Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

Masonic Cancer Center Update Newsletter


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Update is available on the web at

Update is an official newsletter of the Masonic Cancer Center for faculty, members, staff, colleagues, and friends.All submissions for the next issue must be sent to, by noon on Friday for publication the following Monday.

PLEASE NOTE: The next issue of Update will be published on September 14, 2015.

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August 31, 2015

September 15 Cancer Center Seminar

Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 9-10 a.m., 1-125 CCRB
Biology and therapy for neural cancers
William Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Departments of Neurology, Pediatrics and Neurosurgery, University of California, San Francisco, Co-leader, Pediatric Malignancies Program, USCF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Host: David Largaespada, Ph.D.

Funding for this seminar is made possible by the Children's Cancer Research Fund.

View the calendar for a complete schedule.

In This Issue


Clinical Trials

Professional Education


Funding Announcements and Opportunities

Positions Available


Members in the news

Aasma Shaukat, M.D., M.P.H., Prevention and Etiology Program, is featured in a story in Medical Xpress on a research finding that longer-lasting colonoscopies are linked to lower cancer rates.

The NCI Outstanding investigator award received by Jeffrey Miller, M.D., Masonic Cancer Center deputy director, and Transplant Biology and Therapy Program member, was noted in the U of M Brief e-newsletter.

Kristin Anderson, Ph.D., Prevention and Etiology Program, is quoted in a Washington Post,Chicago Tribune, and National Post stories about grilling meat and cancer risk.

A Health Canal story about research finding that transplant recipients more likely to develop aggressive melanoma mentions the University of Minnesota.

Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., Transplant Biology and Therapy Program, is quoted in a story about a family who adopted a baby with epidermolysis bullosa on Today and KSDK.

KARE 11, Sun Times-Minneapolis, Inside Philanthropy, and the Star Tribune reported on a Schulze Family Foundation $2.4 million grant to the University of Minnesota for skin regeneration research. Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., is quoted.

Doctor hopes free sunscreen at the fair will change habits. Megan Wood, M.D., and Ingrid Polcari, M.D., are featured in Minnesota Public Radio, Star Tribune Pioneer Press and WCCO stories about their Masonic Cancer Center funded project to offer free sunscreen at the Minnesota State Fair.

A Star Tribune story about the need for cancer doctors and patients to accept the limits of late-stage chemo quoted Edward Greeno, M.D., Medical Director of M Cancer Care and Prevention and Etiology Program member.

Peter Lee, M.D., Ph.D., is interviewed in a MinnPost story about Jimmy Carter's melanoma diagnosis sheds light on new advances in cancer treatments.

Members in the journals
The laboratory of Jaime Modiano, V.M.D, Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, authored a paper, “Mesenchymal stromal cells inhibit murine syngeneic anti-tumor immune responses by attenuating inflammation and reorganizing the tumor microenvironment,​" that has been published online in Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy​.

Members present at Science Museum
Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortai, Ph.D., Transplant Biology and Therapy Program, and Andy Price, participated in the Science Museum’s Social Science event – “Superhero Science” – on August 6. They presented an exhibit on regenerative medicine highlighting 3D bioprinting and whole organ bioengineering.

Innovations in Cancer Care and Prevention Day at the State Fair Thursday, September 3, 2015
The Masonic Cancer Center is partnering with University of Minnesota Cancer Care to spend the entire day, 9 a.m.-9 –p.m. on Thursday, September 3, 2015, in the Health Zone at the University of Minnesota building.  Researchers and clinicians from the Institute for Prostate and Urologic Cancers, Cancer Survivorship Program, Cancer Risk Management, and information on colon cancer screen, nutrition and cancer, clinical trials, breast health, e-cigarette research, and oral detection of cancer will be available, along with cancer quizzes and prize give-aways.  Throughout the day, presentations and “Ask the Expert” sessions will be held on the stage in front of the U of M building. Look for a schedule on our website!

