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 Sandi Sherman,, by noon on Thursday for publication the following Monday.

January 26, 2015

Tuesday's Seminar 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 9-10 a.m., 1-125 CCRB
Antigen recognition by T cell receptor-transduced T cells
Michael Nishimura, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Surgery, Associate Director, Oncology Institute, Associate Director, Cancer Center Translations Research, Program Director, Immunologic Therapeutics, Loyola University, Chicago

Host: Jeffrey Miller, M.D.

This meeting will be simulcast in 450 MCRB.

A peek at next week’s seminar:
Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 9-10 a.m., 1-125 CCRB
Association of opioid receptor expression, opioid exposure and chronic pain with clinical outcomes in patients with advanced malignancies
Pankaj Gupta, M.D., Professor, Department of Medicine, VA Medical Center, Hematology Oncology Section

This meeting will be simulcast in 450 MCRB.

View the calendar for a complete schedule.

In This Issue

Director's Message


Clinical Trials

Program Meetings

Professional Education


Funding Announcements and Opportunities

Director's Message

Lisa Peterson, Ph.D., Professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, has accepted the position of program leader of the Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program as of November 1, 2014.  Dr. Stephen Hecht stepped down from this role after leading the program since its inception. 

Peterson received her B.S. in chemistry at Macalester College and conducted her Ph.D. thesis work in the laboratory of Neal Castagnoli, Jr. at the University of California, San Francisco.  After 2.5 years as a post-doctoral fellow in Fred Guengerich’s laboratory at Vanderbilt University, she joined the Division of Chemical Carcinogenesis led by Stephen Hecht at the American Health Foundation in Valhalla, NY.  In 1997, Lisa moved to the University of Minnesota where she joined the Division of Environmental Health Sciences and Masonic Cancer Center’s Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program. Her research focuses on mechanisms by which chemicals initiate carcinogenesis.

Dr. Peterson has been an active member of the Division of Chemical Toxicology, American Chemical Society since its inception, serving as chair of the Bylaws Committee (1997-1998), councilor (2002-2004) and chair (chair-elect, 2008; chair 2009-2010; immediate past chair, 2011-2012).  She has also served as Treasurer for the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics.  She is currently Associate Editor of Chemical Research in Toxicology. She also coordinates the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant for the Masonic Cancer Center and is the co-leader of the MCC Junior Faculty Mentoring committee. 

We thank Dr. Hecht for his years of leadership and welcome Dr. Peterson to the role.

Douglas Yee, M.D.


Members in the news

Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program, in quoted in WCCO-TV, Salon , Gloucester Citizen,  WATE stories about the formaldehyde risk in some e-cigarette vapor.

Michael Verneris, M.D., Transplant Biology and Therapy Program, was quoted in stories about the 11-year old leukemia patient who refused chemotherapy.  See Toronto StarHamilton SpectatorInside Halton.

Immuno-Oncology News reported on a new collaboration between Intrexon, ZIOPHARM, and M.D. Anderson to develop CAR T-cells immunotherapy. Sleeping Beauty gene transfer technology discovered and developed by Genetics Mechanism of Cancer Program member Perry Hackett, Ph.D., contributed to this breakthrough in cancer immunotherapy.

Schelomo Marmor, Ph.D., is quoted in a Health Talk story about the impact of accreditation on centers for hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Samir S. Khariwala, M.D., a University of Minnesota Cancer Care otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon, was recently awarded the Seventh Annual George L. Adams, M.D., Young Faculty Award. Established in 2007 and given annually by the Triological Society, this award recognizes a young academic otolaryngologist chosen for the honor by a committee of peers and department chairs.

SPORE Project Planning Award recipients announced
The Masonic Cancer Center announced the recipients of the SPORE Project Planning Award for 2015. Carol Lange, Ph.D., Kaylee Schwertfeger, Ph.D., and Douglas Yee, M.D. are the co-investigators of the research project “Altered Estrogen Receptor/Progesterone Receptor/PELP1 Complexes in Breast Cancer.” Lange is the lead PI, Suzanne Fuqua, Ph.D., from Baylor College of Medicine is co-PI, and Andrea Daniel, Ph.D. is the lead CORE director.  This 3-year award in the amount of $100,000/year is designed to support the development of a multi-investigator research program that will result in the preparation of competitive applications to the NIH SPORE or Program Project grant (P01) mechanisms.

Members in the journals
Schelomo Marmor , Ph.D.,  Pamela Portschy, M.D., Todd Tuttle, M.D., and Beth Virnig, Ph.D., are authors of the paper “The Rise in Appendiceal Cancer Incidence: 2000–2009,” in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. This research was supported by the Betti Boers Maloney Appendiceal Cancer Research Fund at the University of Minnesota Foundation.

2015 Summer Undergraduate Research Internship applications now available
The Program in Health Disparities Research and the Masonic Cancer Center have announced the seventh annual summer undergraduate research internship on health disparities and cancer research. The deadline for application is February 23.  Read more.

