publication date: Dec. 18, 2015

Raymond DuBois Named Dean

of MUSC College Of Medicine 


RAYMOND DUBOIS was named the next dean of The Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine. DuBois will assume his new role effective March 1, 2016, with an academic appointment as professor while also holding an appointment in the Hollings Cancer Center.

DuBois currently serves as executive director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. Prior to his appointment at Arizona State, DuBois was provost and executive vice president at MD Anderson Cancer Center, overseeing all research, education, training and faculty development.

Prior to joining MD Anderson, DuBois was a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the departments of Internal Medicine and Cancer Biology, director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and prior to that, chief of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

DuBois has served in many leadership roles, among them as past president of the American Association for Cancer Research and the International Society for Gastrointestinal Cancer. DuBois will continue his leadership in cancer discovery through his ongoing research, engagement with the NCI, and through partnership with the Hollings Cancer Center. He also currently serves on the Executive Management Committee for the Stand Up to Cancer Foundation, and is the president and chair of the AACR Foundation Board.


JOHN “DREW” RIDGE was elected president of the medical staff at Fox Chase Cancer Center – Temple Health. Ridge serves as chief of Head and Neck Surgery and Louis Della Penna Family Chair in Head and Neck Oncology.

In this role, Ridge will work with Richard Fisher, president and CEO, and hospital administration to improve physician credentialing and privileging processes, and select physician representatives to committees that oversee patient safety and quality control.

Ridge has been co-chair of the NCI Head and Neck Steering Committee, as well as president of the American Head and Neck Society and of the American Radium Society. He has held leadership positions in the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and NRG cooperative groups.


BHRAMAR MUKHERJEE was appointed associate director for population science research at The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, effective Jan. 15, 2016.

Mukherjee is the John D. Kalbfleisch Collegiate professor of biostatistics and a professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health. She also serves as the associate chair for biostatistics.

In her new role, she will oversee the center’s research on screening, detection and prevention, as well as research on outcomes, disparities and new models of cancer care delivery.

Mukherjee joined the University of Michigan faculty in 2006. She has received the U-M School of Public Health’s Excellence in Teaching Award and was the recipient this year of the University of Michigan’s Faculty Recognition Award. She is the founding director of a cross-disciplinary summer institute at the School of Public Health to train undergraduates at the intersection of big data and human health. She is also an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association.

Her cancer research has focused on how the interaction between genes and the environment impacts cancer risk. She has studied the roles of diet, physical activity and lifestyle factors, and their interplay with the genetic architecture of an individual.

The associate director for population science position was last held by Stephen Gruber, who is now the director of the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.


JOSEPH SMITH JR. received the Huggins Medal from The Society of Urologic Oncology, the society’s highest honor, for his lifetime contributions to treatment for patients with genitourinary neoplasms. Smith is a professor of Urologic Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The Huggins Medal is named after Charles B. Huggins, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1966 in recognition of his work on the hormonal treatment of prostate cancer. It is the second major award for Smith from the SUO, having been awarded the SUO Medal in 2006.

Smith received the medal and presented the Huggins lecture at SUO’s 2015 annual winter meeting in Washington, D.C. He was also recently named the next editor of The Journal of Urology.

Smith performed Vanderbilt’s first robotic surgery in 2003 and has completed more than 7,000 prostatectomies since that time. With Smith, VUMC has established itself as a leader in robotic surgery and indications have extended in urology to radical cystectomy, partial nephrectomy and bladder suspension.


RICHARD ADAMSON received the 2016 Founders Award from the Society of Toxicology.

The society also named over three dozen other award recipients, who will be formally honored during its annual meeting and ToxExpo in New Orleans, which begins March 13, 2016.

The Founders Award recognizes a society member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in fostering the role of toxicological sciences in safety decision making, helping illuminate the difference between safe and unsafe exposure levels for humans to chemical and physical agents.

Currently of TPN Associates LLC, Adamson’s career spans more than four decades. For newborns, Adamson demonstrated that not only was weight a factor in administration of a dose to infants, but allowing for the development of drug metabolizing enzymes in the infant was also a major factor to reduce sensitivity to drugs.

In the use of antibiotics in surgical procedures and myasthenia gravis, he and his colleagues demonstrated the synergy between some antibiotics and neuromuscular blocking agents as very important interactions between muscle relaxants.

