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A Comprehensive Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Program Leader Bios

Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer Program

Suzanne D. Conzen, MD, is a professor of medicine with a secondary appointment in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research. Dr. Conzen directs a multidisciplinary laboratory incorporating genomics, bioinformatics, traditional molecular biology, and animal models of breast cancer with the goal of identifying novel cell survival signaling pathways as therapeutic targets for treating breast and ovarian cancer. For example, Dr. Conzen's laboratory has shown that activation of the glucocorticoid receptor in breast and ovarian tumor cells inhibits chemotherapy-induced cell death. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Conzen's work is focused on clinically testing novel approaches for treating estrogen-independent breast cancer. She is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI), and served as a member of the Breast Committee of CALGB and former chair of the Cancer Etiology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health.

Kay F. Macleod, PhD, is an associate professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research with an established record of excellence in basic research in the function of the RB tumor suppressor, including its role in regulating cell death in response to genotoxic agents and oxidative stress. Through the use of genetically engineered mouse models, Dr. Macleod's research has shown that cell death linked to loss of pRB can occur by both p53-dependent and independent mechanisms, such as elevated activity of PARP-1. More recently, Dr. Macleod's research has focused on the role of autophagy induced by hypoxia and other stresses in tumor progression and metastasis in both pre-clinical mouse models and in primary human breast cancer. She is a member of the following UChicago committees: Cancer Biology, Developmental Biology, Immunology, and Molecular Metabolism & Nutrition. Dr. Macleod is also a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, British Association for Cancer Research, American Society for Hematology, and the NIH Cancer Molecular Pathobiology Study Section (CAMP).

Hematopoiesis and Hematological Malignancies Program

Wendy Stock, MD, is a professor of medicine. She directs the Leukemia Program at UChicago, is a vice-chair of the Leukemia Committee of the NCI cooperative group, the Alliance (formerly CALGB), and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Leukemia Steering Committee for the National Cancer Institute’s CTEP division. Dr. Stock’s expertise has been in innovative clinical/translational trial design, and she has developed and led both early phase and large national clinical trials in acute leukemia. Her laboratory has served as a national reference laboratory for studies that evaluate the clinical significance of novel molecular markers of leukemia and the prognostic relevance of detection and monitoring of minimal residual disease in acute and chronic leukemias, and in studies of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Dr. Stock has led the expansion of the experimental therapeutics efforts in the Hematopoiesis and Hematological Malignancies Program, focusing on development of novel Phase I and Phase II clinical trials for hematologic (blood) malignancies along with other members of the Program.

Lucy Godley, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, specializes in the care and treatment of patients with diseases of the bone marrow, including leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma. She also cares for patients undergoing stem cell transplantation and patients with benign hematologic conditions. Her research is aimed at understanding the understanding the molecular drivers of the abnormal DNA methylation and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine patterns that characterize cancer cells as well as the molecular drivers of inherited hematopoietic malignancies. She has received numerous awards for her research, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician Postdoctoral Award, the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) Foundation Clinical Research Award, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award, the Cancer Research Foundation Young Investigator Award, the Schweppe Foundation Career Development Award and the Kimmel Scholar Award. She was inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2012.

Immunology and Cancer Program

Thomas Gajewski, MD, PhD, is a professor of pathology, medicine, and the Ben May Department for Cancer Research. He has research interests in T-cell regulation and anti-tumor immunity. As a board certified medical oncologist, he also actively carries out clinical trials in melanoma and cancer immunotherapy and, therefore, works directly at the interface between immunology and cancer biology. He has made significant contributions in the areas of T-cell differentiation and negative regulation, understanding the molecular and cellular components of antitumor immunology, characterizing the melanoma tumor environment, and clinical translation of immunotherapy approaches to therapeutic applications. He currently serves as president of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer and, through this leadership role, is helping to catalyze advancement in the field as a whole and improve patient outcomes through immunotherapy.

