Of Note

Grants

Richard Fishel, PhD, professor of Cancer Biology and Genetics, has received a five-year, $1.8 million renewal grant (CA067007) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to understand in detail the mechanism of DNA mismatch repair.

Rosa Lapalombella, PhD, assistant professor of Internal Medicine; Robert Baiocchi, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Hematology; and John C. Byrd, MD, professor in the Division of Hematology, have received a five-year, $2.3 million NCI grant (CA214046) titled “Targeted Therapies for Richters Transformation.”

Leah Pyter, PhD, associate professor of Psychiatry, has received a five-year, $1.78 million NCI grant (CA216290) to investigate whether chemotherapy alters the makeup of the gut community in ways that cause chemotherapy-related cognitive problems.

Qi-En Wang, PhD, assistant professor of Radiology, has received a five-year, $2.3 million grant (CA211175) from the National Cancer Institute titled “Averting Recurrent and Resistant Ovarian Tumors.”

Awards and Honors

John C. Grecula, MD, FACR, professor of Radiation Oncology, has been inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Radiology (FACR). The ACR considers recognition as a fellow to be one of the highest honors it can bestow on a radiologist, radiation oncologist or medical physicist.

Michael Knopp, MD, PhD, professor of Radiology, has received a 2017 Ohio State University Distinguished Scholar Award, which recognizes exceptional scholarly accomplishments by senior professors and younger faculty who have demonstrated great scholarly potential.

The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute earned a 2017 Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award for Patient Experience in inpatient care. Press Ganey, a recognized leader in measuring patient experience, presents this award to organizations that have achieved a 95th percentile or higher overall rating on their patient-experience surveys in a given year.

The Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the OSUCCC – James has received a three-year, silver level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) for exceptional patient care and professional nursing practice. The AACN includes more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and more than 235 chapters worldwide.

The OSUCCC – James presented the 22nd Herbert and Maxine Block Memorial Lectureship Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer to Mary-Claire King, PhD, the American Cancer Society Professor of Medicine and Genome Sciences at the University of Washington. The OSUCCC – James extends the annual $25,000 award to an internationally prominent scientist who presents a lecture about his or her research. The award is supported by the annual Herbert J. Block Memorial Tournament, a golf outing sponsored by the Block family of Columbus.

Faculty and Programs

Jeffrey Patrick, PharmD, is the new director of the OSUCCC – James Drug Development Institute, which helps accelerate promising anticancer agents discovered by Ohio State researchers through pharmaceutical development. Patrick formerly was chief scientific officer at New Haven Pharmaceuticals in Connecticut.

Denis Guttridge, PhD, professor of Cancer Biology and Genetics, has been named associate director for basic research at the OSUCCC – James. In this role, Guttridge coordinates basic science across the five OSUCCC – James research programs and facilitates existing and new collaborative efforts.

Joanna Groden, PhD, professor of Cancer Biology and Genetics, has been named director of the Pelotonia Fellowship Program, which enables Ohio State students in any discipline and at all levels to conduct cancer research with guidance by faculty mentors.

Jeffrey VanDeusen, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist with a focus on breast malignancies, has been named associate director for community network relations at the OSUCCC – James. VanDeusen is an assistant professor in the Division of Medical Oncology at Ohio State.

Claire F. Vershraegen, MD, has been appointed director of the Division of Medical Oncology at Ohio State and associate director for translational research at the OSUCCC – James. She holds the Diane Nye and Michael Rayden Chair in Innovative Cancer Research and serves as a professor of Internal Medicine. Verschraegen came to Ohio State from the University of Vermont Cancer Center.

Javier Gonzalez, MD, has joined the cancer program as an assistant professor of Neurological Surgery. He specializes in neuro-oncology and has a clinical and research interest in neuroimmunology. He came to Ohio State from West Virginia University.

Allan Espinosa, MD, has joined the cancer program as an assistant professor in the Division of Medical Oncology. His clinical and research interests include neuroendocrine and thyroid cancers. Espinosa came to Ohio State from Cary Medical Center, Northern Maine Medical Center and Millinocket Regional Hospital.

THE Ohio State University has an agreement with Nanobio Delivery Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. for $1.4 million to establish a Center for RNA Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine for cancer research. The director of the center is Peixuan Guo, PhD, professor in the College of Pharmacy at Ohio State.

Leadership Activities and Appointments

Arnab Chakravarti, MD, chair and professor of Radiation Oncology and director of the Brain Tumor Program, has been appointed to the NCI’s Board of Scientific Counselors. He will help guide NCI program planning in radiation oncology and neuro-oncology.

Members of the gynecologic oncology team at the OSUCCC – James have been appointed to NCI steering committee or task force roles:

David Cohn, MD, professor and director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, was appointed to the Uterine Task Force representing NRG Oncology, a clinical cooperative group. He is also chair of NRG Oncology’s Cancer Care Delivery Research (CCDR) committee and represents the organization on NCI’s CCDR Steering Committee. 

David O’Malley, MD, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, was appointed to the Ovarian Task Force representing NRG Oncology.

Floor Backes, MD, assistant professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, was appointed to the Uterine Task Force representing the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG).

John Hays, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Medical Oncology, was appointed to the Ovarian Task Force representing SWOG.

Awards and Honors

John C. Byrd, MD, a Distinguished University Professor at Ohio State, where he co-leads the Leukemia Research Program at the OSUCCC – James, is the most recent recipient of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) prestigious Return of the Child Award. The LLS established this national award in 1986 to honor individuals who have devoted their careers to blood cancer research and whose national and international leadership within the oncology and biomedical communities has helped develop treatments for blood cancers, thereby improving survival rates. Byrd was selected for his work on developing the drug ibrutinib and his leadership in the LLS’s Beat AML (acute myeloid leukemia) initiative.

Erica Bell, PhD, assistant professor-clinical in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Ohio State, is the recipient of the 2017 American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) Senior Investigator Basic/Translational Research Award. Bell identified MGMT promoter methylation as a key mediator of outcome and treatment resistance in anaplastic astrocytomas based on prospective National Cancer Institute cooperative group studies.

Trainee Recognition

Juan Barajas, a doctoral student in the laboratory of OSUCCC – James researcher Kalpana Ghoshal, PhD, has been awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study. HHMI Gilliam Fellowships recognize exceptional doctoral students who have the potential to be leaders in their fields and the desire to advance diversity and inclusion in the sciences.

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