2009 Partnership News

E-Blast Issue 27 - August 18, 2009

Dr. Elizabeth Travis, PI and Training Program co-leader, receives 2009 AAMC Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award

Dr. Elizabeth L. Travis, associate vice president, Women Faculty Programs, at MD Anderson, recently has been named as the 2009 AAMC Women in Medicine awardee. The award program recognizes individual and organizational contributions to advancing women leaders in academic medicine. The formal award presentation will be held at the AAMC Annual Meeting on November 10, 2009, in Boston, MA.

Dr. Ana Patricia Ortiz, investigator, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core, accepted into NIH/NCI Postdoctoral Career Development Program

Dr. Ana Patricia Ortiz, associate professor, University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been accepted into the NIH/NCI Computational Genomic Epidemiology of Cancer Career Development Program at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Through this program, Dr. Ortiz will participate in specialized didactic coursework targeted to complement her research background. Dr. Ortiz will also collaborate on focused projects with various mentors from different disciplines in cancer medicine where she will write three research papers, as well as a mock NIH proposal. The fellowship is for one year and will cover part of her salary and benefits, as well as provide funds for research supplies and travel to conferences.

Frances Marie Pietri Vázquez receives 2009 STEP UP Clinical and Research Internship Research Poster Award

Frances Marie Pietri Vázquez, a senior at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez majoring in biology, was recognized as the 2009 awardee at the Annual STEP UP Awards Ceremony. Ms. Pietri tied for 1st place with another fellow student for her poster entitled “Targeting Serotonin Receptors as Potential New Therapy for Breast Cancer”.

Dr. Daniel Hughes, co-investigator, Pilot Project C, to be published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health

Dr. Daniel Hughes, instructor of behavioral medicine at MD Anderson, was recently notified that his manuscript, Exercise Increases Self-Efficacy in Sedentary Endometrial Cancer Survivors, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health. Dr. Hughes is the first author on this manuscript, and his mentor on Pilot Project C, Dr. Karen Basen-Engquist, is also named.

Dr. Pablo Vivas accepts faculty position at the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center

On August 1st, Dr. Pablo Vivas became the second postdoctoral trainee trained at MD Anderson to transition into a faculty appointment at the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center. During his postdoctoral training, Dr. Vivas received extensive mentorship in cancer biology and proteomics, as well as nanomedical applications of drug carriers. As an assistant professor at the Center, Dr. Vivas is charged with aiding the development of the Cancer Biology and Proteomics Program.

U54 summer programs prove successful – 20 trainees participate in research experiences at MD Anderson

This year 15 undergraduate, graduate and medical students participated in the Partnership Clinical and Research Programs. Four undergraduate students participated in the STEP UP Program, and one medical student completed a rotation in orthopaedics. Students participating in the Summer Research and STEP UP Programs have received UPR credit for their participation and have formally presented their findings at both MD Anderson and the University of Puerto Rico in either an oral or poster presentation.

E-Blast Issue 26A - July 7, 2009

Update: Dedication Ceremony for the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center

Please visit Laboratory Facility Dedicated at U54 Partner Institution in Puerto Rico to read the story on the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center's Dedication Ceremony with Governor Luis Fortuno.

E-Blast Issue 26 - June 2, 2009

Announcement: 2009 UPR/MD Anderson leveraged ARRA Challenge grants submitted

As of June 1st, 19 ARRA challenge grants were submitted by U54 funded co-leaders and junior faculty. The principal investigators took an active role in working with the co-leaders and junior faculty to provide guidance on developing, as well as leveraging applications utilizing the Partnership.

Announcement: 2009 Summer Research Program trainees

For the 2009 Summer term, a call for applications was sent out across the UPR system. Nineteen applications from undergraduate students and 12 applications from medical students were received. Eleven undergraduates and four medical students were accepted for participation in the 2009 program. Two of the undergraduate students have already been interviewed for the M.D./Ph.D. program and have been accepted as potential candidates.

Announcement: 2009 STEP UP trainees

A call for applications was also sent out for the 2009 STEP UP Internship Program, directed by Dr. Kathryn Peek. This Program emphasizes translational research and bioengineering. Twelve students from UPR submitted applications, four students were admitted.

Congratulations: Biostatistics Core and Outreach Team collaborate in U54 publication with the UPR Cancer Registry

Please join us in congratulating Drs. Erick Suarez, Elba Diaz, Ana Patricia Ortiz and Nayda Figueroa, as well as William Calo and Eduardo Hernando, on their recent publication in BMC Cancer entitled "Age-standardized incidence and mortality rates of oral and pharyngeal cancer in Puerto Rico and among Non-Hispanic Whites, Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics in the USA".