Pharmacogenomics and Experimental Therapeutics Program

M. Eileen Dolan, PhD, is a professor of medicine and has many years of expertise in the area of preclinical and clinical drug development as exemplified by over 200 peer-reviewed articles in the areas of anticancer drug development, including research in pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacogenetics. She is also the chair of the University of Chicago Medicine Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics. Dr. Dolan is a leader in developing cell-based methods to identify genetic variants contributing to chemotherapeutic-induced cytotoxicity that can be studied in a clinical setting. Her laboratory was the first to demonstrate that chemotherapeutic-induced cytotoxicity is a heritable trait, and the first to utilize lymphoblastoid cell lines as a model to demonstrate inter-ethnic differences in sensitivity to chemotherapy that recapitulates what is observed clinically for these drugs.

Walter Stadler, MD, is the Fred C. Buffett Professor of Medicine and Surgery, director of the genitourinary program, and associate dean for clinical research for the Biological Sciences Division at UChicago. He is an internationally recognized expert in prostate, kidney, bladder, and testicular cancers and concentrates on developing novel chemotherapy, immunotherapy, anti-angiogenic therapy, and molecularly targeted therapy for patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease. His research further focuses on the development of novel clinical trial designs, as well as molecular and imaging predictive biomarkers. He is the co-principal investigator for the collaborative Prostate Cancer SPORE with Northwestern University and the principal investigator for an NCI-funded grant, “Early Drug Development with Phase 2 Emphasis,” through which he helps coordinate the majority of UCCCC investigator-initiated trials.

Advanced Imaging Program

Greg Karczmar, PhD, is a professor of radiology and medical physics and a member of the CALGB/Alliance imaging committee. Since he became a member of the UCCCC in 1991, Dr. Karczmar's research has focused on the development of improved MRI methods for early detection of cancer, noninvasive spatially resolved measurements of tumor oxygenation, and evaluation of tumor response to therapy. He is internationally recognized for development of high-spectral and spatial resolution MRI of the breast, an approach that provides both improved functional and anatomic information. He also developed new approaches to quantitative dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, which are now widely used for clinical and pre-clinical research, and are the basis for new tools currently under development for routine clinical use. He leads the program's efforts in enhancing the accessibility of MR imaging and other imaging technologies to UCCCC members.

Heber MacMahon, MB, BCh, became co-leader of the Advanced Imaging Program in 2005. He is a professor of radiology and director of thoracic imaging at UChicago. Considered a leader in clinical and basic research relating to image quality, digital image processing, and computer-aided diagnosis, Dr. MacMahon’s research focuses on the applications of computer-enhanced imaging in the chest, including projection radiography and CT. Much of his work has involved clinical evaluations of new technologies, developed in collaboration with imaging scientists, by use of observer tests and ROC analysis. Dr. MacMahon provides expertise on clinical trials of new imaging technologies, tests of radiologists’ performance, and translational research.

Cancer Prevention and Control Program

Habibul Ahsan, MBBS, MMeDSc, is the Louis Block Professor of Health Studies, Medicine, and Human Genetics, and also the UCCCC associate director for population research and director of the Center for Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. Dr. Ahsan's primary research interests focus on the interplay between environmental and genetic factors in cancer and exploiting this information in cancer prevention in humans. Dr. Ahsan has nearly 20 years’ experience in interdisciplinary research in cancer epidemiology and prevention, especially in the area of breast cancer, skin cancer and other cancer, and precancerous and related phenotypes as they relate to genetics, environmental factors and their interactions. He has published extensively on the molecular epidemiology of carcinogenic effects of arsenic exposure and on the molecular and genetic epidemiology of hormonal etiology of breast cancer.

Andrea King, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience. She has performed extensive research and clinical work in the area of addiction research (tobacco and alcohol), behavioral medicine, and health psychology. In addition, Dr. King has broad administrative experience within The University of Chicago Medicine as director of the Clinical Addictions Research Laboratory and the Substance Abuse Clinic in Outpatient Psychiatry. Dr. King has maintained an externally funded laboratory and clinical research program in alcohol and tobacco/smoking cessation for over 14 years, and she is nationally recognized in her field for her research on treatment and prevention of substance use disorders. Her research includes pre-clinical studies of substance comorbidity (concurrent alcohol and tobacco use) and risk factors for the development of alcohol use disorders (laboratory and longitudinal studies of binge drinkers), clinical treatment trials of pharmacological adjuncts, behavioral treatment (naltrexone in smoking cessation), and culturally-tailored treatments for addictions (African American community-based treatment of smoking).

 

Walter Stadler

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