Neal G. Copeland, Ph.D. and Nancy A. Jenkins, Ph.D. have been elected to the 2022 class of Fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy. The husband-and-wife geneticists, who co-led a joint laboratory for nearly 40 years, are recognized for their contributions to cancer genetics and for innovations to create mouse models of cancer and a variety of other human diseases.
The mission of the AACR Academy is to honor distinguished scientists whose contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer.
Georgios Karras, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Genetics, received the 2021 Kleberg Innovator Award from The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation and MD Anderson.
The Kleberg Innovator Award is designed to provide seed funding for high-risk, high-reward research projects put forward by MD Anderson’s rising stars.
Malcom Moses, graduate student in the Behringer lab, received a F31 award entitled "Gene Regulatory Networks for Mullerian Duct Regression."
Nicholas Navin, Ph.D., has been appointed to the 2021 Grady F. Saunders, Ph.D. Distinguished Professorship for Molecular Biology.
The Grady F. Saunders, Ph.D. Distinguished Professorship for Molecular Biology was established in 2007 by Dr. Priscilla Saunders in memory of her husband, Dr. Grady Saunders, who passed away in 2005. Both spouses retired from MD Anderson.
Darlan Conterno Minussi, graduate student in Dr. Nicholas Navin’s Lab, awarded the 2021-2022 Schissler Foundation Fellowship.
The Schissler Foundation Fellowship fosters collaboration with the emphasis on basic science projects with the greatest likelihood of translational application to human health. This prestigious awards gives significant help to research studies that will seek to make major contributions to the therapies and cures of common human disease through genetics.
Hanghui Ye, graduate student in Dr. Nicholas Navin’s Lab, awarded the 2021-2022 Andrew Sowell-Wade Huggins Fellowship in Cancer Research.
This award is given in recognition of excellence in a faculty-student team. In particular, it recognizes the student's accomplishments and promise as a scientist; and at the same time allows us to recognize and honor a faculty member who has made singular contributions to both MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and cancer research.
Nicholas E. Navin, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Genetics, received the 2021 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research for his seminal contributions to the understanding of genome evolution and intratumor heterogeneity in breast cancer and for his invention of single-cell DNA sequencing, which has impacted many diverse fields of biology and biomedicine and has directly contributed to the establishment of the single cell genomics field.
The AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research was established by the AACR to recognize an early-career investigator for meritorious achievements in basic cancer research.
Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano, Ph.D., Chair of Genetics, has been elected to the 2021 class of Fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy in recognition of her pioneering work to describe the p53 tumor suppressor pathway, which is undermined in many cancers.
The mission of the AACR Academy is to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. This year’s class of 25 inductees joins 231 existing fellows in working collectively to advance the mission of the AACR.
Brant Gracia, Ph.D. receives prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32, NCI) that supports research training of highly promising postdoctoral candidates who have the potential to become productive, independent investigators in scientific health-related research fields relevant to the missions of the participating NIH Institutes and Centers.
Dr. Gracia was selected (2021-2024) for his project "Investigating the role of HSP90 in shaping the consequences of BRCA1 mutations". His study is supported by a K22 NCI career development award to his mentor, Dr. Georgios Karras, Ph.D.
Jovanka Gencel-Augusto and Yiyun Lin, PhD students in the Lozano lab and Navin lab, have been awarded the 2021 Dr. John J Kopchick FellowshipThe mission of the AACR Academy is to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. This year’s class of 25 inductees joins 231 existing fellows in working collectively to advance the mission of the AACR.
The Dr. John J. Kopchick Fellowships are awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional character, extracurricular leadership, research excellence and scholarly merit. Each fellowship provides support for the student and for their research and training.
Swathi Arur, Ph.D. and Nicholas Navin, Ph.D. have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of their achievements in advancing cancer research.
AAAS Fellows are elected by their peers, a tradition that began in 1874, in honor of their invaluable contributions to science and technology. The 489 newly elected AAAS Fellows were chosen this year due to their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The honor recognizes diverse accomplishments, including pioneering research, leading within a given field, teaching and mentoring, fostering collaborations and advancing public understanding of science.
Swathi Arur, Ph.D., associate professor of Genetics, for discovery of Dicer1 phosphorylation by RAS/ERK signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans and implications for human fertility and cancer metastasis.
Nicholas Navin, Ph.D., associate professor of Genetics, for seminal contributions to understanding clonal evolution in breast cancer, and for inventing the first single-cell DNA sequencing methods, establishing the field of single cell genomics.
Congratulations to these graduate students for their outstanding presentations and posters at the 2021 Genetics and Epigenetics Graduate Program Annual Retreat!
