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 the Thursday for publication the following Monday.

October 20, 2014

Tuesday's Seminar


No Tuesday seminar the week of October 20.


A peek at next week’s seminar:
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 9-10 a.m., 1-125 CCRB
Identification and biological function of ovarian cancer biomarkers
Amy Skubitz, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology, University of Minnesota

This meeting will be simulcast in 450 MCRB. 

View the calendar for a complete schedule.


In This Issue

Message from the Director


Program Meetings

Professional Education


Funding Opportunities 

Message from the Director

Susan Collins will be retiring from the Masonic Cancer Center at the end of October after 23 years of service. Susan’s commitment and dedication to the Masonic Cancer Center has been a major factor in our success. She has made substantial contributions to the creation of the cancer center, successful awarding and re-competition of our Cancer Center Support grant, and the management of all of the cancer center resources. Her expert oversight of our budgets has allowed all of us to effectively perform our work. Personally, I am grateful for the advice and support she’s given me over my time as a program leader and cancer center director. Please join me in wishing Susan well in the next phase of her life.

Joyce Melzer will be taking on the financial leadership of the Masonic Cancer Center. Joyce has been the Finance Manager of the Masonic Cancer Center for the past four years, recruited to this role by Susan. In this role, Joyce has been overseeing the grants managers and accounting staff while working closely with Susan on broad financial concerns of our organization. Prior to her role with the Cancer Center, Joyce was the Administrative Director for the former General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) and the Accounting Office Supervisor of the Pediatrics Department. I look forward to partnering as closely with Joyce in the years to come.

Douglas Yee, M.D.


Members in the news

Mindy Kurzer, Ph.D., Prevention and Etiology Program, is quoted in a  KVOA Tuscon story on ways to reduce breast cancer risk.


Linda Burns, M.D., Transplant Biology and Therapy Program, Hydroxyurea, is quoted in a HemOnctoday story transfusions being urged for sickle cell disease management.
Aasma Shaukat, M.D., M.P.H., Prevention and Etiology Program, was quoted in a Medpage Today story about a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Shaukat was speaking on behalf of American Gastroenterology Association.


Tommy Vaughan, Ph.D. and Michael Garwood, Ph.D., Tumor Micronenvironment Program, are featured in Minnesota Daily and KSTP stories about their work supported by the BRAIN Initiative, to develop a smaller MRI machine that could be portable and more affordable. 

Coverage of Minnesota Masonic Charities latest gift to the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, now named University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital was featured on Kare 11Star TribunePioneer PressMinnesota Daily.

Members speak at meetings

Aasma Shaukat, M.D., M.P.H., Prevention and Etiology Program, has been invited to give two oral presentations at the American College of Gastroenteroloy (ACG) Annual scientific meeting October 17-22 in Philadelphia. Her presentations will be on “Colon Cancer Screening: Should it differ by age, gender and race/ethnicity” and “Quality Indicators in colonoscopy and how to improve them in practice.” In addition, Shaukat received the ACG Colorectal Cancer Prevention Abstract Award for “Withdrawal time, adenoma detection rate and risk of colorectal cancer”, which she will present during the presidential plenary session.


Jaime Modiano, D.V.M., Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, was the keynote speaker at the University of Georgia Science of Veterinary Medicine Symposium on October 9.


Emil Lou, M.D., Ph.D., Tumor Microenviornment Program, was invited to speaker at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in December on his research: “Tunneling nanotubes: Role in cancer progression?”


David Largaespada, Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, and Edward Cheng, M.D., presented their research at the Connective Tissue Oncology Society meeting in Berlin.  Largaespada presented  "Functional Genomics of Sarcoma Progression Using Transposon Mutagenesis and Targeted Nucleasest.” Aaron Sarver, Ph.D., Nuri Temiz, Ph.D., and Branden Moriarity, Ph.D., are co-authors on the abstract. Cheng presented "FDG PET-CT response after adjuvant chemotherapy continues to predict progression free survival at mid-term in prospective trial for soft tissue sarcoma,” Keith Skubitz, M.D. and Brenda Weigel, M.D., are co-authors of that abstract.


Congratulations to Aasma Shaukat, M.D., M.P.H., Prevention and Etiology Program, who was appointed Governor for Minnesota by the American Gastroenterology Association.


Kudos to Nancy Goldstein, who received the 2014 Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN) Distinguished Service Award for her outstanding accomplishments in cancer patient education. Nancy’s five nominators pointed out her 35-plus years of patient education experience at University of Minnesota Medical Center and the leadership and expertise she has provided at CPEN since 1998.


