Borthakur and Sircar awarded Stein Prize
Gautam Borthakur, M.D., associate professor, Leukemia and Kanishka Sircar, M.D., associate professor, Pathology are the 2018 recipients of the Shirley Stein Scientific Endowed Research Award. This award will support their clinical research efforts on limited-resource projects. Borthakur’s research focuses on translational and clinical development of drugs targeting newer epigenetic targets that include BRD4, LSD1, PRMT5, etc. in acute leukemias and myelodysplastic syndrome. He has developed translational rationale for clinical development of BRD4 proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC) in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and T acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). He has shown that BRD4 PROTAC leads to profound epigenetic downregulation of NOTCH1/MYC axis that is dysregulated frequently in T-ALL, including through mutations in NOTCH1 in 70% of patients with T-ALL, and this strategy particularly targets the leukemia initiating cell in T-ALL. His next step is to advance these concepts to the clinic.
Sircar’s research focuses on genitourinary disease, including collaborating with physicians and scientists to focus on risk categorization for kidney tumors, with an aim to develop molecular diagnostic assays that can provide risk assessment despite mixed pathologic appearance. His team is refining a molecular diagnostic signature for high risk sarcomatoid renal cancers that show elevated TGF-beta molecular signaling and for low risk renal oncocytic neoplasms that would improve the diagnostic distinction between chromophobe renal cancer, requiring surgery, and benign oncocytoma, requiring monitoring, at the time of needle biopsy in order to reduce unnecessary surgical interventions.
About the award: BOV member Gary Stein, president of Triple-S Steel, and his family, along with longtime friend Regina Rogers, a long-serving Board of Visitors member, established this award through a $600,000 endowment in memory of Stein’s mother, Shirley Stein, who died in 2013. The endowment supports two cash awards each year to recognize exceptional clinical research performed by faculty members with limited project resources.
Two faculty members from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences were recently awarded The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA) for 2018. This honor is among the most competitive in the nation and one of the largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education. The award recognizes faculty members at UT System institutions who have demonstrated dedication to innovation and advancing excellence.
Graduate School faculty members receiving this distinction are:
Russell Broaddus M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Pathology at MD Anderson and is affiliated with the GSBS Genetics and Epigenetics and M.D./Ph.D. programs. He has been a GSBS faculty member since 2001.
Broaddus is a GSBS alumnus who graduated with a M.D., Ph.D. in 1994. His advisor was Gilbert Castro, Ph.D. He was awarded the John P. McGovern Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2006 and 2016.
His research focuses on the study of the molecular pathogenesis of endometrial cancer, the most common gynecological cancer in women. Current projects in the lab are examining the molecular differences between aggressive and non-invasive endometrial cancers, gene methylation patterns in endometrial cancer, and the characterization of novel genes important in endometrial cancer.
Pierre McCrea, Ph.D., a professor in Department of Genetics at MD Anderson Cancer Center, is affiliated with the GSBS Programs in Genetics and Epigenetics and Neuroscience 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.
He is a member of several organizations including The University of Texas Academy of Health Sciences Educators (2009-present); Tissue Culture Association of America, Texas Branch (1988-present); and the American Association for Cancer Research (1985-present).
McCrea has won many awards including the Paul E. Darlington Mentor Award for GSBS Faculty (2017), the William Randolph Hearst Foundations Faculty Achievement Award in Education (2006), Kleberg Foundation Award (1996-1998) and the GSBS Dean's Excellence Award (1998). He also served as GSBS faculty president from 2004-2005.
Established in 2008, the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards recognize faculty members at the nine academic and six health institutions in The University of Texas System who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in instruction.
Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards include a $25,000 monetary award and underscore the Regents' commitment to ensuring the UT System is a place of intellectual exploration and discovery, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity.
Aysegul Sahin, M.D., awarded prestigious Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and William Randolph Hearst Foundation Faculty Achievement Award in Education
For her longstanding commitment to education, the University of Texas System has awarded Sahin the Board of Regents’ highest honor and a monetary award of $25,000. She was also chosen to receive the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Faculty Achievement Award in Education.
The Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award was established in 2008 by the Board of Regents to underscore a commitment to ensure the UT System is a place of intellectual exploration and discovery, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity. Given the depth and breadth of talent across the UT System, the awards program is likewise one of the nation’s most competitive.
CPRIT awards William Frasier Symmans, M.D., grant funding for triple negative breast cancer research
William Frasier Symmans, professor of Pathology, is awarded a multi-million dollar grant by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) for the project, “A Randomized Clinical Trial Platform with Translational Studies to Overcome Resistance in Triple Negative Breast Cancer.”
Book Announcement: Applied Immunohistochemistry in the Evaluations of Skin Neoplasms, edited by Victor G. Prieto, MD., Ph.D., and Jose A. Plaza, M.D.
This book provides a comprehensive, state-of-the-art account of the role of immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of skin tumors, which is crucial given that overlapping histologic features and unusual morphologic changes can lead to considerable diagnostic uncertainty. The book reviews in detail the sensitivity and specificity of commonly available antibodies and their pattern of immunostaining. Applied Immunohistochemistry in the Evaluation of Skin Neoplasms will serve as an extremely valuable resource for practicing dermatopathologists and pathologists.