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One of this year's MacArthur Fellows is Lorenz Studer, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


His work focuses on large-scale generation of dopaminergic neurons for transplantation, which could provide treatment for Parkinson's disease and eventually other neurodegenerative diseases. He has devised novel protocols for the transition of human pluripotent stem cells into neural and neural crest tissues and for the production of functional, stable dopaminergic neurons in large quantities. He also established a protocol that uses progerin to age-induced pluripotent stem cells generated from adult cells, providing more reliable models of how cells behave in age-related disease.

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MacArthur Fellows receive a stipend of $625,000, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.


Steven Rosenberg, MD, PhD, Chief of the Surgery Branch, Senior Investigator, and Head of the Tumor Immunology Section at the National Cancer Institute, has received the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals Federal Employee of the Year award. The award recognizes his work developing life-saving treatments for millions of cancer patients, and pioneering the use of the immune system and genetically engineered anti-tumor cells to fight disease.


Rosenberg introduced the first immunotherapy treatment, interleukin 2 (IL-2) and demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing tumors. He is also credited with developing adoptive cell therapy; and he and his team at NCI are currently working on developing checkpoint inhibitors.


"He's viewed as the leader in this field," Harold E. Varmus, MD, former NCI Director, said in a statement. "What really deserves credit here is his willingness to stick with a difficult kind of therapy and keep people aware that he had occasional successes, and that with new approaches there could be even more successes."


The Medals, also known as the Sammies or the "Oscars" of government service, are awarded by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with the mission to help make government more effective. Eight winners are chosen by a selection committee of national leaders representing government, business, entertainment, media, and the nonprofit/foundation community.


Also recognized as Service to America Medal honorees were Jean Claude Zenklusen, MS, PhD, Director of the Cancer Genome Atlas at NCI, and Carolyn Hutter, MD, PhD, Team Leader for the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, who received the People's Choice Award. Theteam led by Zenklusen and Hutter was the highest vote-getter from the general public from among 30 Sammie finalists.


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.


"There's not a person working on cancer research at the basic genetic level who is not using The Cancer Genome Atlas every day. A lot of the best work being done in cancer genomics is taking the data produced by The Cancer Genome Atlas and understanding it better," Varmus said in a statement.


Theresa Guise, MD, the Jerry and Peggy Throgmartin Professor of Oncology at Indiana University School of Medicine and a researcher at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, and William Thompson, DPT, PhD, Assistant Professor at the IU School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, have received a three-year Breast Cancer Research Program Breakthrough Award, totaling nearly $1.6 million, from the Department of Defense.


They will use it to study how a non-drug treatment-low-intensity vibration therapy-may benefit women with breast cancer who also have muscle weakness and bone loss due to standard breast cancer treatments that remove estrogens from the body.

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"Since low-intensity vibration therapies have effects on both bone and muscle, it has the potential to further reduce bone fracture risk by increasing bone density and reducing falls as well as by enhancing the effects of standard bisphosphonate therapy. It also may have a direct effect on the cancer cells to reduce tumor growth," Guise said in a news release.


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 (led by Sundar Jagannath, MD, Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at ISMM).


"I am excited to collaborate with Sundar and other elite scientists to find novel approaches for patients with high-risk myeloma. We have a unique opportunity to move the field forward, and our understanding of the underlying mechanisms in the transition to malignant disease," Barlogie said in a news release.

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His work has focused on biological and therapeutic research, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Among his contributions are the developments of the VAD regimen for refractory myeloma, autologous stem cell supported high-dose therapy, tandem transplants, and thalidomide.


Martin Morgan, PhD, has joined Roswell Park Cancer Institute as Associate Member of the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. He will also serve as Research Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Buffalo's School of Public Health and Health Professions; and he will also continue as Director of the R/Bioconductor Project, an open-source, open-development software system created to provide tools for high-throughput analysis and comprehension of genomic data-a resource that is now based at Roswell Park.


He was most recently at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he was Principal Scientist within the Division of Public Health Sciences.

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"Dr. Morgan is head of one of the most respected and important resources in the entire field of biostatistics and bioinformatics," Alan Hutson, PhD, Chair and Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Roswell Park and in the Department of Biostatistics at the University at Buffalo, said in a news release. "His arrival at Roswell Park opens up a number of possibilities for enhancing ongoing clinical and research activities within the region, and for increased interactions with scientific teams across the globe."


Morgan and his team will work to establish collaborations with research groups pursuing advanced, high-throughput statistical analysis of genomic data, as well as enabling individuals and groups to translate their own methods and approaches into Bioconductor packages for use by the wider scientific community.


Shohei Koide, PhD, will join the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center of New York University Langone Medical Center to lead the new program in biologics research as Director of Cancer Biologics, starting in March. He was most recently Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Director of the Medical School's Biomolecular Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility, and a Member of the Committee on Cancer Biology, all at the University of Chicago.


"This program gives us a unique niche among cancer centers and, equally important, a valuable pipeline to biologic agents with considerable clinical and commercial potential," Robert J. Schneider, PhD, the Albert B. Sabin Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis, Associate Dean and Director of NYU Langone's Office of Therapeutic Alliances, said in a news release. "Most importantly, we hope that therapies emanating from this program ultimately will help our cancer patients, and cancer patients worldwide."


Koide's work has focused on the design and engineering of protein recognition interfaces, which is the fundamental knowledge behind creating new biologics. He has developed designer binding proteins with antibody-like properties, "monobodies." His group also applies designer binding proteins as uniquely powerful tools to study cell-signaling and epigenetic regulation, often in multidisciplinary collaboration.


