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Conquest - CRF Provides Essential Support for Young Faculty

Making the Connection Update 2009-2010

CRF Provides Essential Support for Young Faculty

Date: May 1, 2010

Young up and coming investigators and clinicians represent the future of cancer research and treatment.  Without them, discovery stagnates and progress ends. For those just starting out, competing for grants against established researchers is difficult. Seed funding from the CRF has been vital to the early research of many young investigators at the Kimmel Cancer Center.  

  • Victor Velculescu, M.D., Ph.D., who was part of the team to become the first to map the cancer genomes of colon, breast, brain, and pancreatic cancers.  He is now co-director of the Cancer Biology Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center.
  • Elizabeth Platz, Sc.D., established a connection between low cholesterol and controlling prostate cancer.  She is now co-director of the Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control programs.
  • Michael Carducci, M.D., Ph.D., who has developed multiple clinical trials of new drugs to treat prostate cancer, is co-director of the Prostate and Genitourinary Program and the Chemical Therapeutics Program.
  • James Herman, M.D., worked with veteran researcher Stephen Baylin, M.D., to pioneer the field of epigenetics.
  • William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., who discovered the most common gene alteration in prostate cancer and developed a biomarker test that detects precancerous lesions in the prostate, is now director of the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Getting their start with the help of the CRF, these talented scientists have gone on to earn millions of dollars in research funding from other sources.

The research of these more recent additions to our faculty holds the same promise:

Nilofer Azad, M.D.,
(2009 and 2010) was recruited to develop a translational program for colorectal cancer, taking the landmark research discoveries made at the Kimmel Cancer Center to patients. She is developing a Phase I/II drug program to test new therapies for colon and other gastrointestinal cancers.

Hans Hammers, M.D., Ph.D., (2010), is deciphering the factors associated with antiangiogenesis treatment,  promising therapies that stall cancers by cutting off the blood supply to tumors.  He is developing several clinical trials for prostate and kidney cancers.

Josh Lauring, M.D., Ph.D., (2009) is researching the molecular genetics of breast cancer to identify and validate novel targets for therapy. One focus is cancer growth-promoting genes, which he believes may lead to successful therapies in breast and other cancers.

Michael K. Ochs, Ph.D., (2009), is working to decipher the complex process of cell signaling in cancer origination and progression. His work is pinpointing key signaling activity that can be targeted with cancer therapies and help to verify that these therapies are actually hitting their targets.

Hao Wang, Ph.D., (2010), is part of the critical biostatistics team being assembled to manage the unusual data types coming from cancer research. She is working with clinical investigators to use the data to develop clinical trials of cancer biomarkers.

Sarah Wheelan, M.D., Ph.D., (2009), is co-director of the Center’s next generation gene sequencing facility, home to a new automated technology that looks inside the DNA of cancer cells in a way that was not possible before.  She is charged with developing the mathematical equations to manage, evaluate, and make sense of the billions of data points generated by each study. 

Watch Sarah Wheelan, M.D., Ph.D., discuss this new technology

Articles in this Issue

The CRF Supports a Decade of Cancer Research Advances

CRF Research Grants Fill Unmet Research Funding

Essential Support for Young Faculty

CRF By the Numbers