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President names Jennifer Pietenpol to National Cancer Advisory Board

Jun. 16, 2008, 11:24 AM

President George W. Bush has appointed Jennifer A. Pietenpol, director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, to the National Cancer Advisory Board. Pietenpol, the B.F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology at Vanderbilt-Ingram, will serve a six-year term through March 9, 2014. She is one of eight members named by the president and will serve on the Science committee.

The National Cancer Advisory Board advises the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on activities of the NCI, including reviewing and recommending support grants and cooperative agreements, following technical and scientific peer review.

"I am honored to be chosen by President Bush to serve on this vitally important cancer advisory board," said Pietenpol, professor of biochemistry. "This is a wonderful opportunity to help shape the nation’s cancer research policies and to bring the burden of cancer into sharp focus. We all have one job as cancer researchers – to promote the basic and translational research that will make a difference for cancer patients and their families."

Pietenpol was named director of Vanderbilt-Ingram in January, 2008. She has led the Cancer Center’s basic science and translational research programs as associate director since 2002 and is a past program leader for signal transduction and cell proliferation, one of seven research programs in the center.

"We are delighted with Jennifer Pietenpol’s appointment to this prestigious national advisory board," said Harry Jacobson, M.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s vice-chancellor for Health Affairs. "Her commitment to the highest scientific research standards and her compassion for individuals diagnosed with cancer make her a knowledgeable and dedicated advocate for advances in cancer research. We appreciate the endorsement of Jennifer Pietenpol by Former Tennessee senator Bill Frist."

Pietenpol’s research focuses on the p53-family signaling network – the most frequently targeted area for mutation in human tumors. The goals of her research are to define molecular changes that are frequent in tumor cells and to use bench-based discoveries to advance patient care.
Pietenpol has authored or co-authored more than 80 articles published in peer-reviewed scientific literature. She is a member of several review panels at the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the Komen Foundation.

Pietenpol joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1994 and was soon honored with a Burroughs Wellcome Award for her investigations in the areas of biochemistry and toxicology. From 1994-2005, Pietenpol was the co-director of the American Association for Cancer Research Course Molecular Biology in Clinical Oncology. Since 2002, she has served as the chair of the American Cancer Society Institutional Review Group. She is currently an associate editor for the journals Cancer Research and Cell Cycle and is also on the Editorial Board for several other journals, including Journal of Biological Chemistry, Breast Cancer Research, Carcinogenesis and Cancer Biology & Therapy.

"The country is extraordinarily fortunate to have Dr. Pietenpol serve on this committee," said Jeffrey Balser, M.D., associate vice-chancellor for research at VUMC. "Jennifer is a gifted leader for the team of extraordinary cancer researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and she is a dedicated advocate for the highest scientific research standards, with one goal in mind – improving the lives of cancer patients and their families."

A native of Rochester, Minn., Pietenpol received her B.A. degree in biology from Carleton College in 1986 and a Ph.D. in cell biology from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1990, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Oncology at Johns Hopkins University.

The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of two centers in Tennessee and 41 in the country to earn this highest distinction. Its nearly 300 faculty members generate more than $140 million in annual federal research funding, ranking it among the top 10 centers in the country in competitive grant support, and its clinical program sees approximately 4,000 new cancer patients each year. Vanderbilt-Ingram, based in Nashville, Tenn., recently joined with 21 of the world’s leading centers in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a non-profit alliance dedicated to improving cancer care for patients everywhere.

Media Contact: Dagny Stuart, (615)936-7245

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