Meeting Recap: Biostatistics Core meeting proves successful

The 2009 UPR/MD Anderson Clinical Trials Workshop, organized by the Partnership's Biostatistics Core and the Training Program, was held May 25-27, 2009. Faculty from both MD Anderson and the University of Puerto Rico presented lectures over three days to 105 participants. Plans are in preparation to expand this workshop in the coming years.

E-Blast Issue 25 - April 8, 2009

Congratulations: Dr. Reynold López-Enriquez honored as AOA faculty member

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Reynold López-Enriquez on his recent nomination and appointment as a faculty member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Congratulations: Pablo Vivas, Ph.D.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Pablo Vivas on his three recent manuscript submissions with one article as first author. "Downregulation of the c-MYC target gene, peroxiredoxin III, contributes to Arsenic trioxide-induced apoptosis in acute promyelocytic leukemia" (first author) has been accepted for publication in International Journal of Cancer. "Dual targeting of EphA2 and FAK in ovarian carcinoma" has been accepted in Cancer Biology & Therapy and "Therapeutic targeting of ATP7B in Ovarian Carcinoma" has been accepted in Clinical Cancer Research. These manuscript submissions were all leveraged through the U54 Partnership.

Congratulations: Edna Mora, M.D., receives SPORE Minority Supplement Award

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Mora on receiving a minority supplement award on the MD Anderson Ovarian SPORE for "Novel approach to overcome resistance to anti-VEGF therapy in ovarian cancer". As a result, she will receive two years of funding on this award to work with her mentor Dr. Anil Sood (U54 IAC co-chair).

E-Blast Issue 24 - March 4, 2009

Save the Date: Clinical Trials Workshop

Please make plans to attend the 2009 UPR/MD Anderson Clinical Trial Workshop organized by the U54 Training and Biostatistics Cores. This three-day event held May 25-27, 2009, is designed to integrate biostatistics concepts with clinical and translational research knowledge and experience. For more information please contact the Administrative Core.

Congratulations/ Save the Date: Dr. David Wetter honored with division award

MD Anderson's Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences rolled out a new award this year entitled "Leading Mentor in Cancer Prevention". We are pleased to announce that Dr. David Wetter has been selected as the first recipient for his outstanding work in mentoring junior faculty and trainees. Please join us in congratulating him on this prestigious award. The Division will host a Leading Mentor in Cancer Prevention panel honoring Dr. David Wetter and featuring Drs. Etzel and Chamberlain on Friday, March 13, at 8:30 a.m., in the Cancer Prevention Building, 8th floor, Rooms 3 & 4.

Congratulations: Dr. Pablo Vivas and Nilsa Rivera selected as 2009 AACR Minority Scholars in Cancer Research

Please join us in congratulating our 2009 AACR Minority Scholars in Cancer Research Awardees, Dr. Pablo Vivas and Nilsa Rivera. Dr. Vivas and Ms. Rivera were selected based on their submitted abstracts, academic achievements and letters of recommendation. Dr. Vivas' mentor is Dr. Gabriel López-Berestein, and Ms. Rivera's mentor is Dr. Joya Chandra, associate professor, Pediatric Research.

Announcement: Sponsored research semester experience

For the 2009 Spring semester, the UPR TIAC reviewed 16 applications for research support stipends at their monthly meeting. The committee recommended 11 applications for funding.

E-Blast Issue 23 - January 12, 2009

Meeting Announcement: Nanobiology, Nanomedicine and Innovation for Biotechnology Workshop held November 19-21, 2008

As an outcome of the U54 Partnership, this meeting, will address state of the art information on nanomedicine and the use of nanosystems for diverse applications. Scientists from the various UPR campuses, MD Anderson, UTHSC and UPRCCC, among many others, will be participating. This meeting will help foster interactions and collaborations that will strenghthen the U54 Partnership. Interested parties should notify Dr. Manuel Gomez, director, Resource Center for Science and Engineering.

Call for Abstracts and Financial Assistance: 2009 AACR Conference on Cancer Health Disparities

On February 3-6, 2009, AACR will hold a conference on "The Science of Cancer Health Disparities". This event will be co-sponsored by the NCI, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and AACR Minorities in Cancer Research Council. Please see abstract submission guidelines and financial assistance guidelines for more information.

Congratulations: Dipak Banerjee, Ph.D.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Dipak Banerjee on his recent manuscript submission. "Cloning and Expression of Mannosylphospho Dolichol Synthase from Bovine Adrenal Medullary Capillary Endothelial Cells" has been accepted for publication in Glycoconjugate Journal. This manuscript is a direct result of his U54 collaboration with Drs. Sen Pathak and Mien-Chie Hung.

Announcement: Call for Proposals

On October 30, 2008, a call for proposals was sent out to investigators who submitted abstracts to the U54 for consideration. All proposals will be reviewed by the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core and the Internal Advisory Committee. Final funding decisions determined by the Internal Advisory Committee will be submitted to the PIs and presented to the Program Steering Committee.