Han Bit Baek first place and People’s Choice, Pre-Candidacy/Postdoc Oral Presentation Competition (Mentor: Dr. Swathi Arur) “The role of RAS signaling in morphogenesis”,
Jace Aloway second place, Pre-Candidacy/Postdoc Oral Presentation Competition at the (Mentor: Dr. Richard Behringer) “The role of Noggin in Müllerian duct regression”
Anna Miao, second place, Pre-Candidacy/MS Poster competition (Mentors: Drs. Michelle Barton &Gigi Lozano), “TRIM24 promotes breast cancer progression through rewiring metabolic pathways”
Jacob Ortega, second place, Post-Candidacy/Postdoc Poster competition (Mentor: Dr. Swathi Arur), “A piRNA pathway gene regulates spermatogenic meiosis in Caenorhabditis elegans”
Erin Atkinson third place, Post-Candidacy/Postdoc Poster competition (Mentor: Dr. Bin Wang), “NPSD4: A new player in the DNA damage response”
George Eisenhoffer awarded the MD Anderson President's Recognition of Faculty Excellence.
Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president, awarded Dr. Eissenhoffer for his excellence in research.
Yuehui Zhao, Ph.D., receives prestigious Odyssey postdoctoral fellowship that sponsors outstanding postdoctoral fellows who wish to pursue innovative cancer research at MD Anderson.
Dr. Zhao was selected (2021-2024) for his project, “Delineating the tumor clonal evolution of therapeutic resistance and identifying clinical biomarkers in metastatic prostate cancer using single-cell sequencing and liquid biopsy genomics.” His study is supported by the Theodore N. Law Scientific Achievement Fund and his mentor is Nick Navin, Ph.D.
Jacob Ortega, graduate student in Arur Lab, awarded the 2020 Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study for three years.
The goal of The Gilliam Fellowship program is to increase the diversity among scientists who are prepared to assume leadership roles in science. The program provides awards to pairs of students and advisers who are selected for their scientific leadership and commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the sciences.
Rhiannon Morrissey, graduate student in the Lozano lab, received a F31 award entitled “Cooperating Mutations Contributing to Disease Progression in Mutant p53-Driven Breast Cancer”.
Safia Essien (Eisenhoffer lab) and Jovanka Gencel-Augusto (Lozano lab) are recognized as 2020 Tzu Chi Scholars.
Tzu Chi Scholarship Award for Excellence is funded by the Tzu Chi Foundation to recognize and assist outstanding graduate students. Tzu Chi Scholars are selected on basis of both academic achievement and community involvement.
Safia Essien, graduate student in the Eisenhoffer Lab, awarded the 2020-2021 American Legion Auxiliary Fellowship in Cancer Research.
This award, established in 1971, supports students early in their graduate training whose research is related to the understanding and treatment of cancer.
Guillermina Lozano elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Lozano is being recognized as a pioneer in describing the p53 pathway, a recognized tumor suppressor gene associated with cancer. “Guillermina's pioneering work in genetics has paved the way for innovative research at MD Anderson and at cancer centers around the world,” said President Peter WT Pisters, M.D. “We are proud to count her among our most distinguished faculty, and we are excited to see her recognized by our peers for her transformative work in outlining the p53 pathway.”
Runmin Wei, Ph.D., awarded the Damon Runyon Quantitative Biology Fellowship Award
Quantitative fellows with an interest in the intersection between computational biology, data science and cancer research are selected for this prestigious, four-year award. The recipients are outstanding postdoctoral scientists conducting cancer research in the laboratories of leading senior investigators across the country. The Fellowship encourages the nation's most promising young scientists to pursue careers in cancer research by providing them with independent funding to work on creative high-risk projects. Dr. Wei's mentors for this fellowship are Nick Navin, Ph.D., and Ken Chen, Ph.D.
Yuehui Zhao, Ph.D., awarded The CPRIT (Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas) Program’s TRIUMPH (Translational Research in Multi-Disciplinary Program) Postdoctoral Fellowship
The CPRIT TRIUMPH fellowship is awarded to exceptional postdoctoral fellows at MD Anderson. The goals of this postdoctoral program are to expand the existing perspective of the fellow by strengthening their knowledge of cancer prevention research and current disciplines and to provide them with rigorous preparation in novel quantitative methods, appropriate to the proposed cancer prevention research. Dr. Zhao is mentored by Nick Navin, Ph.D.
Recipients of the Dodie P. Hawn Award in Genetics for 2020 are Debabrata Das, Ph.D., Youmna Atieh, Ph.D., and Kaile Wang, Ph.D.
