Eight MD Anderson researchers have been named 2017 Andrew Sabin Family Fellows. The Andrew Sabin Family Fellowship Program provides $100,000 in funding per fellow over two years through a $30 million endowed gift to encourage research creativity, independent thinking and high-impact cancer research.
“It’s been exciting to observe last year’s inaugural eight fellows as their research has progressed during the first year of the program, and we’re equally impressed with the 2017 class,” said Sabin, who has served on the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors since 2005. “The program now nurtures 16 brilliant minds focused on finding an end to this terrible disease. My family looks forward to seeing their impact grow exponentially over the coming year. We’re proud to know our gift already is making a difference for people suffering from cancer.”
The awardees and their areas of focus are:
- Margarida Albuquerque Almeida Santos, Ph.D., assistant professor, Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis: the role of DNA repair factors, or genome guardians, in promoting tumors
- Swathi Arur, Ph.D., associate professor, Genetics: interplay of RAS signaling and small RNA biogenesis enzymes in promoting tumor progression and metastasis
- Boyi Gan, Ph.D., assistant professor, Experimental Radiation Oncology: the role of energy sensing and metabolism in cancer
- Clifton Fuller, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Radiation Oncology: developing and implementing “Big Data” approaches to imaging methodologies to treat head and neck cancers more effectively
- Chad Huff, Ph.D., assistant professor, Epidemiology: understanding human evolution and the genetic basis of disease through statistical, computational and population genomics
- Eugene Koay, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Radiation Oncology: developing and validating a method using CT scans to measure response in pancreatic cancer patients
- Andrew Rhim, M.D., assistant professor, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition: how precancerous pancreatic lesions transform into cancer and how tumors become resistant to therapy through mutations
- Jennifer Wargo, M.D., MMSc, associate professor, Surgical Oncology and Genomic Medicine: delineating the role of the gut microbiome in modulating responses to cancer immunotherapy
The Andrew Sabin Family Fellowship program awards up to eight cancer research fellowships annually to support research that pushes the envelope in four categories: basic science, clinical, physician-scientist and population and quantitative science. The funding over two years frees young researchers to pursue potentially practice-changing science rather than spend the bulk of their time writing grants.
Sabin is president of Sabin Metal Corporation, the largest privately owned precious metals refiner and recycler in the country. An avid environmentalist, conservationist and wildlife enthusiast, he devotes much of his time and energy to advocating on a national level for increased cancer research funding.