July 23, 1999

Ten named Ingram Cancer Research Professors

Ten named Ingram Cancer Research Professors


Some of the newly named Ingram Professors of Cancer Research gathered with Orrin Ingram (back row, center) at a recent event to celebrate the launch of the fund-raising campaign for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. They are (front row, left to right) Dr. Robert Roberts, Earl Ruley, Ph.D., Graham Carpenter, Ph.D., (back row, left to right) Dr. Robert Coffey, Dr. Carlos Arteaga, Ingram, Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., and Dr. Mace Rothenberg. (photo by Tommy Lawson)

Eight current faculty members and two newly recruited faculty have been awarded the first Ingram Cancer Research Professorships, made possible by an ongoing fund-raising campaign for the E. Bronson Ingram Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University.

The $100 million Imagine a World Without Cancer Campaign, led by Cancer Center Board of Overseers Chairman Orrin H. Ingram, is designed to help implement a strategic plan to place Vanderbilt among the very leading cancer centers in the country. The ultimate goal of this plan is to prevent as many cancers as possible and cure those that cannot be prevented with more targeted, less toxic therapies than ever before.

At the heart of the strategic plan are people – the retention and recruitment of top talent in cancer research, education, prevention and clinical care. Creation of these professorships, endowed at $1 million-$2 million, is a key component in achieving that objective.

"Our success is and will be based on having the brightest and hardest-working scientists and clinicians who are willing to work together," said Dr. Harold L. Moses, director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) and Benjamin F. Byrd Professor of Oncology.

"We must continue to recruit and to retain the best in the world. The competition for these individuals is intense. These endowed professorships are designed to give us a competitive advantage in attracting those individuals to Vanderbilt and keeping them here."

The campaign kicked off earlier this year with the announcement of the nucleus gift, a $56 million investment from the Ingram Charitable Fund, established by the family of the late businessman, philanthropist and Vanderbilt Board of Trust president E. Bronson Ingram, who died of cancer in 1995. In honor of Bronson Ingram's and his family's longstanding support of Vanderbilt and its programs, the Cancer Center was formally renamed in his honor in April.

The Ingram Cancer Research Professorships are awarded for a period of five years and are renewable based on outstanding performance by the investigator. The funds cannot be used to pay the investigator's salary.

"The income from the endowments provides discretionary funding for the faculty member's laboratory to allow innovative, cutting-edge research that cannot be easily funded through research grants," Moses said. "This innovative research, in turn, will place them in a more competitive position for additional grant support."

The following current faculty members have been named Ingram Professors of Cancer Research:

Dr. Carlos L. Arteaga, professor of Medicine and Cell Biology;

Dr. David P. Carbone, professor of Medicine and Cell Biology;

Graham Carpenter, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry and Medicine;

Dr. Robert J. Coffey Jr., professor of Medicine and Cell Biology;

Lynn M. Matrisian, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of Cell Biology;

Dr. J. Robert Roberts, assistant professor of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery;

Dr. Mace L. Rothenberg, associate professor of Medicine;

Earl Ruley, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology and Immunology;

In addition, two newly recruited Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center faculty members have been named Ingram Professors of Cancer Research: Dr. Friedrich Schuening, who will direct Vanderbilt's Bone Marrow Transplant Program beginning Aug. 1; and Andrew Link, Ph.D., who will join the faculty in October as assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology.

Schuening comes to Vanderbilt as professor of Medicine from the University of Wisconsin, where he was professor of Medicine and head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Division since 1995.

Link, a scientist with Millennium Predictive Medicine, Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., since 1998, was previously a senior research fellow in the department of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The Cancer Center plan calls for additional recruitment of faculty in promising areas of cancer research, including vascular biology, functional genomics, signal transduction, prevention research and investigation of new agents and new combinations of therapies.

The Ingrams' gift builds upon an established base of support that accelerated the growth of Cancer Center in its initial years of development, Moses said. This early support included a $6 million Ingram Charitable Fund investment to support faculty recruitment, establishment of the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories of the T.J. Martell Foundation, and continued support by the Joyce Family Foundation and the families of the late A.B. Hancock Jr., former Cancer Center board chairman Dr. Benjamin F. Byrd, and others.

The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center achieved designation as a national leader in research, patient care and prevention by the National Cancer Institute in 1995, only two years after its establishment. It is one of a select few NCI-designated centers in the southeast and the only one in Tennessee dedicated to research and treatment in all types of cancer in adults and children.

Orrin Ingram, 38, has said that ensuring the Cancer Center has the financial resources to recruit and retain top scientists and physicians, and to equip them well to carry out their work, is his way of getting "revenge" against cancer, which claimed both his father and his grandmother.

"If my father had died when I was 12 or 13, I probably would have become a scientist so I could try to find a cure," said Ingram, president and CEO of Ingram Industries. "Unfortunately, that wasn't possible for me, so now all I can do is help enable the Cancer Center's team to do the things I wasn't able to do."