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Clinical Trials

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

MT2013-37R: Voriconazole therapeutic drug monitoring in pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients
PI: Smith, Angela

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

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Program Meetings

Tumor Microenviornment Program
Tuesday, January 27, 2015,10:15-11:15 a.m., 3-150 CCRB
In the next meeting we will focus on developing the research area of chemotherapy induced neuropathy. This is an area of research with a strong foundation at the University of Minnesota, but remains largely underinvestigated nationally. We have identified several areas of investigation that can utilize the multidisciplinary expertise of the TME program members. We look forward to seeing you at this meeting in person or by phone and provide your input on developing it as a team.

Cell Signaling Program
Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 9-10 a.m., 656 MCRB
Detection of elevated glycolysis by targeted metabolomics as a novel biomarker for aggressive breast cancer
Da-Qing Yang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, The Hormel Institute

For a schedule of meetings, visit the website.

BMT Program
February 2, 2015, 1:15-2:15 p.m., 450 MCRB
Tandem Practice

For a schedule of meetings, visit the website.

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Professional Education

January 28, 2015: Cancer Biology Journal Club
12-1 p.m., MCB 2-120 (Note room change)
Brandon Leonard will discuss “Mutant p53 Reprograms TNF Signaling in Cancer Cells through Interaction with the Tumor Suppressor DAB2IP, ” Di Minin G, et al., Mol Cell 2014;56:617-629.

March 27, 2015: Transforming Cancer Survivorship Through Research and Best Practice

8 a.m.-4 p.m., Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center, 151 Goodman Drive, Cincinnati, OH
Keynote speaker: Julia H. Rowland, Ph.D., Director, NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship
Speakers include: Patricia Ganz, M.D. – UCLA; Michael Stubblefield, M.D. – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D. – University of Pennsylvania; Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., R.D. – University of Alabama; Timothy Ahles, Ph.D. – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Registration information and abstract submission information is available on the website.

April 19-22, 2015: ASME 2015 4th Global Conference on Nanoengineering for Medical and Biology
McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis, MN

April 23, 2015: SAVE THE DATE! Inaugural Kersey Lecture
4-5 p.m., 1-125 CCRB
Jennifer Grandis, M.D., will speak.

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

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May 2, 2015: Cancer Survivorship Conference
8:30 a.m.- 1 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, 200 Oak St. SE Minneapolis, MN 55455
Join us for the 10th Annual Cancer Survivorship Conference which will address topics important to cancer survivors and their families. Cancer survivors ages 16 and older, parents, spouses, significant others, health care professionals, school administrators and social workers can benefit from this educational conference.

This year's conference will feature keynote speaker Kirsten Ness, P.T., Ph.D., Associate Member of the Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control and the Department of Pediatric Medicine at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Dr. Ness is an expert in exercise and physical activity interventions for long-term cancer survivors.

The conference will also feature a presentation by Christine Clifford, 20-year cancer survivor and award-winning speaker, author of six books including Not Now, I'm Having a No Hair Day!, and creator of The Cancer Club(R), the world's largest producer of humorous and helpful products for people with cancer.

There is no fee to attend, but reservations are required. A free continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Space is limited, so please register early or call 1-888-CANCERMN (1-888-226-2376).

Visit the Community Events and Outreach page for more information.

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Funding Announcements and Opportunities

News & Notices:

American Cancer Society Funding Opportunities (PDF)
News Release: Announcement for Funding Opportunities for Cancer Research,
Training, and Career Development – April 1st and Oct. 15th Deadlines

Funding Opportunities:

Translational Research Development Program (TRDP)
Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)
Letter of Intent due: February 12th, 2015
Full Application Receipt Date: April 2nd, 2015
Funding: $16,000 in research funds over 2 years

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute's Translational Research Development Program (TRDP) is now accepting applications. The program helps health sciences trainees gain clinical and translational research experience by providing them with up to $16,000 in research funds, mentorship, seminars, and more. In addition, a career development infrastructure supports investigator success with a goal of securing publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Letters of intent are due Feb. 12, 2015

2015 Ovarian Cancer Research Awards (PDF)
Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA)
Application Receipt Date(s): February 27th, 2015, at 3pm
Funding: $625,000 available, grant proposals may not exceed $100,000

Community Collaborative Grants
Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)
Letter of Intent due: February 19th, 2015
Full Application Receipt Date: April 15th, 2015
Funding: $325,000 to 5-6 proposals

Minnesota Futures Grant Program
OVPR Funding, UMN
Letter of Intent due: February 23rd, 2015
Application Receipt Date: March 23rd, 2015
Funding: Up to $250,000 over 2 years

2015 Pilot Grants
UMN Program in Health Disparities Research
Pre-Application Workshop: February 4th, 2015
Letter of Intent due: February 9th, 2015
Application Receipt Date: April 27th, 2015
Funding: Up to 4 awards, from $10,000-$25,000 for one year

Child Health Collaborative Grant Program
Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)
Letter of Intent due: January 30th, 2015
Full Application Receipt Date: May 1st, 2015

Visit the Funding Opportunities Web page to see listings previously published in Update. A list of organizations that provide funding for cancer research is also provided there.

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  • Last modified on January 26, 2015