Congratulations to Huda Ahmed, M.S., Community Program Manager for the Program in Health Disparities Research, who was accepted into the 2014-2015 Humphrey School of Public Affairs Policy Fellowship for emerging and mid-career leaders in public affairs. Ahmed also received a scholarship through the Medtronic Foundation to support her participation in the fellowship program.

Members in the journals
The following papers were published by Masonic Cancer Center members and their research teams.

Khan F, Datta YH. Risk of bleeding during long-term anticoagulation with warfarin: a tertiary care center experience.  Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2014 Aug 23. [Epub ahead of print]


Thayanithy V, Dickson EL, Steer C, Subramanian S, Lou E: “Tumor-stromal cross talk: direct cell-to-cell transfer of oncogenic microRNAs via tunneling nanotubes,” Translational Research 2014;164:359-365. Emil Lou, M.D., Ph.D., Tumor Microenvironment Program, was named the “Featured New Investigator” for this paper.


Raza K, Larsen T, Samaratunga N, Price AP, Matson A, Meyer C, Fogas S, Tolar J, Hertz MI, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A. MSC therapy attenuates obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) after murine bone marrow transplant. PLoSONE., Oct 1;9(10):e109034s, 2014.


Price AP, Godin LM, Domek A, Cotter T, Taylor DA, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A. Automated decellularization of intact, human-sized lungs for tissue engineering. Tissue Engineering Part C Methods, 2014. [Epub June 16].


Ady JW, Desir S, Thayanithy V, Vogel RI, Moreira AL, Downey RJ, Fong Y, Manova-Todorova K, Moore MA, Lou E. Intercellular Communication in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: Properties of Tunneling Nanotubes. Frontiers in Physiology:2014. [Epub ahead of print.]


Corum CA, Benson JC, Idiyatullin D, Snyer AL, Snyder CJ, Hutter, D, Everson LI, Eberly LE, Nelson MT, Garwood M. High-Spatial- and High-Temporal-Resolution Dynamic Contrast-enhanced MR Breast Imaging with Sweep Imaging with Fourier
Transformation: A Pilot Study. Radiology. 2014 Sep 22:131273.

HR News

The Research Job Family Study Is Underway
Academic and civil service employees included in the research job family and their supervisors received the kick off notice on October 20.  All employees in this job family should complete a position description, in consultation with their supervisor, using the online Position Description Template (pdf).  Note: If more than one employee operates with the same position description, only one description needs to be submitted. To meet OHR’s deadline, position descriptions for Masonic Cancer Center employees should be submitted to MCC HR at by November 10.

Research Job Family Employee Information Sessions, which are expected to provide guidance for writing position descriptions, will be held on October 28 and October 29.  Supervisors and employees are invited to register to attend in-person or via UMConnect.  For more information please visit the Job Classification System Redesign web page at


CORRECTION: Change in Timesheet and Leave Reporting 
The correct fax number for AHC HRIS Specialist Marianne Lauwagie is 612-625-5161. Timesheets and Absence cards for Masonic Cancer Center employees should be submitted to Ms. Lauwagie via email: (preferred) or fax:612-625-5161. Masonic Cancer Center pay entry and leave entry transferred to the Academic Health Center Human Resource Information Systems (AHC HRIS) team on October 6. Employees and supervisors should continue to contact Masonic Cancer Center Human Resources (, 612-626-3410) with questions about compensation and leave policy.


Take the Employee Engagement Survey October 13 - October 31, 2014

Employee Engagement supports the University's commitment to meet its academic and research mission by creating workplaces that energize, empower, and enhance faculty and staff. The University of Minnesota's Employee Engagement (E2) Survey provides a snapshot of faculty and staff attitudes toward their workplace. On Monday, October 13, all benefits-eligible faculty and staff, including professionals in training, will receive an email with their own survey link.  The University’s external vendor, Hay Group, will send the email to ensure your answers are confidential. Employees should complete the survey by Friday, October 31, 2014. If you have questions or want more information, go online

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Program Meetings

Cell Signaling Program
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 9-10 a.m., 656 MCRB
Expogenase mechanisms of breast cancer progression
David Potter, M.D., Ph.D.

For a schedule of meetings, visit the website.

BMT Conference
Monday, October 27, 2014, 1:15-2:15 p.m., 450 MCRB
Clinical consequences of early chimerism in UCB transplantation
Nelli Bejanyan, M.D.’

