June 12, 2018
8 researchers join ranks of Sabin Family Fellows
BY Sarah Watson
Eight MD Anderson researchers have been selected as the newest class of Andrew Sabin Family Fellows. As part of the Andrew Sabin Family Fellowship Program, each researcher will receive $100,000 in funding over two years. The Andrew Sabin Family Foundation established the program three years ago through a $30 million endowment to encourage creativity, innovation and highly impactful cancer research in four categories: basic science, clinical, physician-scientist, and population and quantitative science.
“By generously funding up to eight fellowships each year, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation nurtures some of the best and brightest young researchers in our collective fight against cancer,” says Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “We are grateful for this ongoing support and the foundation’s role in advancing potentially lifesaving and practice-changing research.”
Andrew Sabin, a member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, advocates on a national level for increased funding for cancer research.
The 2018 awardees and their areas of focus are:
Jianjun Gao, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Genitourinary Medical Oncology: Gao is studying a combination therapy of immune checkpoint blockade and chemotherapy for MTAP-deficient metastatic bladder cancer.
Nitin Jain, M.D., assistant professor, Leukemia: Jain is examining a non-chemotherapy approach to treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Filip Janku, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Investigational Cancer Therapeutics: Janku is studying mechanisms of resistance to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors more effectively.
Pawel Mazur, Ph.D., assistant professor, Experimental Radiation Oncology: Mazur is focusing on a quantitative multiplexed platform for molecular dissection of pancreatic cancer progression and drug resistance.
Florian Muller, Ph.D., assistant professor, Cancer Systems Imaging: Muller is working to validate the hypothesis that activating T cells helps destroy certain brain tumors treated with inhibitors of the glycolytic enzyme enolase.
Jing Ning, Ph.D., associate professor, Biostatistics: Ning is using statistical methods to improve risk assessment and dynamic prediction using multiple and longitudinal biomarkers.
Liuqing Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor, Molecular and Cellular Oncology: Yang’s work is bringing long non-coding RNA targeted therapy to the forefront of triple-negative breast cancer treatment.
Jianjun Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology: Zhang is studying the molecular and immune evolution of pre-neoplastic lung lesions.
Sabin is an avid environmentalist, conservationist and wildlife enthusiast, who lives in East Hampton, New York. He is president of Sabin Metal Corporation, the largest privately owned precious metals refiner and recycler in the nation.
“These brilliant minds represent the future and embody our dream of a world free of this terrible disease,” Sabin says. “My family and I are honored to play a role in advancing MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer.”