA KHAN, PHD. NA... - Click to enlarge in new windowNAGHMA KHAN, PHD. NAGHMA KHAN, PHD

"Karl Deisseroth has opened exciting new fields of scientific endeavor that transform how we view and understand the brain," Charles A. Sanders, MD, Chair of the FNIH, said in a news release. "This research provides great hope to understand biology at a deeper level and, in time, to assist people suffering from diseases such as Parkinson's and depression."


The Lurie Prize recognizes outstanding achievement by a promising scientist age 52 or younger, and includes a $100,000 honorarium. Deisseroth was selected for the award by a jury of six distinguished biomedical researchers.


Pablo Valderrabano, MD, an International Visiting Scholar at Moffitt Cancer Center, has received the 2015 American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Young Investigator Poster Presentation first place award at the Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress. Valderrabano's poster was titled "Sonographic Pattern Stratifies the Risk of Malignancy of Thyroid Nodules with Indeterminate Cytology"; and he received a $500 prize. The project's aim was to improve the ability to identify cancer in thyroid nodules with undeterminate cytology.


Shelby Robin, RN, a pediatric nurse at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has received the 2015 Brown Foundation Award for Excellence in Oncology Nursing.


The recognition (formerly the Ethel Fleming Arceneux Outstanding Nurse-Oncologist Award) is the institution's highest nursing honor. Robin was selected by a committee of MD Anderson's clinical faculty, patient care administration, and nursing staff, from a group of peer and patient nominees. The award includes a $15,000 cash prize, a crystal plaque, and a commemorative pin.

SHELBY ROBIN, RN. SH... - Click to enlarge in new windowSHELBY ROBIN, RN. SHELBY ROBIN, RN

Robin was treated for Ewing's sarcoma at MD Anderson when she was 12. She returned in 2010 as a professional student nurse extern in the Pediatric Inpatient Unit, and she advanced to be a clinical nurse and charge nurse in the same unit. And as of May of this year, she moved to Pediatric Intensive Care.


"I was actually treated on this same floor where I work now," Robin said in a news release. "The nurses held my hand, made me feel normal, talked me through everything and helped me to not be afraid. To me, there's no higher honor than to become one of those people for the children at MD Anderson."


Share Your News!

Send information and photos for this column to