For a schedule of meetings, visit the website.

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Professional Education

October 21, 2014: Catalyzing translational innovation: A talk from the director of NCATS
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Mayo Memorial Auditorium
Christopher P. Austin, M.D., director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health
Biomedical science is in an era of unprecedented accomplishment, but there isn’t a concomitant improvement in meaningful health outcomes. So how can the needs and opportunities of translational science be met? Dr. Austin will talk about the agency’s focus on the translational process and describe its mission, programs, and deliverables, with a view toward future developments. RSVP  to reserve a box lunch, or join remotely via UMConnect; walk-ins will also be accepted. 

October 22, 2014: Cancer Biology Journal Club
12-1 p.m., 2-115 CCRB
Eric Hanse, Kelekar lab, will discuss “Metabolic determinants of cancer cell sensitivity to glucose limitation and biguanides”. Birsoy K, et al., Nature 2014:508::108-12.

October 27, 2014: Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Lecture: Women's Cancer: Making Sense of Hormones
4 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 301 19th Ave. S., Dessert reception follows the lecture in the HHH Atrium
Speaker: Carol A. Lange, Ph.D., Professor, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology

Presented by: Women's Center, Office for Equity and Diversity, Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Minnesota Libraries

RSVP online at  This lecture is free and open to the public.

November 4-5, 2014: Closing the Gap Between Hope and Cures for Cancer Patients: A symposium on creating a clear pathway to accelerated and expanded access to experimental medicines for people with cancer and other deadly illnesses
McNamara Alumni Center, 200 OaK St. SE., Minneapolis
November 5 -  5 p.m.: Registration; 5:30 p.m.: Reception; 6:30 p.m., Dinner, November 5 - 7:30 a.m.: Registration and buffet breakfast; 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Program

Visit the website for more information and to register.

November 5, 2014: Cancer Health Equity Conference
11 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Hilton Bloomington, Minneapolis
Sponsored by Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations.
For more information and to register visit the website.

November 6, 2014: 2014 Cancer Summit - Cancer Care: It's a Partnership
8 a.m.-7 p.m., Hilton Bloomington, Bloomington, Minnesota
Keynote Speaker: Julie Silver, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School
Visit the website for more information.

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 Survivoship
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 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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October 28, 2014: Living with breast cancer: How we can improve patients’ quality of life
7-9 a.m., DoubleTree by Hilton-Bloomington, 7800 Normandale Blvd. (located off  Hwy 100 and 494)
Emcees: Senator Kathy Sheran and Senator Carla Nelson
Dr. Jeff Dusek, Director of Research and founder of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, specializing in translational medicine research
Dr. Matthew Goetz, Deputy Director of the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence
Robianne Schultz, ACS CAN lead Minnesota volunteer and thirteen-year metastatic breast cancer survivor

Presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in partnership with the Women Legislators’ Lobby.
Please RSVP by October 21, 2014 at, or to Ellie Beaver at, 651-255-8107.

November 1, 2014: Dawn of a Dream
The Depot, Minneapolis

November 8, 2014: Save the Date! Community Dialogue on the Preliminary Study Results of Colon Cancer: iPrevent. iTreat. iBeat.
1:30-12:30 p.m., Lunch served to the first 125 attendees from 11-11:30 a.m.
Location to be announced

Registration is free. RSVP by Friday, October 17, 2014. Visit the website for more information on the program.

November 14, 2014: 2014 Westgate Pediatric Ethics Forum: Ethics and genetic testing of children – Who gets to know what, when and why
12-4 p.m., Children’s Minneapolis Education Center, 2525 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis
Holly Tabor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Bioethics, Department of Pediatrics, Truman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington, co-founder of My46
Susan Wolf, J.D., McKnight Professor of Law, Medicine and Public Policy, Faegre Baker Daniels Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School; Professor of Medicine
Case examples and discussion presented by the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Genetics Department

Visit the Community Events and Outreach page for more information.

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Funding Opportunities

Limited Competition for the Continuation of Rare Diseases Clinical Research Consortia in the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (U54)
National Cancer Institute
Application Receipt Date(s): December 16, 2014
Funding: $1,250,000 total costs per year

2014 Breast Cancer Research Program Breakthrough Award
Sponsor: Department of Defense
Preapplication Deadline: December 3, 2014
Full Application Deadline: December 17, 2014
Funding: $350,000 - $10M direct costs over 3-5 years (depending on funding level requested)

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 October 22, 2014