In studying absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of folic acid antagonists, he found dichloromethotrexate was metabolized by liver enzymes and Methotrexate was generally excreted by the kidneys. This suggested that DCM was the better folic acid antagonist for use when renal function is impaired, or in the case of immunosuppression, such as cases of kidney transplantation.

In working with the National Research Council, Adamson was invited to a committee to investigate the safety of platinum catalytic converters in cars. The committee concluded that the platinum and palladium emitted from automobiles was small and the chemical form and lack of methylation by microorganisms posed no known threat to the environment or individuals.

His work with a Department of Health and Human Services committee reviewed the benefit and risks of fluoride in the use for prevention of dental cavities. The committee supported the use of fluoride in drinking water, toothpastes, mouth rinses and fluoride dietary supplements at optimal levels.

He has also investigated the carcinogenic potential of food additives, food contaminants, and pesticides. His long-term study of the use of saccharin led in part to various regulatory agencies to remove saccharin from their lists of carcinogens. He helped determine that MOPP combination chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s disease caused toxicity due partly to the use of procarbazine, which led to the development by oncologists of other first-line therapies for Hodgkin’s disease. Working with Japanese investigators, he found that heterocyclic amines resulting from cooking meat were carcinogenic and determined that certain methods of cooking could reduce their formation. More recently, he has spoken out about the safety and benefits of caffeine consumption.

“Toxicologists are involved in research that both assesses the safety of chemicals and compounds and determines the mechanisms, or ways, in which chemicals and compounds affect the body. The 2016 SOT awardees are among the best and brightest of our scientists whose work in these areas has greatly impacted public health—or soon will,” said Peter Goering, SOT president. “We also are pleased to honor exceptional individuals who are educating the next generation of scientists and who are making toxicology more accessible to all.”

The honorees represent various disciplines, which all factor into toxicological research. The 2016 SOT Award recipients are:

Raymond Nagle, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center; SOT Honorary Membership

Lauren Aleksunes, Rutgers University; SOT Achievement Award

Alan Boobis, Imperial College London; SOT Arnold J. Lehman Award

I. Glenn Sipes, University of Arizona; SOT Distinguished Toxicology Scholar Award

Kenneth Reuhl, Rutgers University, and John Wise Sr., University of Louisville; SOT Education Award

Warren Casey, NIH; SOT Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award

Cheryl Lyn Walker, Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology; SOT Leading Edge in Basic Science Award

Melvin Andersen, The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences; SOT Merit Award

Steven Gilbert, Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders, and Gary Ginsberg, Connecticut Dept. of Public Health; SOT Public Communications Award

Richard Beger, FDA-NCTR; SOT Translational Impact Award

Mohamed Salama, Mansoura University, Egypt; SOT Translational/Bridging Travel Award

Antonio Baines, North Carolina Central University; SOT Undergraduate Educator Award

Jessica Ray, Michigan State University; SOT Undergraduate Intern Travel Award

David Pamies, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Lei Yin, University of Georgia; Colgate-Palmolive Grant for Alternative Research

Shih-Yu Chang, University of Washington, and Tshepo Moto, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Colgate-Palmolive Award for Student Research Training in Alternative Methods

Katherine Dunnick, The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences; Colgate-Palmolive Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in In Vitro Toxicology

Thomas Luechtefeld, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Syngenta Fellowship Award in Human Health Applications of New Technologies

The SOT Board of Publications for the Best Paper in Toxicological Sciences Award goes to: “A Systems Biology Approach Utilizing a Mouse Diversity Panel Identifies Genetic Differences Influencing Isoniazid-Induced Microvesicular Steatosis” (Toxicological Sciences, 2014, 140(2) 481–492); Authors: Rachel Church, Hong Wu, Merrie Mosedale, Susan Sumner, Wimal Pathmasiri, Catherine Kurtz, Matthew Pletcher, John Eaddy, Karamjeet Pandher, Monica Singer, Ameesha Batheja, Paul Watkins, Karissa Adkins, and Alison Harrill.

The Pfizer SOT Undergraduate Student Travel Award goes to: Sarah Burnett, University of Arkansas; James Ding, University of Texas at Austin; Benjamin Alan Elser, Indiana University; Emily Fabyanic, West Virginia University; Laura Fisch, Montana State University; Eduardo Aztlán González, University of California Davis; Mina Huerta, Oberlin College; Haydee Jacobs, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Rachael McMinimy, Oberlin College; Danyelle Osowskib, University of North Dakota; Lizbeth Perez-Castro, University of Puerto Rico at Cayey; Jiwon Seo, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Carolyn Anne Smith, United States Coast Guard Academy; Stephanie Thiedeb, Purdue University; Nancy Ly Tran, Bates College; Jamie Weimer, Northern Kentucky University.


