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Faculty Educator of the Month: August 2013

Dennis Patrick Meehan Hughes, M.D., Ph.D.

Dennis Patrick Meehan Hughes, M.D., Ph.D., Co-director of the M.D./Ph.D. Program at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) and Associate Professor in the Division of Pediatrics, has been named the August 2013 Faculty Educator of the Month.

Dr. HughesDr. Hughes is a high-profile contributor to the education of young scientists and clinicians via his direction of the M.D./Ph.D. Program, a position he has held since 2007. This program, a joint effort by MD Anderson and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, combines clinical and research training that typically lasts 7 years. For example, students go through 3 years of clinical training before they begin their laboratory work. Focused strongly on developing translational physician-scientists, the program ensures that students receive careful mentoring from Hughes and the other co-directors and M.D./Ph.D. Committee members on how to synergize their research and clinical careers and keeps the physician-scientist community connected with each other through weekly Topics in Molecular Medicine seminars, which Hughes sometimes leads personally.

Here at MD Anderson, Dr. Hughes has played a unique educational role as a midcareer advisor for the Physician-Scientist Mentoring Program, from which he received support just a few years ago. This 3- to 5-year program, headed by Vice President for Translational Research Robert C. Bast, Jr., M.D., guides and supports junior faculty in dedicated effort in research and patient care (80% and 20%, respectively). Faculty who complete this program are well equipped to compete for external grants, having received extensive training in performing independent research and written numerous published articles.

Dr. Hughes also has a great deal of classroom experience, having served as a Co-coordinator, Instructor, or Lecturer for six GSBS courses. Also, he has been an Instructor for the Pediatric Sarcoma Clinic since 2005. Furthermore, Dr. Hughes has lectured and given presentations at seminars and Grand Rounds on a long list of topics.

Many trainees have benefited from Dr. Hughes’s supervision over the past 8 years. Specifically, he has directly supervised 14 graduate students, 7 undergraduate students, 5 medical students, 4 postdoctoral research fellows, and 3 clinical residents and fellows. Also, he has served on 16 advisory committees, 12 supervisory committees, and 6 examining committees.

In addition, Dr. Hughes’s educational activities extend to his MD Anderson committee memberships. For example, he serves on the Graduate Educational Committee, Graduate Student Interview Committee, Institutional Mentoring Project, and Junior Faculty Development Program.

Dr. HughesDr. Hughes has been well recognized for his educational contributions. Most recently, he was nominated for the 2013 Faculty Scholar Award. Also, he received the 2010-2011 Children’s Cancer Hospital Resident Teaching Award, and he was nominated for the 2011 Robert M. Chamberlain Distinguished Mentor Award. Dr. Hughes was also listed among the Top Pediatric Oncologists by U.S. News & World Report in 2012 and has been on the America’s Top Pediatricians list since 2010 and the Best Doctors in America list and the America’s Top Oncologists list by the Consumers Research Council of America since 2007. Furthermore, he has received the MD Anderson Physician-Scientist Award (2007-2010) and the Nöllenburg Prize-Basic Science Award from the 42nd Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (2010).

Dr. Hughes received his Ph.D. degree in immunobiology from Yale University in 1995 and his M.D. degree from Yale University School of Medicine in 1996. Afterward, he completed an internship and a residency in pediatrics at the University of Vermont-Fletcher Allen in 1997 and 1999, respectively. He then completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at the University of Michigan Medical Center in 2002 and a research fellowship in the Sarcoma Correlative Sciences Laboratories at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2004.

In the last year of his research fellowship, Dr. Hughes was a Lecturer in the Sarcoma Correlative Sciences Laboratories as well as a staff physician at the University of Michigan Hospitals and Clinics. He then came to MD Anderson in 2004 when he was named an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatrics. Dr. Hughes was appointed to the GSBS faculty in 2005 and promoted to Associate Professor in 2011.

While at MD Anderson, Dr. Hughes has been the principal investigator, a co-principal investigator, a collaborator, or a mentor of scholars for 13 funded research projects and protocols. He also has been a reviewer for several study sections.

Since 2011, Dr. Hughes has been a review editor for Frontiers in Pediatric Oncology. Over the past 8 years, he also has been a reviewer for numerous other journals. Over the course of his training and professional career, Dr. Hughes has written more than 30 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, 2 invited articles, and 2 book chapters.

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