informs health care providers about how to identify high-risk individuals and diagnose disease early. What do you hope to accomplish during your career? My career goal is to help generate research knowledge that matters. I aspire to make a differ- ence in peoples’ lives, especially those with the greatest needs, both locally and globally, through my research. How did you get interested in studying cancer and/ or treating cancer patients? During my medical school years, I saw patients diagnosed with cancer, especially in resource- poor settings, dying due to lack of life-saving treatments. I learned that most of these deadly cancers are likely caused by known or unknown modifiable environmental, lifestyle, or behavioral factors. These early observations motivated me to work on cancer prevention research so that cancers can be prevented or diagnosed early before it is too late. What is the most rewarding part of your job? The hope that my work may potentially make a difference in peoples’ lives during my lifetime. Who inspires you? Professionally, my first boss the late Dr. Alan Rosenfield, then Dean of Columbia School of Public Health, whom I saw working relentlessly and selflessly through his last day of life, despite being feeble with protracted illness, to improve human health throughout the world. Personally, my 90-year-old mother who wanted me to be a physician, and she is proud (from the other side of the world where she lives) to see me working towards improving human health. What do you love about working at the University of Chicago? The recognition and support of worthwhile ideas, even if they are bold and often risky. What is one thing on your bucket list? To be able to become more involved in policy decisions where I can use my research experience and know-how to identify, prioritize, and promote promising research to help translate impactful results and known solutions into policy faster. Research Highlights Lymphatic Vessels Promote Tumor Immunosuppression Lymphatic vessels filter and transport fluid away from tissues before returning it to the blood in order to maintain blood volume and pressure. The development of new lymphatic vessels, a process called lymphangiogenesis, has been linked to promoting the spread—or metastasis—of cancer. Using mouse models of the deadly skin cancer melanoma, Melody Swartz, PhD, William B. Ogden Professor of the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and her laboratory investigated the importance of lymphatics by blocking lymphangiogenesis in vivo (within a living organism). Unexpectedly, the research team found that, as a consequence, the immune response elicited by the host against the tumor was disrupted. These observations were then confirmed in metastatic melanoma patients enrolled in clinical trials. The researchers found that indicators of lymphangiogenesis (such as concentrations of the signaling protein vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF]-C) were associated with immune T cell activation and clinical response to cancer immunotherapy. This study suggests that lymphangiogenesis, and VEGF-C levels specifically, may be used as biomarkers to predict the response to immunotherapy, now an important therapeutic strategy for melanoma and other tumor types. (Fankhauser et al., Sci Transl Med 9:1-12, 2017; https://sciencelife.uchospitals.edu/2017/09/13/ double-agents-vessels-that-help-cancers- spread-can-also-boost-immune-therapies/) Research CANCER.UCHICAGO.EDU 7