The annual UF Health Cancer Center Research Day, which took place Nov. 16 at the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building, allowed attendees to get a glimpse into the innovative cancer research taking place across campus and was an opportunity for poster presenters to engage with new potential collaborators, which is a crucial to advancing discovery and improving patient outcomes.
The keynote speaker at this year’s event was Michael Kastan, M.D., Ph.D., the executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute; additionally, five graduate students gave three-minute thesis presentations as winners of the annual UFHCC Predoctoral Awards, which recognize and support outstanding predoctoral candidates who are conducting innovative cancer research. Research day guests also enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and live music.
Our keynote speaker was Michael Kastan, M.D., Ph.D., the executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute and William and Jane Shingleton professor of pharmacology and cancer biology. As a pediatric oncologist and a cancer biologist, Kastan conducts laboratory research concentrated on DNA damage and repair, tumor suppressor genes, and causes of cancer related to genetic predisposition and environmental exposures. His discoveries have made a major impact on our understanding of both how cancers develop and how they respond to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and his publications reporting the roles of p53 and ATM in DNA damage signaling are among the most highly cited publications in the biomedical literature of the past 25 years.
He has received numerous honors for his highly cited work, including election to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, as well as receipt of the AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to basic cancer research. He has served as chairman of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute, on the boards of directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Association of Cancer Institutes (AACI), as editor-in-chief of the journal Molecular Cancer Research, and as editor of the textbook Clinical Oncology.
Poster Presentation Winners
The UF Health Cancer Center has an excellent showing of quality poster presentations this year, and prizes were awarded to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows/associates. The following are our winners from the evening.
To view a complete list of poster abstracts and presenters, please visit our website.
Cancer Population Sciences (CPS) Research Program
Predoctoral category: Rachel Damiani, M.A.
Primary Mentor: Janice Krieger, Ph.D.
Bridging the divide between the “regular Joe” and scientists: using an identity framework to understand citizen scientists’ perceived role, motivation, and communication with scientists in cancer research
Postdoctoral category: Yi Sheng, Ph.D.
Primary Mentor: Rui Xiao, Ph.D.
An essential role of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly enzyme isu-1 in the aging and stress responses of Caenorhabditis elegans
Cancer Therapeutics & Host Response (CTHR) Research Program
Predoctoral category: Veronica Hughes, M.S.
Primary Mentor: Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D.
Choice of non-physiologic HGF concentrations in preclinical evaluations of c-Met targeting agents results in an over-estimation of c-Met inhibitor activity
Predoctoral category: Jose Varillas, B.S.
Primary Mentor: Hugh Fan, Ph.D.
Isolation, detection, and analysis of circulating tumor cells in microfluidic devices for monitoring pancreatic cancer treatment response
Postdoctoral category: Sarah Tomkovich, Ph.D.
Primary Mentor: Christian Jobin, Ph.D.
Microbial activities associated with carcinogenic biofilm-forming microbes isolated from humans
Postdoctoral category: Yu Long, Ph.D.
Primary Mentor: Jianping Huang, M.D., Ph.D.
Regulatory T cells play a key role in VEGF blockade induced tumor immunosuppression
Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO) Research Program
Predoctoral category: Julie Bray
Primary Mentor: Thomas Schmittgen, Ph.D.
Evaluation of the transcriptional repressor REST during acinar to ductal metaplasia
Postdoctoral category: Lauren Gay, Ph.D.
Primary Mentor: Rolf Renne, Ph.D.
Phenotypic characterization of endothelial cells infected with KSHV microRNA knockout viruses
UFHCC Predoctoral Awards
The UF Health Cancer Center awards up to five graduate students every year with $10,000 to recognize and support outstanding predoctoral candidates who are conducting innovative cancer research. The following are this year’s awardees:
Predoctoral Awardee: Adam Grippin, B.S.
Primary Mentor: Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D.
Predoctoral Awardee: Yue Jiang, B.S.
Primary Mentor: Fredric Kaye, M.D.
Predoctoral Awardee: Patrick Kellish, B.S.
Primary Mentor: Maria Zajac-Kaye, Ph.D.
Predoctoral Awardee: Rachel Nosacka, B.A.
Primary Mentor: Andrew Judge, Ph.D.
Predoctoral Awardee: Tyler Wildes, B.S.
Primary Mentor: Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D.