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VCU Massey Cancer Center hosts annual Cancer Research Retreat

Jun 17, 2019


On Friday, June 7, Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center hosted its annual Cancer Research Retreat. The retreat was a day-long event showcasing cutting-edge cancer research underway throughout VCU. This year’s keynote presenter was John Carpten, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Translational Genomics at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.

Gordon Ginder, M.D., director of VCU Massey Cancer Center and Jeanette and Eric Lipman Chair in Oncology, welcomed guests to the auditorium in the Kontos Medical Sciences Building for a morning of research presentations. The first presentation was given by Azeddine Atfi, Ph.D., member of the Cancer Cell Signaling and Cancer Molecular Genetics research programs at Massey Cancer Center. Atfi’s presentation focused on the role of gene TGIF in pancreatic cancer development and progression. Next, Santiago Lima, Ph.D., member of the Cancer Cell Signaling research program at Massey, discussed how sphingolipid alterations may impact lung cancer growth and resistance to therapy. Following a brief break, Imad Damaj, Ph.D., member of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at Massey, and David Gewirtz, Ph.D., member of the Developmental Therapeutics research program at Massey, discussed the potential to treat chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy by targeting nicotinic receptors. The Frank D. Pendelton Memorial Lecture wrapped up the morning presentations, in which Carpten discussed population and tumor heterogeneity in cancer genome science.

Participants then transitioned to the McGlothlin Medical Education Center for lunch and an afternoon poster session on the 11th and 12th floors where more than 70 students and postdoctoral researchers at VCU showcased research posters summarizing their research. Poster session participants competed for Excellence in Cancer Research Awards, which honor the top three research projects displayed in the poster session.

This year, third place was awarded to Sean Koebley for his research on using high-speed atomic force microscopy to map the genome and diagnose cancer. Arnethea Sutton, Ph.D., received second place for her research into how medical mistrust among African American women associates with use of genetic counseling and testing. First place was awarded to Amy Northrop for her study evaluating the gene DDI2 as a therapeutic target for triple negative breast cancer.

Written by: John Wallace

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