Call for Abstracts for 6th Annual Masonic Cancer Center Research Symposium

The Masonic Cancer Center's Science Council announces its Sixth Annual Research Symposium November 10, 2015,  in the Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Students, staff, postdocs and PIs are encouraged to participate and submit an abstract for the poster session. Visit the website for more information and to submit an abstract online.

Functional Genomics of FI Tract Cancers Discover Team Recruitment
The University of Minnesota Medical School, in collaboration with the Masonic Cancer Center, is focusing efforts to hire outstanding physicians, researchers, and bioinformaticists for a Discovery Team to work on functional genomics of gastrointestinal (GI) tract cancers. This new team will build off current research, leverage the teams and shared resources already in place, as well as bring their own research interests to develop new technologies and models for understanding tumor heterogeneity. 

We are seeking a dynamic mid-career or senior physician scientist with training in pathology or medical oncology to lead this effort and are conducting a national search to find the right person. The successful candidate will be expected to assume the leadership role for existing faculty and future hires, and expand a comprehensive program in GI cancer spanning basic science, translational genomics, and clinical trials. The successful candidate will be appointed with tenure in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation or the Department of Laboratory Pathology.

Visit the job posting (#301436) for more information.

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Clinical Trials

The following clinical trials conducted by Masonic Cancer Center members were recently opened:

Merrimack MM302-02-02-03: A Randomized, Multicenter, Open Label Study of MM-302 plus Trastuzumab vs. Chemotherapy of Physician’s Choice plus Trastuzumab in Anthracycline Naive Patients with Locally Advanced/Metastatic HER2-Positive Breast Cancer
PI: Blaes, Anne

For more information on clinical trials contact Marva Bohen, R.N., B.S.N., or Rita Bouley, R.N., B.S., C.R.C.C.,  (, 612-624-2620).

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Professional Education

September 1, 2015: Program in Health Disparities Research Monthly Meeting
1-2 p.m., room 105, 717 Delaware
State of Health Disparities Research at the University of Minnesota: Year in Review & Looking Ahead
Kola Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H., Director and Professor, Program in Health Disparities Research, University of Minnesota

September 3, 2015: Special Tobacco Studies Seminar
1-2 p.m., 450 MCRB
Social networks of smoking behaviors, impact of cigarette plain packaging and larger pictorial health warnings and the aboriginal and Torres Strait islander
Raglan Maddox, Ph.D., M.P.H., B.Sc, Centre for Research & Action in Public Health, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Bruce, Australian Capital Territory

September 8, 2015: Tobacco Research Studies Seminar
2-3 p.m., room 105, 717 Delaware St. SE
An evaluation of the Statewide Health Improvement Program's (SHIP) smoke-free
housing initiative: Policy implementation effects for affordable housing residents
John Kingsbury, Ph.D., Tobacco Policy Evaluator, Evaluation and Surveillance Unit, Minnesota Department of Health

September 10, 2015: Comparative Oncology Seminar
12 p.m., Room 280 VDL (St. Paul campus)
2015 Summer Scholar Projects
Camille McAloney (Walcheck lab), Amelia Campbell (Dickerson lab) and Anne Mereley (Schwertfeger lab)

September 21, 2015: 24th Annual Developmental Biology Symposium: It Takes a Village: Symbiosis and Development
Coffman Memorial Union
Registration is now open

October 22-25, 2015: Society for Translational Oncology Fellows Workshop
Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle, Cary, North Carolina
The Society for Translational Oncology Fellows' Forum (STOFF) (formerly conducted by the Cancer Education Consortium) is a 3-day intensive forum that brings together 20-25 fellows and junior faculty (within 5 years of training completion) from the leading medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical subspecialty fellowships in the United States to educate rising stars in translational cancer research. Visit the website for more information.

October 29-November 1, 2015: 17th Annual Lynn Sage Breast  Cancer Symposium
Fairmont Chicago, Millenium Park
Registration is now open.  Visit the website for more information.