The Dodie P. Hawn Fellowship is an endowment gifted to UT MD Anderson Cancer Center from the Earl C. Sams Foundation for the cancer genetics research program. Dorothy (“Dodie”) Hawn was an active civic leader and president of the foundation for over 15 years. The annual Dodie P. Hawn Award in Genetics is for postdoctoral fellows who demonstrate outstanding promise as contributors and innovators in research. Dr. Das is mentored by Swathi Arur, Ph.D., Dr. Atieh is mentored by George Eisenhoffer, Ph.D., and Dr. Wang is mentored by Nick Navin, Ph.D.
Georgios Karras, Ph.D., receives prestigious K22 NCI Career Development Award.
The goals of this program are to facilitate the transition of investigators to their first tenure-track faculty cancer research position and to support their independent, productive research careers.
Debabrata Das, Ph.D., receives prestigious Odyssey postdoctoral fellowship that sponsors outstanding postdoctoral fellows who wish to pursue innovative cancer research at MD Anderson.
Dr. Das was selected (2020-2023) for his project, “KRAS/ERK-mediated regulation of RbAp46 and the epigenome.” His study is supported by the Kimberly-Clark Foundation and his mentor is Swathi Arur, Ph.D.
Guillermina Lozano awarded the Jack and Beverly Randall Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research
This award recognizes exceptional faculty members for their innovations in cancer research.
Nicholas Navin awarded the MD Anderson President’s Award for Research Excellence
Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president, awarded Dr. Navin for his excellence in research.
Ralf Krahe awarded the MD Anderson President’s Award for Education and Mentorship Advancement
Ralf Krahe awarded the MD Anderson President’s Award for Education and Mentorship Advancement.
Michael Galko Ph.D. recognized for his outstanding career in the Graduate School of Biomedical Science.
George Eisenhoffer received the Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Bone Research Award.
The Bone Disease Program of Texas Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Research Award provides funding for promising laboratory, pre-clinical, clinical or translational studies involving bone disease. Congratulations George!
Richard Behringer awarded the D. Dudley and Judy White Oldham Faculty Award
The D. Dudley and Judy White Oldham Faculty award recognizes exceptional faculty members who consistently demonstrate excellence in service and leadership at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS).
Michael Galko, Ph.D., received the Thomas Stull Matney, Ph.D., Endowed Professorship in Cancer Genetics from the MD Anderson UT Health Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Michael Galko Ph.D. recognized for his outstanding career in the Graduate School of Biomedical Science!
Joy McDaniel, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Lozano lab, received a F32 award entitled "Mechanisms by which mutant p53 drives metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer".
Swathi Arur has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Genetics Society of America (GSA), January 2019
Swathi Arur, Ph.D. investigates the role of environmental cues and maternal nutrition in regulating oogenesis and oocyte to embryo transition in the transparent worm, Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetic research with C. elegans has informed many fields of biology, including cancer biology, via discovery of fundamental processes such as apoptosis, and siRNA and miRNA biogenesis. As GSA board of director Dr. Arur will provide strong advocacy for cross model organism collaborative research initiatives in order to understand fundamental processes of normal organismal development. Dr. Arur is passionate about Initiatives that foster increased engagement of trainees in fundamental genetic research.
GSA is the professional membership organization for scientific researchers and educators in the field of genetics dedicated to promoting research in genetics, facilitating communication among geneticists worldwide and provide advocacy to government leaders. GSA has more than 5500 individual members including over 20 Nobel Laureates.
Youma Atieh, Ph.D., receives prestigious Odyssey postdoctoral fellowship that sponsors outstanding postdoctoral fellows who wish to pursue innovative cancer research at MD Anderson.
Dr. Atieh was selected (2018-2021) for her project, “The Role of Basal Cell Extrusion in Cancer Metastasis.” Her study is supported by the Houston Endowment Inc. for Scientific Achievement and her mentor is George Eisenhoffer, Ph.D.
Pierre McCrea awarded The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA) for 2018
Pierre McCrea, Ph.D., one of 27 faculty members from UT’s 14 academic and health institutions, has been named a recipient of the 2018 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Nominees undergo a series of rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty and external reviewers. Dr. McCrea has left his mark on The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), serving as major advisor to 15 Ph.D. graduates and 3 M.S. graduates and as a member of 212 student advisory committees – a record for the graduate school! He’s a founding member of the Graduate Education Committee and has served as a lecturer in a dozen GSBS courses. He served as director and co-director of their Genes and Development program for 3 years, and will serve another 2-year term as director beginning this fall. His students praise his mentorship and teaching process, and he works with other faculty members to improve their mentoring skills.
Nicholas Navin, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Genetics, honored with the 2018 Dallas Forth Worth Living Legend Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Research
Navin was selected for this prestigious award for his exemplary research work in MD Anderson Cancer Center’s mission areas.
Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano awarded the President's Leadership Award for Advancing Women and Minority Faculty
Lozano was recognized for her contributions that made a significant impact on the career advancement of MD Anderson women and minority faculty.
