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Highlights from the 2018 NCI Intramural Scientific Investigators Retreat

Posted on January 12, 2018

Lisa Mirabello

On January 9, 2018, DCEG scientists participated in the annual NCI Intramural Scientific Investigators Retreat. Tenure-track investigator Lisa Mirabello, Ph.D., M.S., gave an invited lecture on “HPV genomic insights into cervical carcinogenesis and HPV natural history.”

This year’s retreat featured award lectures by two eminent scientists.

Dr. Mary Beckerle, Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Endowed Chair, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and Associate Vice President for Cancer Affairs at the University of Utah, delivered the 22nd Annual Alfred G. Knudson Award Lecture in Cancer Genetics in Cancer Research. The title of her talk was “Interface between cytoskeletal dynamics and tumor biology.”

Dr. Suzanne Topalian, Professor of Surgery and Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Director of the Melanoma Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, and Associate Director at the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, presented the 16th Annual NCI Rosalind E. Franklin Award Lecture for Women in Cancer Genetics. She spoke on “Targeting immune checkpoints: A common denominator approach to cancer therapy.”

Katherine McGlynn with Stephen Chanock and Ned Sharpless

Katherine McGlynn, one of the recipients of the NCI Women Scientist Advisors' Mentoring and Leadership Award, with Stephen Chanock and Ned Sharpless

DCEG recognized two outstanding mentors with the NCI Women Scientist Advisors’ Mentoring and Leadership Award: Amy Berrington de González, D.Phil., Chief of the Radiation Epidemiology Branch, and Katherine McGlynn, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., Director of DCEG, Tom Misteli, Ph.D., Director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR), and Norman Sharpless, M.D., Director of the NCI, recognized the 2018 NCI Director’s Innovation Award recipients. These awards are designed to support the development of novel approaches and technologies for accelerating cancer research. These include Principal Investigator (PI) Awards, which are given to tenure-track or recently tenured PIs (within five years of tenure), and Career Development Awards, which are given to postdoctoral fellows, staff scientists, staff clinicians, and senior scientists.

During the afternoon, investigators enjoyed poster presentations by their colleagues. The formal program ended with an award ceremony, followed by a reception hosted by the Directors of CCR and DCEG.

Twelve DCEG scientists received awards, as listed below:

Principal Investigator Awards

Maria Isabel Achatz, M.D., Ph.D.
“Somatic mosaicism and its association with cancer development and aging in Li-Fraumeni Syndrome”

Jonathan Hofmann, Ph.D., M.P.H.
“Investigating epigenetic and immune alterations among lindane-exposed pesticide applicators in the Biomarkers of Exposure and Effect in Agriculture (BEEA) study”

Cari Kitahara, Ph.D.
“Circulating sex steroid hormones and thyroid function markers in early pregnancy and risk of differentiated thyroid cancer in the Finnish Maternity Cohort”

2018 NCI Director’s Innovation Award recipients Diana Withrow, Talia Wegman-Ostrosky, Oscar Florez-Vargas, Minkyo Song, Erikka Loftfield, Tamara Litwin, Pamela Dopart, Jonathan Hofmann, and Sharon Savage (accepting on behalf of Maria Isabel Achatz) with Stephen Chanock and Ned Sharpless. Not shown: Maria Isabel Achatz and Cari Kitahara.

Career Development Awards

Pamela Dopart, Ph.D., M.P.H.
“A multi-decade validation of a general population-based job exposure matrix using NHANES biomonitoring data”

Tamara Litwin, Ph.D., M.P.H.
“Evaluation of biomarkers for in-vivo imaging-based detection of cervical precancers in low-resource settings”

Erikka Loftfield, Ph.D., M.P.H.
“Do bile acids mediate the protective association of coffee drinking with liver cancer?”

Minkyo Song, M.D., Ph.D.
Helicobacter pylori immunoproteomic profiles in patients with gastric cancer and premalignant lesions”

Talia Wegman-Ostrosky, M.D., Ph.D.,
Pedro Saint-Maurice, Ph.D., and
Kelvin de Andrade, M.Sc.
“Life-course physical activity associations with mitochondrial DNA copy number and cancer outcomes in Li-Fraumeni Syndrome”

Diana Withrow, Ph.D.
“Racial and ethnic disparities in risk of subsequent primary malignancies in the United States”

Oscar Florez-Vargas, Ph.D., M.Sc.
“Immunosuppressive role of IFN-λ4 in virally-associated cancers”