Visit the Education and Training Opportunities web page for more conference and special lecture listings.

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September 12 and 20, 2015: Open Streets Mpls
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
September 12: University of Minnesota (University Ave. and Oak St.)
September 20: Nicollet Avenue (Lake St. - 46th St.)
Join the Program in Health Disparities Research and the Masonic Cancer Center at an information table. To volunteer, contact Sandra Rivera,, (612) 625-4441.

September 12, 2015: Masonic Cancer Center/Program in Health Disparities Research at Open Streets Mpls
11 a.m.-5 p.m. University of Minnesota (University Ave. and Oak St.) Visit the website.

September 18, 2015: 3rd Annual Putting for Pancreatic Cancer Research
11 a.m., Majestic Oaks, 701 Bunker Lake Blvd. NE, Andover, MN 55304
Benefits pancreatic cancer research at the University of Minnesota
For more information

September 19, 2015: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network PurpleRideStride
Elm Creek Regional Park, Maple Grove, MN
Registration information

October 10, 2015: 14th Annual Breast Cancer Education Conference
8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Minneapolis Convention Center
Keynote Speaker:
Otis Brawley, M.D., F.A.C.P., Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society
What are the road blocks that challenge cancer patients from getting the best health care available?

Experts Talk on Oncology: What's New and What's Changed?
Speakers: Douglas Yee, M.D., Tufia Haddad, M.D., and Barbara Bowers, M.D.

For more information and to register.

April 23, 2016: SAVE THE DATE for the 11th Annual Cancer Survivorship Conference
Saturday, April 23, 2016, 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota
A cancer diagnosis can alter the landscape of your life. Although it doesn't redefine you, it can change your lifetime health care needs. Save the date for this free educational conference that focuses on questions and issues survivors and their families often face after cancer treatment or following stem-cell transplantation.

Registration is required and will open in early 2016. To be added to our conference mailing list, please "click here".  

Visit the Community Events and Outreach page for more information.

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Funding Announcements and Opportunites

News & Notices:

NOT-CA-15-026 - Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Enabling Biomimetic Tissue-Engineered Technologies for Integrative Cancer Research (U01)
The National Cancer Institute intends to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to support the Cancer Tissue Engineering Collaborative (TEC) Research Program. The FOA will invite cooperative agreement research project (U01) applications aimed at the development and characterization of state-of-the-art biomimetic tissue-engineered technologies for understanding cancer biology, prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
Key Dates:
The FOA is expected to be published in Winter 2015 with an expected application due date in March 2016.

NOT-CA-15-023 - Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for NCI Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (NCI Omnibus R21)
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) intends to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for NCI Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (NCI Omnibus R21).
This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.
Key Dates:
The FOA is expected to be published in early September 2015 and it will have a single Application Due Date in early November 2015.

Funding Opportunities:

MCC Program Support Grants 2016
The goal of the MCC Program Support Grants is to enhance the theme of each program and improve the merit descriptor of each program on the next CCSG renewal.
Funding: See program annoucement
September 14, 2015: Applications open
October 16, 2015: Applications due
December 14, 2015: Award date
Award Period: January 1, 2016-December 31, 2016\

Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund
The Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund ( is seeking research proposals for funding. Last year this fund supported 15 Masonic Cancer Center research projects. This year, the Fund is asking for a Letter of Intent before submission of a full application. The LOI is due on Wednesday, September 16th and applicants will be notified the week of October 5th if a full submission is requested. 

The LOI should be no more than 1 page (12 point type) and include the following.

  • Applicant name
  • Title of project
  • Specific Aims
  • Research Strategy
  • Significance
  • Innovation
  • Approach

This LOI will be reviewed by a lay person on behalf of the Shaver Foundation - not by a scientist.

Please send Letter of Intent to Sharon Kunau,, University of Minnesota Foundation.

