Bringing the Best to Ohio State

Pelotonia funds have been committed to recruiting or retaining some of the brightest minds in cancer research to Ohio State. Among those recruited with the help of Pelotonia dollars in 2014 are:

Roman Skoracki

ROMAN SKORACKI, MD, FRCSC, FACS, professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Plastic Surgery, where he directs the department’s Oncology Section. Skoracki came to Ohio State from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His areas of clinical expertise include lymphedema surgery, reconstructive microsurgery of the head, neck and breast, sarcoma reconstruction, abdominal wall reconstruction and other areas of reconstructive surgery – all focused on improving patient outcomes physically and psychologically. He also has a strong research interest and collaborates with scientists in various disciplines related to the care of cancer patients. Accompanying Skoracki as a new member of Ohio State’s faculty (though not supported by Pelotonia dollars) is his former MD Anderson colleague David Cabiling, MD. An assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Plastic Surgery, Cabiling has clinical expertise in microvascular reconstructive surgery and oncology reconstruction. His research interests include outcomes in breast cancer reconstruction and microvascular treatments for lymphedema.

James Rocco

JAMES ROCCO, MD, PHD, who in January 2015 will join Ohio State’s faculty as a professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Cancer Surgery. Rocco, an otolaryngologist who specializes in head and neck cancer surgery, will direct the department’s Division of Head and Neck Oncology. He was recruited from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was director of head and neck cancer research and held the Daniel Miller Chair in Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School. As a researcher, he has translated basic science investigations on mechanisms of cell death after therapy into clinical practice by identifying novel biomarkers that predict survival in patients with head and neck cancer.

Michelle Naughton

MICHELLE NAUGHTON, PHD, MPH, a professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. Naughton, who also is a member of the Cancer Control Program at the OSUCCC – James, came to Ohio State from the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the impact of cancer and its treatments on the health-related quality of life and daily functioning of patients and long-term survivors.

Takeshi Kurita

TAKESHI KURITA, PHD, associate professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. Kurita, who also is a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James, came to Ohio State from Northwestern University. His lab team primarily uses genetically engineered mouse models to investigate molecular mechanisms of development and carcinogenesis of the reproductive organs. They also utilize the xenograft model of human tissue to study the etiology of human diseases, including uterine leiomyoma and endometrial (uterine) cancer.

James Blachly

JAMES S. BLACHLY, MD, assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology. Blachly, who also is a member of the Leukemia Research Program at the OSUCCC – James, completed a three-year fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at Ohio State before joining the faculty in 2014. His clinical specialty is mature B cell leukemia and lymphoma. His research primarily explores genomic and transcriptomic correlates in experimental therapeutics/clinical trials. This encompasses three areas of specialization: computational biology, genomics and lymphoid malignancy.

Jonathan Song

JONATHAN SONG, PHD, assistant professor in the College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Song, who also is a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James, was recruited to Ohio State after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. His research interests include: microscale technology for biology and medicine; biomechanical determinants of new blood vessel growth and remodeling; microengineering of the tumor microenvironment; mechanobiology of tumor invasion and metastasis; and development of microphysiological systems for screening of therapeutics for oncology.

Jennifer Leight

JENNIFER LEIGHT, PHD, assistant professor in the College of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering. Leight, who also is a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James, was recruited from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Colorado. Her lab team uses cutting-edge biomaterials techniques to precisely vary the spatial and temporal presentation of 3D extracellular cues and to develop sensors for measuring activity of members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family. Using these materials, they study regulation of MMP activity, cancer cell function and response to treatment.

Raju Raval

RAJU RAVAL, MD, DPHIL, assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Radiation Oncology. Raval, a Rhodes Scholar, was recruited to Ohio State after completing his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He treats central nervous system and genitourinary tumors with radiation therapy. His laboratory interests include translational cancer research combining immunotherapy with radiation and techniques for targeted radiosensitization.

Lawrence Shirley

LAWRENCE SHIRLEY, MD, assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology. Shirley was recruited to Ohio State’s faculty after completing a fellowship here in 2014. His clinical interests include thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal diseases, particularly malignancies. His research focuses on developing therapeutics for advanced thyroid cancers.

Anne Strohecker

ANNE STROHECKER, PHD, assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, and in the Division of Surgical Oncology. Strohecker was recruited to Ohio State from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers University, following postdoctoral training. Her research focuses on how autophagy, a program that controls protein and organelle homeostasis, impacts tumorigenesis with an ultimate goal of identifying mechanisms to modulate the pathway as a therapeutic modality for cancer.

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