November 10, 2014
MD Anderson leaders elected to Institute of Medicine
BY Ron Gilmore
Two leaders at MD Anderson Cancer Center have been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies in recognition of their contributions to medical science and health care.
Guillermina Lozano, Ph.D., chair of Genetics, and David Piwnica-Worms, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Cancer Systems Imaging, were elected by members of the elite institution in October.
“Membership in the Institute of Medicine is powerful recognition by outstanding peers of the impact Dr. Lozano and Dr. Piwnica-Worms have had as researchers and leaders in advancing our understanding and treatment of cancer,” said Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., provost and executive vice president at MD Anderson.
“Their election demonstrates the remarkable achievements of Guillermina Lozano, a recognized leader in the field of cancer genetics and David Piwnica-Worms, an exceptional scientist who excels at translating molecular research to the clinic, where it directly helps our patients,” Dmitrovsky added.
Lozano, a leader in deciphering the physiological relevance of the p53 tumor suppressor pathway, discovered the importance of p53 inhibitors, Mdm2 and Mdm4, in development and tumorigenesis. She illuminated cell cycle arrest and senescence as wild-type p53 tumor suppressive mechanisms, and defined mutant forms of p53 activities in tumorigenesis.
Piwnica-Worms was a founder of the field of molecular imaging. He pioneered strategies with genetically encoded luminescent reporters, PET reporters and activatable peptides to enable visualization of cell biology, signaling pathways, protein processing and drug action within cells and living animals in vivo, as well as translating these into the clinic.
With the addition of Lozano and Piwnica-Worms, MD Anderson has nine IOM members: Waun Ki Hong, M.D., professor in Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology; Helen Piwnica-Worms, Ph.D., vice provost for science; President Ronald DePinho, M.D.; John Mendelsohn, M.D., former president and director of the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy; Ellen Gritz, Ph.D., chair of Behavioral Science; James Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology; and Lynda Chin, M.D., chair of Genomic Medicine and scientific director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science.
Established in 1970, the IOM also serves an important advisory role, with panels of members volunteering to study important issues in medical science, health care and public health. IOM projects during the past year include studies of the benefits of including physical activity in the school environment, direct health outcomes of sodium intake, regional variations in Medicare spending, child abuse and neglect in the U.S., improved delivery of cancer care, the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the U.S., post-deployment needs of Iraq and Afghanistan service members, gun violence research priorities and the problem of illegitimate and substandard medications.