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2017 Cancer Center Director's Awards

December 14, 2017

The annual Cancer Center Director’s Awards program recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions in the past year to The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s mission of reducing the burden of cancer in our region. This year’s recipients, listed below, represent some of the finest work going on at the cancer center.

Thank you for your continued dedication to your work! 

Basic Science
Linheng Li, PhD, co-leader, Cancer Biology program 

Dr. Li was recognized for his seminal contributions to our understanding of the stem cell niche environments in both the intestine and bone marrow. In addition, his publications have consistently been featured in the highest quality biomedical research journals, and he has played a key role in representing the Stowers Institute for Medical Research as a consortium member of KU Cancer Center. 

Bill Jewell Team Science
Andrew Godwin, PhD, deputy director, and Priyanka Sharma, MD, medical oncologist 

Drs. Godwin and Sharma have collaborated to develop and build the highly valuable P.R.O.G.E.C.T (PROspective evaluation of GErmline mutations, Cancer outcome and Tissue biomarkers) registry for triple-negative breast cancer patients. This effort has been an outstanding example of how cancer centers can foster collaboration across disciplines to answer critical questions both at the bench and at the bedside. This registry has resulted in important publications that answer a variety of key questions regarding the clinical management of triple-negative breast cancer patients. In addition, it has been leveraged to successfully compete for multiple externally funded peer-reviewed grants that further strengthen the value of this unique registry. 

Civic Leadership & Philanthropy
Bill Hall, Hall Family Foundation 

Bill Hall and the Hall Family Foundation have played an essential role in supporting the growth and development of KU Cancer Center over the last 13 years. Their support over this time was absolutely critical to achieving NCI designation from both a financial standpoint and from a community advocacy perspective. 

Clinical Science
Joseph McGuirk, DO, and the Bone Marrow Transplant team 

Dr. McGuirk and his colleagues in the division of hematologic malignancies and cellular therapeutics have built an outstanding stem cell transplant program that has achieved national recognition for its remarkable growth, patient outcomes and burgeoning strength of its clinical research efforts. Recently, his team, in conjunction with the Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation, submitted an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the FDA for a potential new treatment for graft-versus-host disease. This effort is the result of a broad collaboration across multiple disciplines and academic units from a variety of regional institutions, and it is a great example of our cancer center’s transdisciplinary research efforts. 

Clinical Trial Accrual
Qamar Khan, MD, breast medical oncologist 

Dr. Khan has leveraged KU Cancer Center support for multiple investigator-initiated trials to address important clinical questions regarding the management of breast cancer patients. These efforts have not only significantly increased our accruals to clinical trials, but have also served as the basis for a number of abstracts and presentations at high-profile national clinical research meetings. 

Closing Disparities
Christine Daley, PhD, MA, SM, director, Center for American Indian Community Health 

Dr. Daley has forged a strong connection with Native American communities to address a variety of critical health issues, most specifically this populations’ use of tobacco. Dr. Daley and her team have developed a community participatory approach that is culturally sensitive and respectful of longstanding tradition, while at the same time addressing the significant health burden imposed by tobacco on native peoples. 

Community Clinical Trial Accrual
Manana Elia, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine 

Dr. Elia has done an outstanding job promoting clinical research and accrual to clinical trials and has the highest number of accruals among physicians practicing at KU Cancer Center’s community sites. 

Legislator
Kathy Wolfe-Moore, Kansas House Representative 

 Representative Moore is a long-time supporter of the cancer center and has played a key role in multiple pieces of legislation that have impacted our patients and/or have been critical to supporting our efforts to achieve NCI designation. Her bipartisan, thoughtful approach has been a shining example to her fellow legislators and in many cases has been essential to advancing our efforts in state government.

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