Michael Galko awarded the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Maximizing Investigator's Research Award (MIRA) R35 grant in the area of basic biomedical research
The prestigious NIGMS R35 MIRA mechanism is intended to provide long-term stable support to accomplished investigators with outstanding records of research productivity who propose to pursue creative and risky new avenues of research. The mechanism allows investigators the opportunity to take greater risks, be more adventurous in their lines of inquiry, and take the time to develop new techniques. Dr. Galko’s MIRA-funded research will explore basic mechanisms of skin wound closure and inflammation, topics that are of direct importance to cancer biology.
Richard Behringer and Jan Parker-Thornburg recipients of the 2017 Ming K. Jeang Award
Behringer and Parker-Thornburg were recognized for their outstanding research articles published in Cell and Bioscience.
Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano awarded the Charles A. LeMaistre Outstanding Achievement Award in Cancer
Lozano received the LeMaistre Award in recognition of her far-reaching contributions to markedly enhance the reputation of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Swathi Arur winner of the MD Anderson Distinguished Research Faculty Mentoring Award
Arur, nominated by faculty, is the recipient of this prestigious award recognizing her dedication to mentoring.
Pierre McCrea named 2017 Darlington mentor award winner
McCrea, the recipient of the 2017 Paul E. Darlington Mentor Award for GSBS Faculty, is affiliated with the GSBS Program in Genetics and Epigenetics and has been a GSBS faculty member since 1993. His research seeks to reveal the biology of varied catenin proteins in primary cell/ cell line settings. His lab’s long-range purpose is to understand how the roles of catenins are networked in normal development and disease states such as cancer.
Swathi Arur selected as a Sabin Fellow
Arur one of MD Anderson’s brightest young researchers, was selected as a member of the second annual class of Andrew Sabin Family Fellows, a prestigious program established through the generosity of MD Anderson Board of Visitors member Andrew Sabin. The program encourages ingenuity, creativity, independent thinking and high-risk, high-impact research. Arur’s genetics research focuses on the interplay of RAS signaling and small RNA biogenesis enzymes in promoting tumor progression and metastasis.
Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano elected to National Academy of Sciences
Lozano has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for her pioneering work in describing the p53 pathway, a recognized tumor suppressor gene associated with cancer. Lozano was the first to establish p53 as a transcriptional activator of other genes. She also showed that common p53 mutants fail to launch transcription, and discovered other proteins, Mdm2 and Mdm4, which play critical roles in inhibiting p53 activity in development and cancer. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.
Nicholas Navin receives the Jack and Beveraly Randall Prize for Excellence in Cancer Treatment
The Jack and Beverly Randall Endowment honors Dr. Navin's innovative cancer research! He was honored with this award at the President’s Recognition for Faculty Excellence event.
Ruli Gao postdoctoral fellow, wins 2016 Outstanding Research Publication Award
She is one of three selected for her outstanding publication: “Punctuated copy number evolution and clonal stasis in triple-negative breast cancer” Nature Genetics, Volume 48, Number 10, October 2016. She is receiving this recognition for her contribution to scientific literature in cancer research at MD Anderson. She is in Dr. Nicholas Navin’s lab.
Oscar Ruiz receives first place in the 2016 Nikon Small World Photo Competition
Ruiz brings the world face-to-face with his research on facial development and cellular morphogenesis with his winning image of a four-day-old zebrafish embryo. Ruiz uses the zebrafish to study genetic mutations that lead to facial abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate in humans in the lab of George Eisenhoffer, Ph.D. Click here to read more and see this award winning photo.
Nicholas Navin among first recipients of the prestigious Sabin Fellows program
Beginning this year, the Andrew Sabin Family Fellowship Program funded up to eight two-year research fellowships. The program encourages creative, independent thinking and high-risk, high-impact research. Fellowships will be giving deserving early-career researchers at MD Anderson the means to strive toward their collective goal to end cancer. Navin aims to use single cell sequencing technologies to investigate tumor evolution in breast cancer patients and understand how they evolve resistance to chemotherapy. These studies are expected to lead to new diagnostic modalities and therapeutic targets to improve treatment and outcomes for breast cancer patients.
Michael Galko named Faculty Educator of the Month: January 2016
The Faculty Educator of the Month Recognition features outstanding MD Anderson faculty educators who demonstrate excellence and innovative practice in education.
Nicholas Navin wins notable AAAS Martin & Rose Wachtel Cancer Research Award
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Wachtel Award is an annual award that honors early career investigators performing outstanding work in cancer research. Winners receive a cash prize, deliver a public lecture on their research and have their award entry essay published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Navin was selected for his research on single-cell DNA analysis. He will present his work at the National Institutes of Health on July 31, 2015.