Alejandro Contreras and Yun Wu receive Shirley Stein Scientific Endowed Research Award

Award marks inaugural prizes granted through Stein family endowment

MD Anderson News Release 02/26/2015

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has awarded Alejandro Contreras, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Pathology, and Yun Wu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Pathology, the inaugural Shirley Stein Scientific Endowed Research Award.  Each of the clinicians will receive a $12,000 cash prize through a $600,000 endowment made by Gary Stein, the Stein family and Regina Rogers. Stein and Rogers are members of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (BOV). The awards will fund:

  • Contreras’ research on dual imaging of HER2 by immunofluorescence and mRNA in situ hybridization in invasive breast carcinomas  
  • Wu’s research on the effect of immune responses to neoadjuvant systemic therapy in triple-negative and HER2+ breast cancer

Regina Rogers, Yun Wu, M.D., Ph.D., 
Alejandro Contreras, M.D., Ph.D., and Gary Stein

Contreras joined MD Anderson in 2014. His research focuses on identifying genetic alterations believed to contribute to the development of more aggressive forms of breast cancer. Contreras has authored nearly two dozen peer-reviewed research articles.  

“Thank you to the Stein family and Ms. Rogers,” said Contreras. “In these times when government funding is decreasing, it’s great to have families who are so philanthropic. They allow us to continue to do the research we believe is so important.”

Wu, whose research focuses on identifying molecular biomarkers for breast cancer prognosis and targeted therapy, has served on MD Anderson’s faculty for more than 10 years. She has authored more than 100 research articles, abstracts and book chapters.

“Receiving this award is overwhelming,” said Wu. “I’m very grateful to this committee that selected us and to the Stein family as well as Ms. Rogers for supporting our research.”

Making Cancer History®

Gary Stein, a BOV member and president of Houston-based Triple-S Steel, alongside his father Bruce, brothers Bradley and David and their families, and longtime friend Regina Rogers, a long-serving member of the BOV, established the Shirley Stein Scientific Research Award with a $600,000 endowment in memory of Gary’s mother, Shirley Stein, who died in October 2013. Dr. Gene Landon, assistant professor of Pathology at MD Anderson, inspired the award by shedding light on the need to fund smaller research projects. Funds from the endowment will support two cash awards each year to recognize exceptional clinical research performed by faculty members with limited project resources.

“Our family, my mother in particular, has always had a special fondness for MD Anderson,” said Stein. “She was the driving inspiration in our family and this is one small way we honor her memory.”