MD Anderson Recognizes Tomorrow's Cancer Leaders

MD Anderson News Release 04/15/2014

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center this week honored 16 junior faculty members who are expected to become some of America's future cancer leaders. The faculty members are the first R. Lee Clark Fellow award winners. The new award was established to recognize outstanding work by junior faculty members and to help support their future efforts.

The program is named in honor of MD Anderson’s first full-time director and president, Dr. R. Lee Clark, who served from 1946 to 1978.

The awards are being given to three groups of MD Anderson faculty members: those with a clinical (health care focus), those with a clinical and research focus (physician-scientists), and those with a scientific focus (scientists).

A distinguished panel of experts selected the winners based on their early career accomplishments and their innovative cancer research plans. In addition to the honor, each recipient receives $100,000 to fund their research over the next one to two years.

The following is a list of all of the 2014 R. Lee Clark Fellows:

Clinical Innovator Winners

  • Courtney DiNardo, M.D., assistant professor, Leukemia
  • Steven Lin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Radiation Oncology
  • Simrit Parmar, M.D., assistant professor, Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy
  • Kathleen Schmeler, M.D., associate professor, Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine
  • Jason Westin, M.D., assistant professor, Lymphoma and Myeloma

Physician Scientist Winners

  • Lauren Byers, M.D., assistant professor, Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology
  • Don Gibbons, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology
  • Elizabeth Mittendorf, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Surgical Oncology
  • Samuel Shelburne, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Infectious Diseases

Scientist Winners

  • Jichao Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor, Pulmonary Medicine
  • Francesca Cole, Ph.D., assistant professor, Molecular Carcinogenesis
  • Michael Galko, Ph.D., associate professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Han Liang, Ph.D., assistant professor, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • Hui-Kuan Lin, Ph.D., associate professor, Molecular and Cellular Oncology
  • Li Ma, Ph.D., assistant professor, Experimental Radiation Oncology
  • Xiaobing Shi, Ph.D., assistant professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

"All of us at MD Anderson would like to congratulate and thank these outstanding individuals for their hard work and dedication to our mission to end the suffering and human loss caused by cancer," said Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., MD Anderson Provost and Executive Vice President. 

"Based on their early-career accomplishments, we have more confidence than ever before that cancer can be transformed under leaders such as these individuals from a once-tragic diagnosis to a fully treatable or even curable disease."