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M. D. Anderson Physician/Scientist Receives Prestigious Business and Professional Women of Texas Awar

M. D. Anderson Physician/Scientist Receives Prestigious Business and Professional Women of Texas Award
M. D. Anderson News Release 05/23/01

Joining a roster of women who have made outstanding contributions in the field of oncology, Dr. Michele Follen, director of the Biomedical Engineering Center and professor of gynecologic oncology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, received the 2001 Business and Professional Women of Texas Award.

Since joining M. D. Anderson in 1988, Dr. Follen’s goal has been to serve the institution’s mission with a diverse program that seeks excellence in patient care, teaching and research in cervical cancer prevention.  In moving toward that goal, she cites past philanthropic donations from BPW/Texas as a key to her success because it provided seed money to three of her research projects and allowed them to become viable enough to secure additional federal funding.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Follen learned to love medicine while spending her ninth summer with her uncle — a Jesuit priest, chemistry teacher and hospital chaplain.  That summer of working in a laboratory, following rounds and observing a birth was “a pivotal experience in my life,” she says. 

After high school, she attended the University of Michigan, earning bachelor, master and doctorate degrees in epidemiologic science.  She served her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and completed a fellowship in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at M. D. Anderson.

Dr. Follen holds the Boone Pickens Professorship for Early Cancer Detection.  Her research program has components in chemoprevention and biomarker development, fluorescence spectroscopy as a diagnostic and screening device, gene therapy of cervical cancer, the immunobiology of human papillomavirus, and the epidemiology of cervical cancer.

Currently, she is leading clinical trials in an $11 million National Institutes of Health grant to gain FDA support for a new cervical cancer detection method — a painless, small fiber optic probe for performing colposcopies.

Last year, she became director of the Biomedical Engineering Center, a new collaborative effort by three institutions to develop significant, state-of-the-art, biomedical engineering technologies that she describes as “the future of medicine.” Since 1975, Business and Professional Women (BPW) has presented almost $1 million to further work at M. D. Anderson.


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