THE ALBERT EINSTEIN CANCER CENTER and the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care received a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Research Training Grant from NIH, which will provide $1.18 million in funding over five years.

This new competitive program is designed so that surgical residents in training spend two additional years in hands-on training as research fellows focused on the study of malignant tumors, the role of the immune system in tumor growth inhibition and the identification of emerging novel targets.

The 15 faculty members guiding this training, both as educators and mentors, represent six clinical and four basic science departments. Participating research fellows are expected to submit at least two abstracts to national meetings and at least one original manuscript for peer review by the completion of their training.


THE KNIGHT CANCER INSTITUTE at Oregon Health & Science University and Cancer Research UK formed an international collaboration focused on the early detection of cancer.

The collaboration seeks to address research models for the earliest stages of the disease; shortages of tissue samples available for research, especially samples from higher risk patients; and the need for a better understanding of the biology of early cancer and appropriate technologies to detect its features.

The collaboration will host an annual international conference series; in 2016, the conference will be titled “Cancer Research UK and OHSU Knight Cancer Institute present the Sondland-Durant Early Detection of Cancer Conference” in recognition of generous support from the Gordon D. Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation.


ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL opened its Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center, the first proton therapy center in the world dedicated solely to children with cancer.

The $90-million center includes the linear accelerator, a synchrotron, a three-story rotating gantry, powerful magnets and other equipment. The system features advanced imaging technology, including cone-beam CT to provide a 3-D image of the patient’s anatomy to achieve precise positioning for treatment. FDA cleared the features unique to the St. Jude proton therapy system Nov. 2.

The center also contains three proton therapy treatment rooms, treatment preparation and recovery rooms for patients plus a musical staircase that leads to a rain forest-inspired waiting room. The center’s multidisciplinary staff includes specialists from oncology, radiation therapy, imaging, nursing, child life and other disciplines.

The center is located in the Kay Research and Care Center, which opened earlier this year and also houses a state-of-the-art surgery and intensive care unit, the Marlo Thomas Center for Global Education and Collaboration, and other facilities.

In 2013, the co-CEO’s of Red Frog Events, Kunkel and Joe Reynolds, pledged to raise $25 million to bring proton beam therapy to the hospital’s campus. Red Frog Events brands include the Warrior Dash obstacle race series, Firefly Music Festival, and Chicago Beer Classic.


INDIANA UNIVERSITY MELVIN AND BREN SIMON CANCER CENTER is seeking high school and college applicants for its 2016 Summer Research Program.

The annual program, held in partnership with the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Center for Research and Learning, places students with a mentor physician or researcher for nine weeks. Students work with faculty who are conducting studies in cancer research.

The program’s primary goal is to increase the number of underrepresented populations engaged in basic, clinical and prevention and control cancer research by providing positive and meaningful first-hand exposure to those fields. Each student receives a stipend of $3,200 and is responsible for their own housing and transportation arrangements.

The program allows students to interact with any of the cancer center’s research programs, shared facilities and investigators; gain exposure to a wide range of basic science, translational and clinical research activities; and attend weekly career development workshops related to gaining admission to graduate and professional programs of study.

Students are selected based on interest in biomedical or behavioral science, academic performance and personal interviews. High school students who participate must have completed at least their junior year and have maintained a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Undergraduates in the program must have completed 24 hours of college credit, be majoring in a biomedical or behavioral science, and have maintained a grade point average of at least 3.2.

The application deadline is Feb. 26, 2016. Those students selected as finalists will be invited to campus for an interview in April 2016.


THE HEALTHWELL FOUNDATION launched a fund to provide financial assistance to underinsured patients suffering from multiple myeloma, providing grants up to $10,000 to assist patients with copayment or premium costs.

Multiple myeloma patients who are insured and have annual household incomes up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible under the fund.

“A substantial number of multiple myeloma patients face significant hardship when it comes to treatment choices and the ability to cover out-of-pocket drug copayment and premium expenses,” said Sharon Saias, Vice President Marketing and Communications, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “The financial lifeline being offered through the HealthWell Foundation addresses a critical need for these patients and allows them to access medical treatments that are vital to managing their disease.”

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