The typical funding range for a project budget is $20,000-$35,000 per year. Over the past two years, 70% of full proposals requested were awarded funding. The Fund does not support salary for the PI or staff. It is anticipated that 15-20 applications will be supported. If selected for a full application, the applicant will be required to:

  • Complete a grant application and return it to the University of Minnesota Foundation by October 28, 2015.
  • Present the proposal and respond to questions for 30 minutes to two Shaver Fund representatives at the Masonic Cancer Research Building on November 11 or November 12
  • Final candidates will present a 3-minute summary to the Shaver Fund Board of Directors later in the winter

Awards will be announced in January.

For inquiries, contact Sharon Kunau,, University of Minnesota Foundation. 

The Center for Health African-American Men through Partnerships (CHAAMPS) Disparities Scholars Program
CHAAMPS invites applications for research projects using national health databases with a focus on disparities in unintentional and violence-related injuries and homicide, head injuries in athletes and chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, hepatitis C and cancer, especially prostate cancer, in African American men across their life course. Learn more here.

Masonic Cross-Departmental Grants for Children’s Health Research (PDF)
The Department of Pediatrics is soliciting applications for Children’s Health Research from members of the Academic Health Center. Up to two projects will be funded. The Masonic Cross-Departmental grants are intended to support new or expanding interdisciplinary research on Children’s Health.
Funding: The maximum award will be $200,000 over two years.
Key Dates:
LOI due Friday, September 4, 2015
Full Proposal due Monday, October 2, 2015

UMF Medicine and Health Faculty Bridge, Equipment, and Research Grants
Deadline: September 15, 2015, 4 p.m.

MN-REACH - Healthcare Projects with Commercial Potential Cycle 2
University of Minnesota Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub
Proposals are desired that describe a health care-related product or service within a few steps of a commercial transaction.
Funding: Available in the range of $10,000 to $150,000 per project.
Key Dates: pre-proposals will be accepted through Tuesday, September 8, 2015.

PAR-15-333 - Sustained Support for Informatics Resources for Cancer Research and Management (U24)
The central mission of ITCR is to promote research-driven informatics technology across the development lifecycle to address priority needs in cancer research.
Key Dates:
LOI due October 20, 2015
Application due November 20, 2015

PAR-15-331 - Advanced Development of Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research and Management (U24)
The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite Cooperative Agreement (U24) applications for advanced development and enhancement of emerging informatics technologies.
Key Dates:
LOI due October 20, 2015
Application due November 20, 2015

PAR-15-332 - Early-Stage Development of Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research and Management (U01)
As a component of the NCI's Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) Program, this FOA focuses on early-stage development from prototyping to hardening and adaptation. Early-stage development is defined for the purpose of this FOA as the initial development or the significant modification of existing tools for new applications. 
Key Dates:
LOI due October 20, 2015
Application due November 20, 2015

PAR-15-334 - Development of Innovative Informatics Methods and Algorithms for Cancer Research and Management (R21)
As a component of the NCI's Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) Initiative, this FOA encourages applications focused on the development of novel computational, mathematical, and statistical algorithms and methods that can considerably improve acquisition, management, analysis, and dissemination of relevant data and/or knowledge.
Key Dates:
LOI due October 20, 2015
Application due November 20, 2015

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Positions Available

Predoctoral Research Fellowship in Cancer Disparities
One year of guaranteed funding is available on the current grant, with a $22,000 annual stipend and $20,000 per year for tuition, fees and other expenses. Preference will be given to students from disadvantaged populations, and also to U.S. citizens.
Deadline: September 2, 2015
For more information: Lindsey Fabian, 612-626-9991,


Postdoctoral Associate
A postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Julia Davydova, M.D., Ph.D., is available, focusing on radioiodine therapy and imaging for cancer, along with gene therapy approaches (oncolytic adenovirus). Contact Julia Davydova, 612-625-8608,  

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  • Last modified on August 31, 2015