Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD, has been appointed Vice Provost, Science at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she will oversee preclinical and basic science research. She will also serve as Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology, beginning both positions on June 1.
“Helen's career has been marked by continual waves of innovation and translation. Her pioneering work in cell cycle checkpoints has been translated into new therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients,” MD Anderson President Ron DePinho, MD, said in a news release. “Her powerful blend of great science and effective translation, coupled with her strategic bandwidth, make her uniquely qualified to guide our laboratory sciences into an exciting era of vibrant discovery and clinical impact.”
Piwnica-Worms, whose research identified the pathway that activates checkpoint kinase 1 (CHK1), currently heads the Washington University School of Medicine Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, and is Associate Director for Basic Science at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University.
Also moving to MD Anderson is her husband and frequent collaborator, David Piwnica-Worms, MD, PhD, who has been appointed Chair of the Department of Cancer Systems Imaging and Deputy Division Head of Research Affairs for the Division of Diagnostic Imaging.
“David is a giant in molecular imaging and has the leadership skills to bring together multi-disciplinary teams to solve important clinical problems,” DePinho said. “His passion for translating research to the clinic to help patients and MD Anderson's great culture will catalyze advances in imaging science here and throughout the field.”
Commenting on the couple's move, David Piwnica-Worms said, “On a personal level, we've had a wonderful run at WU, with wonderful colleagues and great experiences. Our move is a reflection of the challenges and excitement of a new opportunity. We're excited to get to Houston and begin building.”
Added Helen Piwnica-Worms, “For us, the important thing is who we work with, our colleagues, and the community—and contributing to a mission we are passionate about. We are most enthusiastic about our move because of that.”
Giuseppe Giaccone, MD, PhD, has joined Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Georgetown University Medical Center, as Associate Director for Clinical Research, Co-leader of the Cancer Center's Experimental Therapeutics Program, and Director of the Lung Cancer Program. He is also Director of Clinical Research for the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network. He was most recently at the NCI, as Chief of the Center for Cancer Research's Medical Oncology Branch.
Takami Sato, MD, PhD, Director of the Metastatic Uveal Melanoma Program in the Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, has been named the first K. Hasumi Professor of Medical Oncology. The endowed professorship is a gift of Kenichiro Hasumi, MD, a cancer immunotherapy specialist, and is named in honor of both him and his late father, Kiichiro Hasumi, MD, a physician-scientist who spent his career studying cancer vaccines.
“This is especially gratifying for me, as Dr. Hasumi and I share a common passion in working toward better cancer immunotherapies. His continued support will no doubt help push Jefferson's research program to even greater heights, as we work to improve the lives of patients around the world with innovative treatment approaches to metastatic uveal melanoma and other cancers,” Sato said in a news release.
Sato's research focuses on cancer immunotherapy and he is currently conducting clinical trials to test immunoembolization. He has been at Jefferson since 1991, where he is now Chair of the Board of Trustees. He began collaborating with Kenichiro Hasumi in 1997.
University Hospitals Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center has received a $7.5 million gift to support the health system's $1.5 billion Discover the Difference Campaign, and will be directed toward the UH Seidman Cancer Center's clinical trials program. The gift is earmarked for early stage clinical trials, new technology and research equipment, as well as patient education about the importance of clinical trials participation.
The gift comes from Kathleen Coleman, whose late husband, Lester E. Coleman, PhD, a scientist and the former CEO of Lubrizol Corporation, participated in a clinical trial at Seidman after being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. In honor of the donation, UH is establishing the Kathy and Les Coleman Clinical Trials Center at Seidman.
Share Your News!
Send information and photos for this column to OT@LWWNY.com