April 14, 2011

VICC investigators shine at national conference

VICC investigators shine at national conference

Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cancer Biology, has been named to the Nominating Committee for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The announcement was made during the AACR annual meeting held earlier this month in Orlando, Fla.

Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D.

Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D.

Matrisian has served as AACR president from 2004-2005, as a member of the board of directors and as chair of the Publications Committee.

Matrisian was among dozens of VICC cancer investigators who participated in research education programs during the AACR annual meeting, presenting research posters, giving lectures or serving on panels to debate the latest findings in cancer research. Others included:

• VU graduate student Sydika McKissic was honored with a Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award during the conference, one of 50 minority investigators recognized for their valuable contributions to cancer research. McKissic is conducting her research in the laboratory of Sarki Abdulkadir, Ph.D., associate professor of Pathology and Cancer Biology. The research focuses on early stages of prostate cancer development.

“In a mouse model, we have shown that dysregulation of two specific proteins helps tumor lesions grow,” McKissic explained. “More importantly, the resulting alterations are associated with a human prostate cancer data set. Therefore, this mouse model is suitable for testing possible new drug therapies for prostate cancer.”

• Research by Xiao Ou Shu, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Medicine, and Sarah Nechuta, Ph.D., M.P.H., post-doctoral research fellow at VICC, was highlighted during the AACR press program. Shu and colleagues from other research centers in the United States and China found that breast cancer survivors who ate soy foods had no increased risk of death or breast cancer recurrence.

• Carlos Arteaga, M.D., professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology, was featured during a “Meet the Research Pioneer” session. Arteaga, director of the VICC Breast Cancer Program, also chaired and discussed the role of HER3 in mammary gland development and tumor progression in an educational session, “Promising Molecularly Targeted Combinations: From Mouse Models to Clinical Trials.”

• William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine, Cancer Biology and Pathology, was the invited chair and speaker for a session on new genomics-based targets in lung cancer. Pao is director of Personalized Cancer Medicine at VICC and specializes in treating lung cancer patients.

• Anna Marie Kenney, Ph.D., a new faculty member in the departments of Neurological Surgery and Cancer Biology, participated in a major symposium on inhibitors of the sonic hedgehog signaling pathway in cancer. She discussed how interactions between this pathway and other mitogenic signaling pathways could cooperatively drive growth and survival of pediatric brain cancer cells.

• David Gius, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Radiation Oncology and Cancer Biology, participated in a session on his research about knockout mouse models for sirtuins, a class of proteins that influence genomic integrity, metabolism and cancer.