Faculty Educator of the Month: May 2009

Dr. Joya Chandra

Joya Chandra, Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Pediatrics and at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston (GSBS), has been named the May 2009 Faculty Educator of the Month.
Dr. Chandra has been active as an educator at MD Anderson and the GSBS over her career. Specifically, she has been a lecturer for the GSBS courses Cancer Cell Signaling (since 2002) and Mechanisms in Cancer Therapeutics (since 2005). She also served as lecturer for the course Molecular Basis of Programmed Cell Death for one year (1996-1997). In addition, Dr. Chandra has been a lecturer outside MD Anderson and the GSBS at two courses each at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Mayo Graduate School.
Dr. Chandra also has had a great deal of experience in working with trainees one-on-one. Specifically, she has directly supervised six undergraduate students, three postdoctoral research fellows and one clinical fellow. Dr. Chandra also has supervised 14 graduate students, a group that includes students who have completed brief rotations in her laboratory. Additionally, she has served on 15 advisory committees, 16 supervisory committees and 18 examining committees.
Many of the trainees Dr. Chandra has supervised have gone on to receive recognition of their academic and scientific achievements and have reports of their research published in peer-reviewed journals. As a result, she was recently nominated for the John P. McGovern Outstanding Teaching Award.
Dr. Chandra has received many awards for her scientific contributions. These include the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women's Club Award (2004), the Leukemia SPORE Career Development Award (2004-2007), an MD Anderson Cancer Center Institutional Research Grant (2003-2005), the Children's Oncology Group Young Investigator Award (2003-2004) and National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award Individual (F32) Training Grants (2000-2001, 2001-2003). Furthermore, she has received the Karolinska Institute Travel Award (1999, 2000), the American Association for Cancer Research-Aflac Scholar-in-Training Award (2001) and the Wenner-Gren Foundation Fellowship for Visiting Scientists (2000).
Dr. Chandra received her Ph.D. degree in cancer biology and immunology from the GSBS in 1998. Afterward, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in apoptosis and oxidative stress in the Division of Toxicology, Institute for Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute (2000), where she was a postdoctoral research assistant in the Division of Toxicology. Also, Dr. Chandra completed a postdoctoral fellowship in drug development, apoptosis and leukemia therapy in the Division of Oncology Research at the Mayo Clinic (2002), where she served as a postdoctoral research assistant.
In 2002, Dr. Chandra returned to Houston as an assistant professor in the Division of Pediatrics and at the GSBS. She was promoted to her current associate professorships in 2008.
Dr. Chandra has served on a wide array of committees and other groups at MD Anderson and the GSBS over the past seven years. Of note is her current membership on the Odyssey Fellowship Committee, Joint Student Affairs Council, Faculty Senate and New Agents Working Group. Also, she chairs the International Affairs Subcommittee of the MD Anderson Alumni and Faculty Association Steering Committee. Dr. Chandra is an active alumna of the GSBS, and she has served as president of the GSBS Alumni Association (2005-2006) and chair of the MD Anderson Alumni Association (2006-2007).
In addition to her educational duties described above, Dr. Chandra has been in demand as a speaker and presenter at numerous conferences and seminars throughout the world in recent years. Also, she has served on the Selection Committee for International Students for the Cancer Biology Program and was invited to participate in National Institutes of Health Regional Consultation Meeting on Peer Review in 2007.
Over the past five years, Dr. Chandra has been the principal investigator for 12 funded research projects and a collaborator for one funded project. In addition, she has been a reviewer for several grants, including the Odyssey Program (2008-present) and the recent National Institutes of Health Challenge grants.
At present, Dr. Chandra is a member of the editorial board for the Open Drug Resistance Journal and is a reviewer for 20 other journals. Over the span of her career, Dr. Chandra has authored more than 30 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, six invited articles and four book chapters.