Jeffrey A. Medin, PhD, has been named MACC Fund Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Medical College of Wisconsin, starting in January. He joins after being Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics and the Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto; Senior Scientist with the University Health Network; and Director of the University Health Network Vector Core Facility at Krembil Discovery Tower at Toronto Western Hospital.


"The MACC Fund Chair was established to recruit a distinguished researcher to MCW who would encourage the growth of our basic science investigations and further develop our translational research efforts with Children's," Marc H. Gorelick, MD, MSCE, Chief Operating Officer of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Executive Vice President of Children's Hospital and Health System, and Professor of Pediatrics in Emergency Medicine at MCW, said in a news release. "Dr. Medin's background as a research innovator and scientific leader makes him uniquely qualified to serve as the first MACC Fund Professor."

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He will also be Vice Chair of Research Innovation for the Department of Pediatrics and Research Director within the Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, where he plans to expand the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Transplant Program Medin will also be Director of Cell Processing Laboratories in the MCW Adult and Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, with appointments in the MCW Cancer Center and the BloodCenter of Wisconsin's Blood Research Institute.


Thales Papagiannakopoulos, PhD, has been appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU School of Medicine. He was previously a Hope Funds Class of 2012 Fellow at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT in the laboratory of Tyler Jacks, PhD, which has established an autochthonous mouse model of human lung adenoma and adenocarcinoma. Papagiannakopoulos' work investigated whether circadian rhythm disruption contributes to lung tumor initiation and progression.


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has created a new Chemical Biology Program within the Sloan Kettering Institute to develop chemical technologies to discover new molecular probes, to use those probes to dissect the complex functions and mechanisms of proteins and other biological targets, and to leverage that understanding to investigate novel therapeutics to treat human disease.


"Chemical biology is playing a growing role in biomedical research-and cancer research in particular-bringing new analytical techniques, molecular probes, and potential therapeutic leads," the program's Chair, Derek Tan, PhD, said in a statement.

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The following researchers from the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine have received Susan G. Komen grants:


* Jeffrey Rosen, PhD, a Komen Scholar and the Charles C. Bell Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor, received a $400,000 grant to test novel targeted therapies for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer;


* Xian Wang, PhD, a post-doctoral Associate in the lab of Xiaosong Wang, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Smith Breast Center at Baylor, received a $180,000 grant to study the potential of a novel targeted therapy, which targets nemo-like kinase to treat endocrine-resistant breast cancers; and also to identify potential biomarkers to predict response to therapy;


* Yuanzhang Fang, PhD, a post-doctoral Associate in the lab of Yi Li, MS, Associate Professor in the Smith Breast Center, received a $180,000 grant to determine whether drugs that target interleukin-1 can stop the growth of cancer stem cells in triple negative breast cancer; and also to validate a new marker that can be used to more easily isolate cancer stem cells; and


* Bert O'Malley, MD, FACS, a Komen Scholar and Chair and Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor, received a $62,500 grant to better understand the roles of TRAF4 and ERK3 in driving breast cancer progression, cell migration, and therapy resistance.



Three investigators have been named recipients of the 2015 Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research to recognize promising investigators age 45 or younger for their efforts in advancing cancer care. Each recipient will receive a $50,000 award and spoke about his research at a scientific symposium earlier this month. The Prize is established by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and recipients are selected by a committee of oncologists, which is chaired by Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD, Vice Provost of Science and Professor of Cancer Biology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. This year's recipients are:


* Bradley E. Bernstein, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, whose research focuses on epigenetics and how the protein scaffold chromatin packages long strands of DNA in the nucleus of each cell, and how this packaging influences both normal development and cancer;


* Howard Y. Chang, MD, PhD, Professor of Dermatology, a Faculty Member of its Cancer Biology PhD and Epithelial Biology Programs, and Director of the Center for Personal Dynamic Regulomes, all at Stanford, who studies how cells know where they are located in the body and how long noncoding RNAs can predict whether or not cancer will spread; and


* Daniel Durocher, PhD, Assistant Director of the Lunenfeld-Tanebaum Research Institute of Sinai Health System in Toronto, whose research focuses on how cells maintain the integrity of their genomes, and especially how they deal with DNA double-strand break damage, which endangers the stability of the genome and can lead to mutations that cause cancer.



The University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Nursing has been awarded a three-year, $405,000 Susan G. Komen Graduate Training in Disparities Research Grant to provide pre-doctoral scholars with stipends and other financial support, along with a specialized curriculum of didactic coursework, tailored research activities, networking and career skills development training to pursue research in breast cancer disparities. The grants are designed to establish and sustain a training program for graduate students seeking careers dedicated to understanding and eliminating disparities in breast cancer outcomes across population groups.

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"This award is particularly relevant for the state of Alabama since there are tremendous racial disparities with African-American women dying from breast cancer at rates that are roughly 60 percent higher than for non-Hispanic white women," Karen Meneses, PhD, Associate Dean for Research at UAB, said in a news release. "We have to find reasons why this occurs and solve the problem. Training the next generation of young scholars may be one way to resolve these disparities."


The trainees will participate in interdisciplinary research at UAB across the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and the Minority Health Research Center. Meneses and WendyDemark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD, Professor and Webb Endowed Chair in Nutrition Sciences in the School of Health Professions and Associate Director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, will be mentors or advisors for the Komen trainees.

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